SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easy Ziploc® Bag Tote | Family Economics

By Cathe

There’s simply no end to the crafty-yet-practical possibilities with Ziploc® brand bags. Here is a simple tutorial for creating a cool little file tote using Ziploc® bags and a small paper handle bag.

The supplies include:
• Six Ziploc® Multi-Purpose Quart size Storage Bags
• One 8"x10"x5" gift or shopping bag
• Reinforcement paper
• Fabric or tape
• Sewing machine
• Thread
• Labels, stickers and/or tabs.


1. Keeping bag flat, fold down the bottom flap section to create two open areas inside the bag to hold the Ziploc® bags.

folding down the bottom flap

2. Tape together the bottoms of the Ziploc® bags into two sets of three.

taping bags

3. Slide the sets of Ziploc® bags into the two separate sections of the paper bag.

two sections of bag files

4. Sew along the paper bag midway, above the bottom area of the Ziploc®, bags to secure all pieces together. Leaving the starting and ending threads long; knot them by hand and trim the extra thread. You can adjust the length of your tote depending on your preference. Trim off the extra bag sections below the stitching.

sewing the paper bag

5. Use a strip of paper, fabric or wide tape folded equally in half to cover the trimmed area. I chose a piece of vintage printed paper, reinforcing it by laminating with a strip of clear packing tape.

vintage printed paper

covering the trimmed area

6. Stitch along the edge of the added strip well above the fold. Trim off extra strip scrap and tie off ends of the thread.

tying off the ends

7. Apply filing labels, insert tabs, stickers, or tape to the tops of the Ziploc® bags and a label to the front if you’d like.

adding labels

Now start filing! Here are just a few of the many ways to use your Ziploc® file tote:
•Store coupons, restaurant discounts, gift cards
• Take-along-projects, coloring sheets and crayons for keeping little ones busy at restaurants
• Embroidery floss or string for projects (My daughter makes friendship bracelets with embroidery floss any chance she gets)
• Receipt holder
• Scrapbook embellishments, stickers, labels, small papers or photos
• Portable craft supplies
• Flash cards
• Plastic utensils, napkins and other take-out items for eating on the go
• Use as a gift bag for items in multiples, such as recipe cards and photographs
• Business cards collected from others
• Small charger cords
• Flat wrapped snacks such as fruit leathers
• Office items for your vehicle: notepad, sticky-notes, pens, pencils, highlighter pen, paper clips, calculator or small scissors

finished tote

What would you carry in your Easy Ziploc® File Tote?

finished tote b


41 Comments so far

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On Sunday, May 13, 2012, wrote

Your article is good, I'd like to learn!

On Thursday, April 19, 2012, Gail wrote

What a great idea. I've used Ziploc's before and sewn them in a fabric case, but this is very inventive. I love repurposing things. Extra bonus...I've found your website!!

On Tuesday, December 27, 2011, Barbara wrote

Such a clever idea. I've been looking for something to store my small craft projects in to work on while waiting at dr. office or traveling. I like the idea that they zip closed and won't get wet..and love the brown bag. Could possibly use colored gift bags too. I love your blog !!!!!

On Saturday, January 22, 2011, MimiRob wrote

I was thinking of keeping each month's receipts in an envelope to simplify organizing tax records for my online business. Now I'm thinking this would be even better--much cuter to use, and it can hang conveniently near my workspace. Very helpful...thanks for your terrific ideas!

On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, bev from Peachland wrote

I'm looking for the pattern for a tote with upholstery outside, a centre !" cord that anchors a series of 6 bags on each side. The bags are cut in length so that the pockets are different sizes. It's closed with velcro tape, and has cord handles.

On Sunday, October 24, 2010, Granny from Michigan wrote

Great idea for my daughter who loves to try new ways to save, and to be organized! I will make three, one for each daughter, for Christmas...Thanks!!

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, studyinga, australia wrote

if only i was that clever to do it/understand usa measurements, words.

On Monday, September 13, 2010, evacookie wrote

I love this idea, for organizing stationery: one bag for envelopes, one for thank-you cards, one for birthday cards, etc. Easy to see what you need to stock up on, too! I'll totally make one of these :)

On Wednesday, June 2, 2010, MO from Washington wrote

Thanks for the great idea! I will try it with Starbucks bag - I always save them and reuse whenever possible.. they have some with great designs/colors. Will use for coupons or small beading projects.

On Monday, May 10, 2010, Tere from Mesa wrote

I like it to carry my coupons!!!!

On Monday, May 10, 2010, Gail Sisk / NJ wrote

This is such a great idea. I will make these to store my monthly statements and bills in. It would also be good to hold catalogs with coupons. Love this idea

On Monday, May 10, 2010, steph wrote

Great project. I think I'd use this to keep my receipts all together, instead of having them all over the house.

On Monday, May 10, 2010, Roben-Marie from Florida wrote

This is very cool!!

On Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Debbie from Orlando,FL wrote

Good Place to store DVD's!

On Tuesday, April 27, 2010, wrote

I love it....!!

On Monday, April 26, 2010, Leah wrote

Love it, So simple and a great way to store money for budgeting, envelope system. Im off to make one. Cheers for sharing!

On Sunday, April 18, 2010, Wendi wrote

Fabulous! I will use mine to collect soup labels, juice pouches, tops of boxes and so on for my son to take to school.

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, wrote

Cathe, thank you for sharing an amazing idea. I love, love LOVE your blog. This isn't something I thought of, but I will totally do. Thank you for the inspiration. Laura Z.

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Karen wrote

wow! love this idea. i can use this for bringing crafting bits on a trip or storage of ephemera from a trip. thanks for sharing your creativity.

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Angie in Vancouver, WA wrote

Super cool! I think I will use this for organizing receipts for the month. I love it! I have all the supplies on hand too...yeah!

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, kats in the belfry wrote

fabulous cathe!!! this would be perfect for gathering specimens - for our hogwarts homeschool's herbology class!

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, jurassic from Berkeley wrote

so very cool! Since I don't sew, I might use staples instead but I'm keen to try this right away to hold my art journaling images and paper scraps. Thanks!

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, Little Lovables wrote

Love it, can someone make me one!?

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Diane@InMyOwnStyle wrote

Hi Cathe - I love the cleverness of this project. I am not sure what I would store in the file, probably craft supplies, beads, etc for when I am traveling. I

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Maisy from Washington wrote

This is so perfect for my coupons which I carry in the car. The only place to put them is between the front two seats - so the slimness works well. And I like to keep my Michaels and Joann's coupons separate since they expire more quickly than grocery ones. I'm making this tonight! Thanks!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Jani wrote

This is too cute! I love the idea. Especially for Coupons, Pictures, School Notes, just the all around "Need a Place to Organize" things. This is just so FUN! You have great ideas... I just love this one!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, claudia from Machen und Tun wrote

that is a sweet idea, made me smile, but it is handy! thanks

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Karin from AZ wrote

Awesome project! This will be a handy thing to make for keeping my smaller projects organized.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Jeannine wrote

This is a great idea!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, RandomCreativity wrote

Very clever. With a larger gift bag and gallon sized ziplocks, I could keep 6 lessons in one bag...

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Jane (artfully graced) from FL wrote

Interesting idea! I would probably use this for coupons to carry to the store. I find the wallet size just not quite big enough.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage wrote

That is awesome!!! :) Thanks so much!!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, wrote

The envelope method of family budgeting (cash basis). I'd use 16 zip lock bags for each catagory of household spending. Holding both cash and receipts after purchase.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Beth from wrote

Coupons! It's a perfect way to recycle old bags and get a coupon organizer out of it. Super cute idea.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Taylor@ Maryjanes and Galoshes wrote

Love this! The brown bag is so classic.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Monica wrote

This is such an awesome idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Dawn-Marie wrote

This is sooooooooo cool! I am so going to make one!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Blanca, wrote

Great Idea! Thank you, is perfect for paper clippings for mixed media art! You are the best!.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, LeLo from wrote

That's to cute! I'm totally excited! Very, very nice idea!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, The Gypsy Magpie wrote

This is SO cute and SO clever! I can't wait to make one for myself... I've been staring at a little gift bag on my desk that was too cute to throw out but it needed a new life. I think it just found one.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, Shanna wrote

Well, I've never seen this craft before...very original! Looks fun & easy!


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