Gift, Kid Friendly, Travel

DIY Travel Coloring Tote

I love traveling, like a lot! I do NOT, however, enjoy long road trips with my kids. I love my kids….very much…but being stuck in a van for hours upon hours is just not my cup of tea! With a 20+ hour road trip this summer (and that’s just one way!), I’ve spent the past few months searching for ideas to help pass the time and keep the kids happy (and us sane). One of the ideas I came across was this super cute DIY Travel Coloring Tote! (this post is reshared from 2014)

DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom

When we’re on a long drive, I hate finding color pencils and pages all over the van. Then the kids complain they’re bored, you don’t want to stop and pick them up, and it’s just a headache for everyone. Now they can each keep their coloring pages, stickers and colored pencils together in a simple tote kept right by their seat! Plus, this DIY Travel Coloring Tote is actually really simple to make (which is great, since I don’t like difficult or time-consuming projects)!

DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom

Notes: decide ahead of time the size you want your totes, since you’ll need to know the amount of fabric/cardboard you’ll need!


  • Fabric of choice, for main tote (I had roughly a quarter yard and it was plenty)
  • Fabric of choice, for inside pocket areas (large pieces of scrap fabric is perfect for this). You’ll need a flat piece for the ‘hard coloring’ side, a flat piece for the opposite side, plus a third piece you’ll create the pocket/pencil holder in.
  • Poster board or cardboard, for creating your hard coloring surfaces and backing
  • Ribbon for handles
  • Stretchy ribbon (if desired) to hold coloring pages onto hard surface
  • Sewing machine, thread, etc.
  • Hot glue gun/sticks
  • Any decorations desired (flowers, etc.)

DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom


  1. Get your main tote fabric and place your front and back (or just fold a larger piece on itself) pieces with the good side facing in/together. Sew the edges together EXCEPT for a gap big enough for your to turn it back rightside out. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom Nicely sew closed that opening once it’s back with the ‘pretty’ sides facing out. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom Glue your ribbon pieces to the tote bag (so the ends will be covered by your board pieces). If you have just scraps of fabric you want to use for your outside tote bag, arrange it to make a cool pattern (then people will think it was purposely planned that way!). That’s what I did for this one: DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom
  2. Take your piece of fabric that you’ll turn into your pencil/pages holder. Hem the top edge. Flip over and hem the bottom edge. MAKE SURE you fold it up to see that you’re hemming the correct direction.   DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom Fold the bottom up as high as you want the pencil holder part to be, leaving a little extra along the bottom. I did mine about 3-4 inches tall for coloring pencils. Sew the edge along the side so the bottom stays folded up. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom  Then go about every 3/4 inch over and sew up JUST to the top of the folded over piece. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom
  3. Place your pocket/holder piece on to one of your flat side fabric pieces, and line them up along the bottom. Sew the sides together (just to the top of the pocket piece, no need to go further). It’s not a big deal if the sides of your pocket piece stick out further than your main piece. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom
  4. Cut your poster/cardboard so it’s just a bit smaller than your fabric pieces. (note: I put 3 poster board pieces together to make it more sturdy) Place your piece pretty side down and put the board piece on top, centered. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom Use a hot glue gun to glue the edges down over the board. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom
  5. Glue your board pieces in the center of each side inside your tote bag. If you want to use stretchy ribbon on the flat side, you can glue the edges tight over the sides of the board piece before glueing it to the bag. DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom
  6. If you want to add any decoration, feel free! I put a fun little flower on Wonder Woman’s bag, but left the boys’ plain.  DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom

The kids LOVE their bags, and they’re perfect for our trip AND for other times I need them to sit still and be quiet….like church or even waiting for sister at her dance lessons! They’ve been a huge life-saver, and have held up really well…..woot woot!

DIY Travel Coloring Tote / by Busy Mom

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