For the Makers: DIY Totes for Out of Town Guests

Who doesn’t need a proper tote? We love these as welcome gifts for your out of town guests. Let yourself get creative and dye them in colors to match your wedding theme.


This light cotton tote folds up super small for stashing in your purse on last minute errands. You can create a variety of effects inspired by traditional dye techniques: ombre dip-dyed, organic stripes, or geometric patterns.

– pan or container that you don’t use for food
– chopstick or spoon that you don’t use for food
– wax paper, dish towel or newspaper to protect your surfaces from the dye
– rubber bands (included in collection and optional)

– cotton tote bag
– natural fabrics dye in gunmetal

Gather your tools and materials. You’ll need wax paper, paper towels or an old dish rag to keep your workspace clean. We used an old pot that we don’t use for cooking but you can also use tupperware or any other large waterproof container. Never use the same pots/containers for cooking and dyeing.

Fold the tote in half lengthwise.

And fold again in fourths.

Flip the tote and continue folding to create right triangles all the way up.

When you’ve reached the end of the tote you’ll have a folded stack.

Wet your fabric. It needs to be damp all over but not soaking.

Once the water is hot, turn off the heat source and add the dye packet. Stir. The amount of water you use will determine the depth of the color. Use less water for a darker color.

Dip each side of the fabric triangle into the dye.

We dipped ours in for just a second because the dye will keep soaking and spread quite a bit up the fabric.

Dip the handle into the dye and then let it dry on an absorbent surface- not your counter! To wash the tote you can either hand wash with detergent and water in your sink or throw it in the washer on it’s own. Let it air dry.

There are endless variations to create. Here we’ve shown dip dyed, rolled and rubber band dyed, and variations on the technique we’ve used here. Happy tote bag creating!

Thanks to our lovely friends, For the Makers. You can visit their site to buy this very kit to craft this project!

about the author
For the Makers Working with companies like Kate Spade, Anthropologie and Marc Jacobs, Katie and Janet learned the ins and outs of finding the prettiest materials from every corner of the world. As the constant go-tos for friends looking for the perfect bead, ribbon or fabric, they realized they had to share. Braving tetanus on a regular basis, they’ll climb a mountain of chain or test a dozen shades of green before settling on just the right one. Crazy? Maybe. For the Makers is made with lots of glue in New York City.

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