How to Make Tote Bag Straps


While tote bags often hold up to years of use, the straps sometimes wear more quickly than the rest of the bag. Your bag also may have boring straps that you'd like to replace for more "pop" from your tote. With a few simple supplies and quick steps, you can change plain, worn straps for "fun and funky" or simply functional handles.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 yard of fabric
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • 49-strand flexible beading wire
  • Crimp beads
  • Jump rings
  • Crimp tool
  • Assorted beads
  • Wide-link chain
  • Flush cutters
  • Grommets
  • Setting tool

Fabric Tote Bag Straps

  • Cut two pieces of fabric 3 1/2 inches wide and 2 inches longer than the desired finished length for the straps. Cut two pieces of interfacing the same size.

  • Fuse the interfacing to the fabric by ironing it with the wrong side of the material and the shiny side of the interfacing together.

  • Fold each long edge under 1/2 inch to the wrong side and iron the folds to crease them.

  • Fold the fabric strip in half with the wrong sides together and iron the fold. Stitch 1/4 inch from each long edge.

  • Fold the ends 1/2 inch into the strap. Pin the straps to the inside of your tote bag. Stitch around the ends of the straps in a square, also sewing the diagonals to make an X, if you choose.

Beaded Tote Bag Straps

  • Cut two pieces of beading wire 2 inches longer than the finished strap length.

  • Thread one end of the wire through a crimp bead and then through a jump ring wide enough to fit over the chain links. Pass the wire back through the crimp and close it with the crimping tool. Repeat for the other wire.

  • String the beads, threading the tail from the crimped end through the first few beads. Mix the sizes, shapes and colors of the beads to make the straps versatile for any outfit. Stop about 1 inch from the end of the wire. Repeat for the other strap.

  • Pass the end of the wire through another crimp bead, another jump ring and back through the crimp bead. Close the crimp bead. Repeat for the second strap.

  • Cut the chain to the length you want for the straps, using flush cutters.

  • Open the jump ring on one end of a bead string and loop it onto the first link on a piece of chain. Close the jump ring.

  • Thread the bead string through the links of the chain. Attach the jump ring at the other end to the final link of the chain. Repeat for the remaining strap.

  • Insert grommets at the corners of your tote bag, following the setting tool manufacturer's directions.

  • Attach a large jump ring to each end of the chains and affix them to the grommets. Close the rings.

Tips & Warnings

  • Substitute grosgrain ribbon for the fabric for your tote bag straps. Place two lengths wrong sides together and sew as close to the long edges as possible. Then use the same techniques for attaching the straps to the bag.
  • Bead straps may be uncomfortable on your shoulders if the contents of your bag are especially heavy.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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