Weekly Project: Make an IPod Tote Bag--Spring Fling Bling-Bling




You know those iPod tote bags that were all the rage on the morning news shows a couple of years ago? Costing around one hundred bucks, most of those bags seemed more suited for a fashion show rather than slogging music through your daily life.

After that high-societal craze died down, a more fanciful iPod tote bag emerged. While reasonable in cost, some of these bags would be tough to imagine toting around on the street.

Today, edgy designers like Burton have taken the iPod + speaker system concept and wrapped it up in a stylish bag that is both practical and functional. This is snowboarder chic. Unfortunately, these "x-treme" totes can cost near $200.

There has to be a better (read, cheaper) way. And here it is. Your own iPod tote bag for less than sixty bucks. You can take it to the beach, you can pimp your bag, and you can crank it up.

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Step 1: Make an IPod Tote Bag

Time: 3 hours
Cost: $55.49
Difficulty: Moderate

Parts List

  • Low-cost tote bag (Hobby Lobby; $1.95)
  • Plastic mesh (craft store; $1.50)
  • Embroidery (DIY; embroidery sewing machine)
  • Patches (optional; if you lack an embroidery sewing machine)
  • EL Wiring 80-inches ( Glow Products $14.55)
  • Contrasting Fabric 1/4-yard (fabric store; $2.50)
  • Macally IP-N111 Portable Stereo Speakers for iPod Nano 1st G ( J&R $34.99)

Step 2: Snip, Snip.

Mark an outline on your bag for the exterior speaker grille and cut it out. No, really, cut it out.

You will need a grille that measures approximately 3-inches square.

Carefully cut out this speaker grille outline. Also, you'd better reinforce that cut with a quick zigzag stitch or your whole bag could unravel--right before your eyes.

Do a quick test fit of the plastic mesh grille. Make sure that your edges are plumb in the corners and that the zigzag stitching has tidied up the raw cut edges.

Step 3: Stitch, Stitch.

Temporarily remove the grille for completing the decoration of the bag.

Personalize your bag with embroidery, fancy stitching, EL wiring, sew-in lighting, and paint--you name it. Remember, it's your bag.

If you'd like to try your hand at sewing your own embroidery, then you'll need a sewing machine that is equipped with a special embroidery attachment--like the Pfaff 2140. These are pricey beasts, however. You should be able to find some lower cost embroidery machine alternatives at most fabric stores.

Oh and don't forget, finish your decoration on the back of the bag, too.

When your bag is looking fine, reinsert the plastic mesh grille and sew it in place. Use one of your sewing machine's fancy stitches for finishing the bag and trimming up the edge of the grille's opening.

Step 4: Amp It Up.

Install the Macally speaker system. This is a lightweight (3.3 oz w/o batteries), portable battery-powered stereo speaker system that only works with the iPod nano 1st generation. You will need three AA batteries for striking up this band. Then relax in 500mW of throbbing output per channel.

Step 5: Take It Out.

Insert your iPod nano and load the bag with the rest of your beaching going goodies. Switch the speakers on, turn on your iPod nano, and play it loud, baby.

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    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 4

    i just loved this article.its simple superb. i think after i am done with this i dont need to run around for plug points to recharge my i pod.

    -Ross @ lanyards


    11 years ago on Step 1

    You an make it for way cheaper just get Low-cost tote bag (Hobby Lobby; $1.95) Plastic mesh (craft store; $1.50) Headphone extender (electronic store, $5-6) Coby CS-MP23(Thenerds.net, $4) I just took it down in price to 13.50 at most 15 (with taxes)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You could add a solar charger so it can charge while you are carrying it!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    "Make sure that your edges are plumb in the corners and that the zigzag stitching has tidied up the raw cut edges."
    I pretty sure this is the first time I've seen/heard the word plumb used in sewing. lol
    Try adding some FrayCheck to the raw edges too so they don't fray.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Looks pretty good, it might be nicer if the bag could be a black one or some other colorful one.


    12 years ago

    This was definitely my idea. I swear to god, I was gonna make big fake fabric speakers and put it on my messenger bag. I still might. I was just gonna use a casette adapter and a stereo though. Popsci always spends more than you really have to.