It’s been years since I’ve stepped foot into an Ikea. I’m sure it’s because at some point in my twenties, I finally swore off ever having to assemble another dresser with a hex key again. Never again. After my first real job, there was a lot of pride in thinking I was above build-it-yourself furniture, paper lanterns, plastic waste baskets and Swedish meatballs. Oh, how out of touch I’ve been. My recent visit to Ikea set off a hundred lightbulbs and I was probably most excited when I came across a huge bin of $3.99 woven rugs. Hello!! This is what I’ve been missing out on? DIY, DIY, DIY, DIY. The Signe rug is far too small for its intended use. It is, however, the perfect size for so many other things, including a large market tote. Bingo. After brining home the rug in every color way (I had forgotten how you always spend more than you plan to at Ikea), I experimented and created the easiest method to creating the perfect summer beach bag. And just you wait, there will be many more Ikea inspired tutorials (or should I say “hacks”) coming soon!

You’ll need:

Start by ironing your rug flat with an iron on a steam setting. After the rug is dry fold the ends in about 2 inches and pin them in place.

After each end is folded in, sew a straight line right above the fringe. Because the rug is so thick, you’ll want to use a heavy duty, leather sewing needle.

Also, because the material is so weighty, you might want to use your hand to guide the rug underneath the machine’s foot so that the rug doesn’t misalign. Once both sides are sewn, fold the rug in half with the fringe sides facing in.

Now sew the vertical edges together. When you get to the top, over the folded section, you might want to guide your machine manually if the machine is having a hard time getting through the thickness.

Once both vertical sides are sewn, pinch the bottom corners and pin them in place.

Sew the corners, using the vertical lines of the rug as a guide. Repeat on the other side.

Turn the bag right side out. See how sewing that corner give you a nice tailored frame?

Now it’s time to reinforce the edges. I also like using the vertical lines of the rug as a guide here. Sew the edges together, with the smallest hem you can leave. Here, I’m about 1/8″ from the edge.

You can stop sewing right before you get to the fringed fold.

Add the leather handles by first threading your needle with waxed linen cord. Tie the end of the cord into a double knot and pull the needle from the bottom of the bag, through one of the pre-punched holes of the strap.

Make your first stick and bring the needle back up, skipping a stich. And then back down, completing the stitch. This is called a back stitch.

Continue doing the back stitch until you’ve sewn the entire base of the strap to the top of the bag. Repeat on the rest of the sides.

Add a couple of tassels and voila, you just turned a $3.99 bag into a cute (and sturdy) tote!

(images by HonestlyWTF & Andrea Posadas)