Introduction: Sand Bags for Equipment Stands
I play bass guitar and sing in a band. I'm also one of the roadies. Some of our mic stands - particularly the overhead stand that holds a rather heavy mic for the cymbals - is always a little tenuous; it hasn't ever fallen but it's come close on a few occasions. Some Sand Bags could alleviate a possible future catastrophe! I had some canvas left over from another project - the canvas was originally sourced from the "pieces" bin of a local fabric store, CHEAP! - and thought, "Hey! this is the perfect material for making a few sand bags."
These bags - especially the large bag - can be easily scaled up to accommodate more weight should you need stands for heavier equipment (like light stands for photography or film making). The large bag I made could actually hold quite a bit more sand but I only wanted 5 lbs.
The materials list for the 3 bags I made
Canvas - 1 piece 4.5" x 12" (small, 1.5 lb bag); 1 piece 4.5" x 17" (medium, 2.5lb bag); 1 piece 11"x 20 1/2" (large, 5lb bag); 2 pieces 2" x 7" (straps for small bags)
1" Polyester webbing - used for strap on large bag
Sand - I actually used a pre-mixed morter as bags of dry sand aren't readily available where I live.
Sealable plastic bags - "sandwhich" size (small bag); I used a custom made "Foodsaver" freezer bag for the medium bag but you could also use a one-quart size; one-gallon (large bag). My original thought was that these plastic bags would reduce dust and sand loss but they ended up being even more necessary (see above).
The equipment I used:
L square - or any other straight edged measuring device
fabric chalk - or marking pen
Step 1: Gather Your Fabric Pieces and Sand
I made the two small bags literally out of some canvas scraps I had from another project hence the rather odd sizes but for me they were perfect for the intended job. The large bag is sized to hold a one-gallon freezer bag. Obviously these bags can be sized any way you would like. My bags were:
Small bag - 4.5" x 6" has a 3" loop and holds 1.5 lbs of sand. This bag is intended to slip over the back end of a microphone boom arm as a counter balance)
Medium bag - 4.5" x 8.5" also has a 3" loop and holds 2.5 lbs of sand. This is a multipurpose bag for slipping on the back end of boom arm or for hanging low on a mic stand or under a camera tripod.
Large bag - 10" x 10" has a 14" strap and hold 5 lbs of sand. This is intended to be used on the legs of mic stands.
You can generally get bags of dry sand at your local hardware store. I live in Central America and our local hardware stores only sell sand delivered by truck with a 1/4yard minimum so I found some pre-mixed morter (sand and concrete) in a convenient 10 kilo bag (way more than I needed for my three bags) and since I was going to be filling sealable plastic bags and inserting those into the canvas bags I wasn't concerned about my Sand Bags turning into canvas covered bricks.
Step 2: Prepare and Sew Your Fabric
I didn't need to cut the scrap pieces I used for the two smaller bags i used them just as they were but the large bag is sized to fit a 10" x 10" freezer bag. Except for specific size references these steps are the same for all three bags.
1. Mark and cut one piece 11" x 20 1/2" (your intended width + 1" by twice the intended length + 1/2").
2. Mark the mid-point of the 20 1/2" (the long) side.
3. Cut out fabric piece.
4. Fold in half on the previously marked mid-point with the Right Sides (meaning what would be the correct side to show while wearing) of the fabric together.
5. Be sure both corners match.
6. Press the fold so that it is flat (your chalk mark should be on the fold).
7. Mark the top hem. (I used 3/4" for a finished hem of 3/8")
8. Fold top down to hem line and press. Do this to both top sides.
9. Take the bag to your sewing machine and sew these hems using a straight stitch. For these bags, I like to start as close to the edge as possible and take the stitching as close to the opposite edge as possible. Be sure to back stitch at the start and end to lock the stitches.
Strap for Large Bag Only
10. Now we can attach the strap for the Large bag. With the Right Side up, make a mark on the mid-point of one half of the long side. My strap is 1" wide so I drew two lines 1/2" on either side of the mid-point as guides for the strap. Two additional lines are drawn 3 1/2" from each side of the fabric, the ends of the straps will line up to these marks.
11. Fold about 1/4" of one strap end under itself, line it up to one of the 3 1/2" marks and pin in place. Don't use your iron to set this fold unless you have turned down the heat (from HOT for the cotton bag fabric to COOL for the *polyester* strap material); the end of a chop stick works great for pressing folds and you don't have to worry about melting the polyester with a too hot iron.
12. Make a mark on the strap 3/8" from the fabric edge. This is the start-line you will sew along to attach the strap to the bag.
13. Sew the strap to the bag using a straight stitch. Sew a Box with an "X" (see photo example) to secure the strap. Start at the mark on the strap you made nearest the fabric edge. Starting about 1/16" from this edge of the strap (and remembering to back stitch to secure the thread), sew to about 1/16" from the opposite edge; leave the needle down; lift the presser foot, turn the fabric with the partially attached strap 90 degrees and sew up to the folded end of the strap also to about 1/16" from the edge. Turn the fabric 90 degrees and sew along the fold to the opposite edge; turn the fabric 90 degrees and sew back to the starting point. Now, with the needle down turn the fabric and strap 135 degrees and sew a diagonal line to the opposite corner of the strap (where the fold is). Turn the the fabric 135 degrees and sew along the fold again to the opposite corner; turn the fabric 135 degrees and sew another diagonal line to the opposite corner back stitch at the end to secure the thread. Attach the opposite end of the strap in a similar manner.
14. Fold the fabric in half again so that the Right Sides are together and sew up each side about 1/4" from the edge. Be sure the strap - now inside - is folded out of the way so it does not get sewn when you sew these side seams. Use the triple straight stitch (or triple stretch stitch) for added strength. You could also just sew this line with a straight stitch three times. Start as close to the edge as possible and sew off the opposite edge (if using a straight stitch DO NOT sew off the edge, just get as close as possible and then back stitch to secure). Side seam and top hem should cross each other.
15. I also sewed a triple stitch about 1/8" from the bottom fold also crossing the side seams on each side. (not pictured).
16. Turn bag Right Side out so the strap and the Right Side of the fabric are out.
Straps for Smaller Bags
10a. I made the straps for the smaller bags from the same canvas as the bags. Cut two (one for each bag) pieces of fabric 2" x 7". Fold in half lengthwise - Wrong Sides together - and press. Fold the bottom of the strap piece to the center fold and press (WST); fold the top of the strap piece to the center fold and press; fold again at the original center fold and press - the strap should now be about 5/8" wide and Right Side out. Take to the sewing machine and sew up each side of the strap about 1/16" from each edge with a straight stitch (I don't have to remind you to back stitch at the start and end do I?).
11a. Fold the bag Right Sides together and sew up each side using a triple straight (stretch) stitch (or sew the sides three times with a straight stitch). Start as close to the edge as possible and sew off the opposite side (if using a single straight stitch DO NOT sew off the edge). Side seams and top hem should cross each other.
12a. Make a mark in the middle of the top hem and draw lines 5/16" on each side of the mid-point these are the guide marks for the strap. Pin one side of the bag back out of the way. Take the strap and bag to the machine and sew the strap, between the marks, to the Wrong Side of the bag; repeat for opposite end of strap and opposite side of bag top.
13a. Turn bag Right Side out. Use a chop stick to help with pushing out the bottom corners.
17. Bags are now ready for sand! Fill the plastic bags with your desired weight of sand, seal and insert into the Sand Bags.
18. Sew tops of all bags using a Triple Straight Stitch (or three passes of a single straight stitch). Starting as close to the edge as possible and sewing off the other edge (do not sew off the edge if using a straight stitch). Make sure to cross the side seams with this top seam.
19. You're done!! go forth and make your stands safe!
Participated in the
Sew Tough Challenge