Step 1: Ingredients
Thick velcro (about 3 inches wide) - I had some lying around
2 Wheels - $3.49 each at the hardware store
Metal rod that will fit through the wheels - I got a hollow aluminum tube because it's light and I knew I could cut it with a hack saw - $6.99
4 Shaft collars - for holding the wheels in place on the metal rod. make sure they fit around the metal rod snugly - $3.23 each
A willing duffel bag - one that is big enough that you won't have to bend over awkwardly to drag it around on its new wheels. Also, it should have a handle on one end (or you can sew one on)
Total cost: ~$28
Sharpie for marking the rod
Step 2: Sew on the Velcro
Turn your bag over. Cut two velcro strips about 6 inches long. Peel the velcro apart and pin the soft side to the bottom of the bag. (see second photo)
Maneuver the bag onto your sewing machine and sew away zig zagging forwards and backwards down the strip of velcro (see third photo). Oh also, you should use a needle made for jeans or leather. I forgot to change mine out at first and it broke. Sew down both strips.
Now attach the other side of the velcro (the rough side) by sewing it down at the outer edge only. Make sure to go back and forth a couple of times to make it secure. Do this for both strips. (fourth photo)
Now add a little fold to the other edge of the rough velcro strip to make it easier to pull up. Just fold under about a quarter inch and sew it down. (fifth photo)
Okay now you're ready to assemble your wheels!
Step 3: Assemble the Wheels
Put the shaft collars and wheels on the rod in this order: collar, wheel, collar...collar, wheel, collar. You may have to loosen the little screw on the side of the shaft collar to fit it on the rod.
Eyeball the placement of the second wheel and then tighten the little screws on the shaft collars to hold everything in place (but don't tighten too tight or you'll bend the rod and it will be harder to adjust later. You'll want to leave a little wiggle room between the collars for the wheels (about 1/16 inch) so that they roll smoothly.
Step 4: Attach the Wheels to the Bag
Unless you happened to get a perfectly sized metal rod, there should be some extra rod extending past one of the wheels. Now you should take your bag for a test run to make sure the wheels are in the right place. If not, adjust, test again.
When you think you've got them positioned well, use your hack saw to cut off the extra part of the rod.
To hold the rod in place I put two of those thick rubber bands that hold bunches of asparagus together on the rod. (third photo)
Step 5: Now You've Got a Rolling Duffel Bag!
The best part is that you can quickly and easily detach the wheels and stuff them in the bag when you don't need them!
In all this little project took me about an hour and a half. If you like it, please vote for me in the Wheels Challenge!
I rolled this baby all around SFO and JFK last weekend and came up with a couple tips: 1) stuff the pocket on the wheel side with something solid, like shoes. My converse seemed to do the trick. 2) extend the handle by rolling up a bandana, tying it into a loop, and then looping it through the duffel bag handle. It worked great!