Introduction: "Portal" Themed Bicycle Tote

Here's the storage tote I made for my bicycle.

I switched to a folding bicycle so I could keep it inside my apartment, and wanted a basket for errands.


  • 4 gallon clear storage bin with flip-top lid (mine is from Home Depot)
  • Rust-Oleum flat black multi purpose spray paint (bonds to plastic)
  • 3M Scotchcal reflective striping tape, black
  • Two 1/2 inch flat bungee cords with hooks, 15" long

Step 1: Finding the Right Basket

I tried several types of baskets and bags, but couldn't find something that would fit my bike's size and shape.

I also wanted something that wouldn't get in the way when the bike was folded.

My roommate suggested this plastic bin that we already had, and it turned out to be the exact size needed.

Step 2: Learn From My Mistakes

What I did:

  1. Cut holes to mount the tote.
  2. Mount the tote to the basket.
  3. Realize the tote looks bad.
  4. Paint the tote.
  5. Realize I need more visibility.
  6. Add reflective tape.

The problem is that I put tape on top of a painted plastic tote. The tape may peel off the paint and come free.

What I SHOULD have done:

  1. Lightly sand the outside of the bin so the paint & tape can adhere better.
  2. Use masking tape to cover the design where the tape will go.
  3. Paint the tote.
  4. Remove the masking tape.
  5. Add reflective tape.

I'll probably redo this at some point, and will hopefully improve my process. (or just make different mistakes)

Step 3: ​Mounting the Tote

I used bungee cords from a combo pack, and the 15" is barely long enough. This was a case of "use what you have on hand".

I used a flat bungee so it would lay close to the plastic and not roll.

I cut four slots in the bottom edges of the tote. They are barely big enough to squeeze the bungee hooks through with some effort.

The picture shows the bottom of the tote with the cords in place. As you can see, the fit is tight -- when the basket is hooked to the bike, it's a snug fit.

Step 4: Functional But Not Pretty

The tote is a perfect size, but the clear plastic looks terrible.

This is a picture taken during an evening ride. I was in the process of adding lights to the wheels, and wanted to see if they were effective.

Step 5: Paint It Black

For paint, I used multi-purpose paint that's listed for plastic.

I taped off the areas which would rub against the bike and the edges around the hinges.

Once painted, the plastic bin looks pretty good. It fits with the bike much better.

Step 6: Reflective Tape

I needed much better visibility for riding at night. This stealth tape is perfect - it looks black in daylight but is highly reflective when hit with a light.

The original product I found, marketed for bicycles, is just a 100 inch roll of very thin tape.

But the manufacturer (3M) sells a chunkier product - 1/2 inch wide in a 50' roll. It's pricey, but you get a lot and it goes a long way.

Step 7: Inspired by a Logo

The design needed to contain only straight lines. The tape is a bit thick, so trying to add any curves would cause ripples in the surface. A design made of only straight lines would be easier to apply, lay flat against the plastic, and last longer.

Here's the Aperture Labs logo from the Portal game series.

I decided to expand the design to cover as much of the tote as possible. Since the lines are thick, I planned to cut three pieces of tape and lay them side-by-side.

Step 8: Create Stencils From the Design

I divided the design in half, and created two stencils to apply the tape.

The design.psd is provided in case you'd like to print your own stencils.

Step 9: Applying the Tape

A stencil was fastened in place, and then the tape applied into the gap.

Each piece of tape was started with a 45" edge, and then lain in place until it reached an edge on the tote. Then the next piece of tape was applied right next to it.

Step 10: Completed Design

My favorite aspect is that the bike looks pretty normal in the daytime. It's just a black bike with an unusual shape.

But at night or in a car's headlights, it's wonderfully visible.

Step 11: More Tape, More Lights

Here's the bike with additional tape added to the frame.

The picture was taken upside down so that the wheels could spin -- necessary for the green glow would kick in.

I'm very happy with it!

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