How to Make Personalized Tote Bags for Kids

Kids will proudly carry their own personalized tote bag packed with books, toys and activities to keep them busy while dining out, heading to Grandma's house, visiting friends and family, attending church service, traveling in the car or on overnight trips.

Dinosaur! Roar!  They may be extinct but since my great-grandchild loves dinosaurs, he stomps and roars around the house, a dinosaur-themed tote bag was the way I wanted to go on his personalized tote and to show you how to personalize one yourself. 

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Tutorial - FB

DIY Personalized Tote Bag Tutorial

This simple personalized tote for kids will adapt to kids of all ages - toddlers, tweens or teens - by changing the name and choosing a different applique design.

It's super easy to do!  It's raw edge applique!  You start with a ready-made tote and dress it up with raw edge applique.  All you need is the pre-made tote bag, scrap fabric, HeatnBond Ultrahold, letter and picture templates.

For another fun raw edge applique tote bag project, head over to our Flower Applique Tote Bag tutorial.  You may also enjoy our 65+ free patterns to make tote bags, messenger bags and purses page.

With this DIY Tote bag pattern, you will learn how to make a personalized tote by watching our video and/or then keep reading this post for a photo tutorial with step-by-step instructions.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Make Personalized Tote Bags for Kids to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.


Kids Personalized Tote Bag Finished What a cute bag for your little Dino fan!  It features a playfully styled dinosaur that is so simple, easy and quick to make.  OR customize the design with your little one's favorite theme.

Before beginning the tutorial, I want to talk briefly about applique. 

what is applique?

Applique is a lovely embellishment technique that applies one or more pieces of fabric to another to create beautiful designs. It is usually shapes or designs on top of background fabric.  The applique can be left plain, stitched down or decorated by using different colored or textured threads, beads, sequins,  pearls and even fabric paint around the edges of the fabric motifs. Here are many different methods and styles of applique.


For this project, you will learn raw edge applique.  Raw edge applique is when a cut-out shape is appliqued to a background fabric leaving the edges of the decorative piece unfinished.  The decorative motif or design can be simply just fused or sewn onto the top of the larger fabric.   Raw edge applique is very popular.

Now that you know about applique and the applique method used in this tutorial, let's begin the project!



STEP 1: gather supplies

By purchasing a pre-made tote bag, this project can be completed in an afternoon. 

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Supplies

Gather all the supplies listed above for the project.

The lettering and design templates used for my project were found by searching online - google-search “Letter Templates” and “Dinosaur Templates”.  Below are the links to the actual templates used.

Letter templates:

Dinosaur template:

STEP 2: Trace Letters and design

After gathering the supplies, trace all the letters and the dinosaur pattern onto the paper side of the HeatnBond Ultrahold.  It is very important that you use HeatnBond Ultrahold.  It is a permanent adhesive that can be washed and the applique won't come off.

Therefore, no sewing is necessary.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Letter Sheet

If the image (like words) is directional, it is important when tracing the design and letters onto the HeatnBond to trace the reverse image.  Why?  If you are able to read the letters correctly when you trace them, the letters will be backward on the tote bag.  This is also true with the design.

Tote Bag for Kids Tracing AppliqueThere are a number of ways to trace the designs onto the HeatnBond.

  1. Simply lay the HeatnBond on top of the pattern and trace.
  2. Use a lightbox to trace it.
  3. Window Glass Method – Tape the pattern to a window glass so it won't move, put the HeatnBond over the pattern and trace.

STEP 3: cut pieces

At this point, cut around the applique pieces about 1/4" outside the pencil line.  You don't have to be precise. Do not cut on the drawn lines.

Once you're finished, it will look something like this. Personalize Tote bag for kids Bag Rough Cut Out Applique

STEP 4: Fuse pieces to fabric

Begin by preheating the iron to a medium heat setting. Then press the fabric to remove any wrinkles. 

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Fabrics

Put the fabric pretty side down on the ironing board.  Place the adhesive side of the HeatnBond (the rough side) onto the wrong side of the fabric.  You will be ironing the paper side of the HeatnBond.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Iron Applique To Fabrics

Fuse the HeatnBond to the fabric by ironing the paper backing for 2 seconds.  Don’t use the steam function.

If the design is large, lift the iron and move to another section and continue fusing.

STEP 5: CUT appliques

Let the pieces cool a few seconds before doing anything with them.  After all the pieces have adhered to the fabric and cooled, cut out each individual shape exactly along the drawn lines.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Cut out applique on line

STEP 6: applique to the tote bag

Begin by ironing the tote bag to removing any wrinkles where you will be placing the letters and design.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Applique Cut OutRemove the paper backing and place the appliques in the desired location on the tote bag.

Tip: A quick tip for removing the paper from the HeatnBond is to take a pin and lightly score the paper.  You will find it is easier to remove.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Placement of AppliqueFor this tote bag, I want the name to arch around the dinosaur.  So I used an everyday dish to help position the letters.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Iron on appliqueAfter everything is positioned with the adhesive side down, again with the iron on a medium setting, hold the iron on the applique pieces for 6 to 8 seconds; repositioning the iron as needed until all the pieces are fused to the tote bag.

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Applique Attached That's it!  The tote bag is finished and ready to use.

Canvas personalized tote bags make great gifts for small kids, tweens, teens and even adults. Add a little something inside the tote bag to make it even more special.

I find you can never have too many tote bags.  Tote bags are so versatile.  It can be used as a school bag, craft bag, beach bag, work bag, shopping bag, baby bag and laptop bag.  

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Finished on Chair

I hope that you enjoyed this DIY blog on how to turn a plain tote bag into an applique tote bag. If you like this project be sure to pin, bookmark and share.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to help or clarify anything.

Happy Crafting!


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.


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HeatnBond Ultrahold Iron-On Adhesive Pack, 17 in x 1 yd

HeatnBond Ultrahold Iron-On Adhesive Pack, 17 in x 1 yd #ad

Draw or print directly on the paper backing to easily design appliqué pieces! It is paper-backed, iron-on, No-Sew, double-sided adhesive and permanent for bonding fabric. Affiliate Link to Therm o web

HeatnBond Ultrahold Roll 17" x 5 yds

HeatnBond Ultrahold Roll 17" x 5 yds #ad

No-Sew HeatnBond Ultrahold is a roll of paper-backed, iron-on, No-Sew, double-sided adhesive for bonding fabric without the need for pinning. Ultrahold’s no-sew bond is stronger than traditional fusible webs. Affiliate Link to Therm o web

Plain Tote Bags

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Amazon had all types, colors and sizes of tote bags. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Kids Personalized Tote Bag Tutorial - pin

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