Fun Duct Tape Shoulder Bag




About: I'm a writer/graphic designer originally from the US now living in the Great White North of Ontario, Canada. I love the outdoors and working with my hands so I do a lot of tinkering. Woodworking, prop making...

My wife loves her purses. She loves getting new purses. And I love tormenting her about having too many and not needing any more. She's resisted the urge to get any new ones for a long time though and I thought for that and for putting up with my ribbing, she deserved a new one for Mothers Day.

Since our family is creative and loves to make things, I decided to make her a purse instead of simply buying one. That allowed me to give her one as wonderfully fun and unique as she is. It also gave me the chance to make something with duct tape.

What I came up with is a duct tape purse with a no sew fabric lining. The long strap allows it to work as a shoulder or a cross body bag. The caution tape and the black and yellow color scheme gave it a quirky flare. The wife loves it and I'm glad that I was able to create something that will bring her so much enjoyment.

Now let's get to the making of so you, too, can create one for the purse aficionado in your life.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

The materials and tools needed for this shoulder bag are super simple. Here they are.


  • Black duct tape
  • Yellow duct tape
  • Caution tape
  • D-rings or similar
  • Liner fabric of your choice


  • Cutting board or other surface to cut on
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler

In the picture I have a zipper and extra set of d-rings that I ended up not using, but it depends totally upon what extra additions you want to add as to what else you may need. The material I used for the lining is an old pair of scrub pants which ended up allowing me to use one of the back pockets as an inside pocket for the purse.

Step 2: Layout the Pieces

Once I decided on the length, width and height of the purse, I laid out the liner material and drew in some lines. I knew I wanted to use the existing pocket from the scrub pants as a pocket for the purse, so I started there and made that side 8" tall. Then I drew lines for a 4" wide bottom and added a line for the other side at 8".

Once I had my lines, I laid out strips of black duct tape onto the top and bottom of each side section. I then measured out 10" wide (using the pocket as a means to center the length) and added a 1/2 width strip of tape to each end. With the outline in tape, I then trimmed the material down to size using the duct tape to get a straight cut.

I then added tape to cover the bottom section of the purse and folded it in half.

The side sections are separate pieces of material cut 4" wide by 10" tall (so that there would be a 2" overlap at the bottom to attach to the bottom section of the purse). Once I had them cut, I covered them with duct tape as well.

Now on to attaching everything.

Step 3: Putting It Together

Putting it together is simple, but I'm not sure how well I can explain it so I included lots of pictures here to try to help with what I'm talking about.

I picked one side of the purse and laid a side panel out next to it, lining up the edges as tightly as possible without overlapping them. I then covered the seam with duct tape to attach them, leaving the 2" section of the bottom of the purse undone for the time being. I then flipped it over and added a 1/2 strip of tape to what is the inside seam of the purse lining. This is illustrated in the first three pictures above.

I then repeated this step with the other side of the bag.

Once I had the side panels attached to one side of the bag, I started to attach them to the other sides. To do this, I attached a 1/2 strip of duct tape to the front side of the bag and folded the side panel in half and laid it onto the duct tape to attach it. I repeated this for the other side and then attached both 2" flaps from the side panels to the bottom of the bag with a full width strip of duct tape. I know this sounds confusing, but hopefully pictures 4 through 10 can illustrate what I mean.

Once the bag was assembled, I went back and covered any exposed fabric with duct tape. Then, for some added rigidity, and to cover any gaps, I covered the entire bag with overlapping rows of duct tape. This is shown in pictures 11 and 12 above.

To attach the hardware for the strap to connect to, I ran one long piece of tape from the top of one end section, across the bottom, and the up to the top of the other end section. I took a 2" long piece of tape and made each end of this strip 2 layers of tape thick. I then ran each end through the metal rings and folded them over and ran a strip of tape around to attach them.

Once attached, I added a strip of tape through the ring then wrapped it over to the inside of the bag to get the ring to line up with the top of the bag. I also added strips across both above and below it to keep it from pulling apart from the bag. Unfortunately, I didn't get any picture of the step-by-step of this, but maybe with pictures 13, 14 and 15 showing the finished result, it can be figured out how to do it.

Step 4: Making & Attaching the Flap

If I had thought of it, I would have included the flap in the length of fabric I cut for the front, bottom and back of the purse, but I didn't. So here is what I did to make the flap instead.

I came up with a measurement of 10" wide by 12" long for the flap. This allowed 2" to overlap and attach the flap to the bag, 4" to go across the top, and 8" to fold over and down the front side of the purse. It also allowed the ability to trim a bit off if I needed to adjust anything as I put it together.

I began by overlapping strips of black tape until I had a 12" long sheet. I then used a ruler and trimmed it to 10" wide. Once done, I carefully pulled it up from the cutting mat and flipped it over. I then covered the sticky side with overlapping rows of yellow duct tape. I then flipped it back to the black side and trimmed the yellow tape using the black as a guide.

The yellow side would be the back side of the flap and the black would be the front.

I then determined an amount of overlap that would work and attached this to the bag. A few strips of yellow tape on the inside and a few of black on the outside and the flap was firmly attached. I then determined the spots where the bends needed to be and creased the flap to lay properly across the top and down the front of the bag. The flap ended up hanging further down the front of the bag than I liked, so I trimmed a piece off from the bottom and was done.

Then the hard part was done and I was ready to move on to the fun stuff.

Step 5: Decorative Tape Layer and Trim Pieces

Now that the actual bag was done, I could start adding the decorative layer.

I chose to start with the flap because it would be the part seen the most. I laid down a strip of plain yellow duct tape at the bottom of the flap as a backing for the semi-transparent caution tape (this allowed it to be really yellow instead of a dull yellow because of black tape being under it). I then carefully placed the caution tape onto the yellow tape, making sure to center the word CAUTION on the flap.

Next I positioned a strip of black tape above it (not overlapped). Then I repeated the steps with the yellow duct tape and caution tape above the black (again, not overlapping it but positioning it directly above). Then I put down another strip of black above the second caution row, again not overlapping them.

From there, I continued working up the flap with overlapping rows of black tape until I reached where it attached to the bag.

For the back, I decided to have one caution strip on it, so I started laying overlapping rows of black tape from the bottom up about a third of the back. Then I put the yellow duct tape and caution tape row on as described above, including the part of not overlapping it with the black above or below it). I then simply continued with overlapping rows of black tape until I reached the top.

For the two end sides, I decided to do a black and yellow caution pattern up to just below where the strap buckles were. To achieve the pattern, I laid out alternating overlapping rows of black and yellow diagonally on the cutting mat using the graph lines to make sure everything was even. I then trimmed the piece to the width and length I needed and repeated for the second one. I then carefully positioned them and laid them down onto the bag to attach them.

That finished the main decorating, so I laid out long strips of yellow duct tape onto the cutting mat and cut them into 1/2" strips. These I used as trim pieces on all the edges, laying them down and wrapping them around so that each side was 1/4"

Step 6: Make the Strap

The only thing left then was the strap, which I unfortunately forgot to take any pictures of while making it. But don't worry, I made a short section using a spare d-ring to show how I attached it to the actual one on the purse.

Once I determined the length the strap should be, I pulled off a strip of yellow duct tape twice that long. I then very carefully folded it and started to press the sticky sides together while keeping out too many wrinkles. This proved to be tricky and, although much harder than I imagined to do, I did it without too many bad mistakes.

Once I had the yellow tape done, I trimmed it on the cutting mat using a ruler as a straight edge down to just under 1 1/4" inches wide for the entire length of it.

I then pulled off a strip of black duct tape a little longer than the yellow strap I just made and laid it down sticky side up. I carefully centered the yellow tape strap above it and then pressed it down onto it a section at a time until I had the entire thing done. This left me roughly 1/4" of black tape on each side that I folded up and over to make a black edging along the entire strap.

To attach to the bag, I ran each end through the metal buckles and looped it over. I then cut a strip of black tape in half lengthwise and used the two sections to fasten the strap around the buckles. The last four picture demonstrate what I mean using a spare d-ring.

And that was that. But before the reveal of the finished bag...

Step 7: Obligatory Cute Cat in a Box Photo

... here is something for you sticking with me through what I hope was a not too convoluted explanation of the steps I took to make this shoulder bag.

Apparently the cat got a bit bored with what I was doing and decided to show me that no matter if I thought the box was too small or not, he could fit in it. I think he is delusional, but he seems rather content, even if not as comfortable as if it was a bigger box.

Step 8: Finished

And here is the finished duct tape Caution Shoulder Bag.

My wife loves it and has gotten tons of comments on it when out and about. I'm glad I was able to make her a bag as wonderfully fun and unique as she is and hope it makes up for my tormenting of her love for purses.

After doing this, I think I could do it again and be able to make some improvements in a few areas of design and the actual process of making of it. All in all though, it was a fun project that I am proud of how it turned out. If you make one. I hope my experience helps you along the way.

Duct Tape Challenge

Runner Up in the
Duct Tape Challenge



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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago

    thanks for the length and width.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I believe the fabric ended up being 24" in length and 13" in width. It's been a while now, so I'm not 100% percent on that, but it should be close.


    4 years ago on Introduction


    I love the yellow / black combo. I have tons of bubble wrap around... If I get time to make one, I'll put a layer of bubble wrap inside for added protection...

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you!

    Great idea with the bubble wrap. If I make another, I may try that.


    4 years ago

    Obligatory "First!!!" Comment.

    I'm a guy, and now I want a matching messenger bag. You have my contest vote.

    1 reply

    A few tweaks of the dimensions and the same steps could be taken for a messenger bag fairly easily. Would enjoy seeing it if you make one. And thanks for the vote!