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DIY Felt Crayon and Coloring Book Tote

This felt and crayon coloring book tote is perfect for moms and kids on the go! Keep it in your bag, the car or anywhere else you know you’ll need it to keep your kids entertained.

This felt and crayon coloring book tote is perfect for moms and kids on the go!  Keep it in your bag, the car or anywhere else you know you'll need it to keep your kids entertained.

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After having 4 kids, I know it’s important to have activities on hand for those times when they need some distraction and entertainment. One that I’ve kept in my diaper bag for years is this felt and crayon coloring book tote. It’s perfect because it doesn’t take up a lot of space, it’s durable and easy to refill when needed.

This project is fairly easy, as it only requires straight lines. There are a couple of steps that may take you a little more time to complete if you don’t have a lot of sewing experience. But I walk you through everything step-by-step with plenty of pictures so you don’t need to worry.

How to Make a Felt Crayon and Coloring Book Tote

Supplies Needed

Tips for Choosing Felt

Unless you’ve done much with felt before, you may not know that there is a difference between them. The single pieces of felt, usually around the size of a piece of printer paper, tend to be thinner. They come in different patterns and textures.

However, the felt that you buy in bulk off a bolt is thicker and better quality for projects like this felt crayon and coloring book tote. You can easily find felt by the bolt at an local fabric and craft store. It is inexpensive and you can buy more for less than cotton.

Why should you use felt for this crayon and coloring book tote?

The main reason is for its durability. True, it doesn’t come in as many colors or patterns as cotton. But you have to keep in mind that this tote is for little kids. They can be, and usually are, rough with things. You want to have a tote that is going to hold up to their regular use. If you want to add something extra to the tote to make it more special, you can buy felt patches that can be stuck or glued onto the outside of the tote as a final step.

Let’s Get Started!

For this project, you’ll need 1/3 yard of your main color and 1/4 yard for you contrasting color. The dimensions of each piece are as follows:

  • Main tote: 14″ x 9″ (quantity: 2)
  • Coloring Book/Notebook pocket: 6.5″ x 3.75″
  • Crayon holder: 6.25″ x 2.5″
  • Handles: 2.5″H x 3.5″L x .75″W (quantity: 2)

I’ve included a diagram of the different pieces needed below for reference.

Cut the Felt

First, cut out your felt. (I had some leftover felt from previous projects and actually made three totes.) I found that it was easiest to use a cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary cutter. This ensured accuracy and straight lines. If you don’t have these supplies, you can use a ruler and scissors.

Coloring Book Pocket

Next, measure the center line of one of your main tote pieces along the 9″ side. I like to add a couple of pins. Then you need to get your coloring book/notebook pocket piece and pin it 1″ up from the center line and 1.25″ from the sides. (Shown on the right side.)

Load up your sewing machine with the thread you’ve chosen. I went with white because I didn’t mind the contrasting stitch. Starting at the corner closest to the center, sew a line with a 1/4″ seam allowance, remembering to back stitch, until you get within about 1/4″ inch of the corner of the pocket. Stop with the needle still down and raise your foot up. Turn your felt 90 degrees, lower the foot and continue sewing until you reach the second corner.

Repeat the above process. When you get to the last corner, back stitch and cut your thread.

Crayon Pocket

Now we’re going to sew the crayon holder onto the main tote piece. Pin your crayon holder piece 1″ up from the center line and 2″ from the left side. Sew a straight line down, remembering to back stitch at the beginning and end.

In order to make the openings for the crayons big enough, you have to sew the felt down with a “bump”. This is why the crayon holder piece is so long, because you have to account for the extra material needed to create the “bump”.

The next step is a little tricky but definitely got easier the more times I did it.

First, you need to adjust your needle all the way to the left. Next, place a pencil under the crayon piece close to the line you just stitched. Line your foot up so it’s on top of the felt but snug against the pencil.

Start sewing your line straight down, remembering to back stitch, sliding the pencil down so it doesn’t interfere with your machine but making sure it stays under the felt and the foot remains snug against the pencil. This will help make sure you keep the size of the bump consistent. Back stitch at the end and cut your thread.

*PRO TIP* Draw a line where the bottom of your crayon pocket piece needs to be so it stays lined up as you sew each line. Additionally, hold your felt down with the straight pins by readjusting them each time you need to create a new bump.

Repeat this step until you have 5 crayon pockets.

On the 6th crayon pocket, sew down the last side, remembering to back stitch. But when you get to the corner, do the same thing you did when sewing the book holder pocket: keep the needle down, lift the foot, rotate 90 degrees and put the foot down.

Now you will be sewing the bottom of the crayon pockets so the crayons don’t fall out.

Sew along the bottom with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Your needle will still be to the left so make sure to account for that when you are sewing this line.

Because of the “bumps”, you will need to fold the felt down toward you as you sew. When you get to the end, back stitch and cut your thread.

Handles

The next step is to attach the handles. Because we will be top stitching to create a more finished look, the handles need to be placed facing in toward the two pockets you just sewed.

The handles should be centered on the short sides, 2.5″ inches from each end. Refer to the image below to see how they should look. Pin them in place and move on to the next step.

Main Tote Assembly

Take the second main tote piece and place it on top of the other tote piece so that everything you’ve pinned and sewn is sandwiched in between.

Pin it in place but not all the way around because you need to leave a space to turn it inside out.

*PRO TIP* Double pin the start and end points of where you will be leaving your opening as a reminder not to stitch all the way around.

Start sewing at one of your double pinned sides, remembering to back stitch. Continue with a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around until you get to your second set of double pins. Back stitch and cut your thread.

Remember that on each corner you can leave the needle down, lift the foot, turn the felt 90 degrees, put the foot back down and keep sewing.

Once you have sewn all the way around, trim a little triangle off each corner.

Flip It

This is helpful in creating cleaner looking corners because there isn’t as much bulk there after turning the tote inside out. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitch otherwise it could come undone.

Reach your hand inside the opening and grab a corner by pinching it with your fingers. Pull it through the opening, carefully working the rest of the material through the hole.

Now, get a pencil and use the eraser end to push it into each of the corners to make them sharper.

Flatten the Seams

The next step is to flatten out the tote and push the seams toward the outside. This is to prep it for the top stitching. The goal is to get the seams as flat as possible so there is no puckering when you do the top stitch. Puckering is when there is extra fabric that hangs over the end after the top stitch. It’s not bad, but it just give as finished of a look to your project.

As you get the seams pushed out, pin every couple of inches to keep it tight.

When you get to the opening where you turned the tote, tuck a little bit of felt inside to create a seam that matches as closely as possible to what you already stitched. You will need to put your pins closer together to keep it tighter and because the felt is thicker and more likely to move once pinned.

Topstitch

Starting at a corner, start sewing with a 1/8″ seam allowance. Remember to back stitch. You want to get as close to the edge as possible so that you catch the 1/4″ seam allowance on the inside of the tote and get a nice finished edge.

Remember that on each corner you can leave the needle down, lift the foot, turn the felt 90 degrees, put the foot back down and keep sewing.

When you get to the edge where you turned your tote, pay special attention to your stitching.

Continue around all sides until you meet back up with where you started, back stitching to finish it off. Then cut your thread.

The next step is to stitch a straight line down the middle, between the crayon and book pockets. This secures the main tote pieces from moving around and provides more stability to the overall design.

Attach the Velcro

Lastly, get your Velcro and cut it 2″ long. I used adhesive backed Velcro so I didn’t have to worry about sewing it on. However, if you only have regular Velcro, it would need to be sewn on after you do the book and crayon pockets, but before you pin the handles.

Remove the backing and center the Velcro about 1/2″ down from the top and in between the handles on each side.

*PRO TIP* Keep the two pieces of Velcro stuck together but only removing the backing from one side. Center it as directed above. Then remove the backing from the second piece and fold the other side of the tote down, pressing the Velcro in place. This ensures that your Velcro lines up correctly.

Clean up the Ends

Trim any threads that are too long.

You’re done!

Ta-da! Your felt crayon and coloring book tote is done! All that’s left to do is fill it with crayons and a small notebook. There are slots for 6 regular sized crayons. The notebook should be no bigger than 4.5″ x 5.5″.

This felt crayon and coloring book tote is so great to keep in my bag. There are so many times when my toddler and preschooler need something to keep them entertained when we are out running errands or even in the car. It has been a life saver for us. Plus, using felt has made it more durable to the regular wear and tear subjected to it by constant use.

Where Can You Take the Tote?

There are so many times and places that this little crayon and coloring book tote has come in handy for us. I’ve listed just a few suggestions below:

  • Road Trips – A great screen free activity to break up the trip. Check out 15+ screen free activities for kids to enjoy on your next trip.
  • In the Car – Keep it in the dashboard, middle console or in a pocket in the back by your kids.
  • Diaper Bag or Purse – Perfect to keep in your bag because it takes up so little space!
  • Church Bag – Throw it in your church bag for times when you need to help keep your little ones entertained with a quiet activity.

Want to save this post? Hover over one of the images below and click the “Pin It” button. Then save it to your Sewing or Kid Activities board on Pinterest!

This felt and crayon coloring book tote is perfect for moms and kids on the go!  Keep it in your bag, the car or anywhere else you know you'll need it to keep your kids entertained.
This felt and crayon coloring book tote is perfect for moms and kids on the go!  Keep it in your bag, the car or anywhere else you know you'll need it to keep your kids entertained.

If you’ve felt (haha) inspired by this felt project, check out all these other amazing projects that have been made by my crafty friends! To go to their post, click on the link below the collage.

DIY Felt Heart Garland from Laura at Me and My INKlings

Happy Daisy Felt Wreath from Beth at Creatively Beth

Felt Farm Finger Puppets from Lindsay at Artsy Fartsy Mama

DIY Felt Flower Wreath Tutorial from Smitha at Smiling Colors

Crayon and Coloring Book Tote from Shani at Sunshine and Munchkins

Travel Diffuser for Essential Oils from Justine at Little Dove Blog

Embroidered Felt Corner Bookmark from Erica at 5 Little Monsters

DIY Colorful Felt Garland from Katie at the Crafty Blog Stalker

Bottoms Up Bunny Pots from Jane at DIY by Jane

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Hi! I’m Shani,

A stay-at-home mom of 4 and wife. I love sharing easy to follow craft tutorials, kid activities, family-friendly recipes, organization, travel and motherhood. I hope you’ll feel uplifted and empowered by each post, regardless of what kind it is. Join me as I raise my little munchkins and share the sunshine in this beautiful, crazy thing called life! Read more...

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