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Beach-Towel Tote Bag

Created By: Kathleen Kent




Turn bathroom towels into an all-in-one beach mat and tote bag.


  • 1 hand towel and 1 bath towel in the same color (length of hand towel should equal width of bath towel).
  • 21-inch length of webbing
  • Sewing kit
  • Batting (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Sew a 3-inch section from each end of a 21-inch length of webbing to center of 1 long side of hand towel.

  2. Step 2

    Repeat on 1 short side of bath towel. Place hand towel on bath towel, so handles are aligned and facing. Stitch towels together along 1 long edge of hand towel, leaving sides with handles open.

  3. Step 3


    Stitch along short sides of hand towel, 4 inches in from edges (or along decorative stripes), creating a pocket.

  4. Step 4

    Flip inside out, and tuck length of bath towel into pocket. At the beach, turn inside out, and unroll the towel to use as a mat. If you prefer, stuff the pocket with a soft item to make a pillow.

Martha Stewart Living, August 2008



Reviews (17)

  • CTGCT 17 Aug, 2014

    This is a very confusing craft. I did eventually get it. The directions happened to be confusing the way she worded it. In the end I thought it was cute but it was a lot of trial and error.i do not recommend this craft for children under 12 to do by themselves a parent should help them I suggest trying it but don't give up!read directions very carefully do exactly exactly what it says. It turns out to be a very cute craft

  • April Mcqueen 8 Jul, 2013

    Excuse me, I guess that would be *below*. See my BELOW review for that little mix up.

  • April Mcqueen 8 Jul, 2013

    I recommend using JoshuaTrent's site posted above in the reviews. There you will find step-by-step instructions and pictures. The instructions are easy to understand and well written. I've only been sewing for 5 years, so I don't consider myself an expert, but I'm not new when it comes to the craft. Martha's directions were difficult for me to understand, and with only one picture and frequent term inconsistency, I was confused on more than one occasion.

  • momwaq 4 Jul, 2012

    Thanks for this GREAT idea!!! Both of my daughter love
    the water & the beach. I'm sure they will enjoy these. Can't wait to make them. I think I'll add a little embroidery.

  • JoshuaTrent 29 Aug, 2011

    I did this same thing for my site but tweaked it a little bit. I'm not sure the reasoning for the 4inches from the side so I didn't do that. I have more pics and a longer explanation so hopefully that will help anyone confused.

  • speed2fast 2 Jul, 2011

    If anyone has a step-by-step video or pics. can you please post a link. It would be greatly apprieciated The idea is very cute but the instructions are hard to understand.

  • sali 27 Apr, 2011

    I made this and love it! I am a new sewer and it was a nice easy project for me. I am going to make several more as gifts. The only modification I made was to make the handles 25" instead of 21"

  • dare2diva 30 Jul, 2010

    I agree. The instructions are poor but I love the ideas. What I tend to do is take the idea and ignore the instructions. It is the instructions are what confuses me so by ignoring them, I generally work out how to do it. I haven't found nay of these ideas complex so far so have fun with them. Half the fun is working out how to do something and then achieving it.

  • Ragnhild 20 Jul, 2010

    I just wanted to add my support to those who think instructions are confusing. It would not take a great deal of effort to make them more understandable either by pictures or by steps 1 2 3 etc. I agree it is a shame since the ideas are mostly very good.

  • Umbrella7th 28 Jun, 2010

    The instructions are the most confusing part of this . . . that's what i think but once you see the picture i think the picture gives better instructions than the instructions itself...but I still think it's a very usful idea... i t keeps from holding a bucnch of things.

  • ABurleson 25 Jun, 2010

    I think a large problem with most of these wonderful ideas is they are lacking better detailed instructions. Seemingly, on most of these comments throughout the site, members/visitors need better or more clear instructions along with more photos. I would love to try some of these but am usually still left confused after their brief discriptions. Maybe Martha's lovely staff should consider this...although I doubt it.

  • mmau 21 Jun, 2010

    Hamstar sounds like she's got it right to me. Instructions are really terrible though. I can think of better ways to describe it. Too bad this is the person w/ that job. Wonder if Martha is looking for writers? :-)

  • kajmere 20 Jun, 2010

    Hello Martha and Associates,

    Kindly do a video demonstration on this sewing activity. I'ts a bit difficult to see how this turns into a tote bag.

  • jan2132 20 Jun, 2010

    This is the perfect project. There are so many beautiful and colorful towels to use for beach tote bags.

  • palzy13 15 Nov, 2008

    HELP!!! I love this idea and want to make some for Christmas gifts, but I'm not getting it. I would love to see more picts of it. Any help would be appreciated!!! Thanx!!

  • hamstar 7 Aug, 2008

    If you follow the directions to the letter, it actually works out. The hand towel is not an inside pocket, it is one side of the finished tote bag. If you think of the bottom picture as an "inside out" tote bag with a towel hanging off the bottom, that might help. You roll the towel up and the turn the three sided square that you've sewn inside out, leaving the rolled up towel at the bottom of the newly formed "bag." Good luck!

  • clairebear3 5 Aug, 2008

    I'm having a real hard time understanding the instructions for this bag. Is the hand towel an interior pocket? What keeps the mat folded up but yet allows you to roll it down? Does anyone who has made this have any tips?