Introduction: Messenger Backpack From Recycled Tarp

About: After a degree in micro-engineering in Switzerland, I moved to Russia to discover new landscapes

I made a backpack out of a tarp from the Moscow Maker Faire. The visuals are changed each year so we have a lot of good quality tarp and posters. They are made of PVC reinforced with fibre so it is really strong.

Take a Freitag bag, take a Brooks bag, mix them together and you obtain this bag. Indeed the concept of using old tarps is from Freitag but it has the dimensions of the Brooks Pickwick. I just decided to use a velcro instead of a strap to close the bag.

Step 1: Tools and Material


All you need is a pair of scissors and a needle. Of course using a sewing machine will save you a day of labour and some pain in the fingers. Also usingtweezers and tape can help.


Appart from a tarp, you need yarn, some strap and Velcro tape.

Step 2: Cut the Parts

Choose a place on the tarp or poster with a nice visual. Cut two similar parts as on the linked file.

Step 3: Sew the Sides

Put the outsides face to face (inside) and sew up the sides. I used some tape to secure it during the operation. Then sew the corners as in the picture to create the volume.

Step 4: Sew the Velcro Tape

Ask your friend to help you to return the bag and admire the speudo-random patterns that you chose to assemble.

By the way I present you Valeria and Tuban who are my colleagues and friends from the lab. They are also co-designer of this bag. Valeria did the technical drawing.

You can now add the Velcro tape. I added a 30 x 5 cm band on the rim but I suggest you to use only a 20 x 5 cm band to ease the bag opening.

I secured the Velcro tape with a polyurethan glue.

Step 5: Sew the Straps

Measure your old backpack for the straps length. As I never change the strap length, I decided to sew it at a fixed length.

It is better to double or triple the layers at the place of attachement. For that, I added three rectangular reinforcement parts on the inside.

The straps are folded at the attachement place, then a squared sewing with a cross in the middle is done.

Let's rummage through the garbage and find good quality tarp!