Easy DIY Throw Pillow Made From A Souvenir Tote In Just Minutes

Easy DIY Throw Pillow Made From A Souvenir Tote In Just Minutes

I love to travel. I also love to buy souvenirs. And yes, sometimes I buy the occasional souvenir that I have absolutely no use for when I get home. Case in point – this tote I bought on my cruise to Roatan, Honduras. It was fun to carry all of my purchases on the island in, but when I got home, I realized that it’s not likely I would ever carry it again. So, it hung in my closet – until I figured out what I could do with it. I decided to turn it into an easy DIY throw pillow.

Easy DIY Throw Pillow Made From A Souvenir Tote In Just Minutes

Easy DIY Throw Pillow

Let me be the first to say, I am no seamstress. I don’t know the first thing about using a sewing machine, nor do I own one. I just bought myself a simple sewing kit with a needle and thread that would match my pillow and quickly transformed this souvenir tote into a DIY souvenir pillow by hand.

You will need…
A needle
A threader {those holes can be crazy to get the thread through}
A thimble {this material is thick so you are likely to stab yourself without a thimble}
Fiber Fill {I asked another customer in Walmart that looked like she knew her way around a sewing machine what I should buy}

First, cut off the tote straps and cut off the bottom by hand. That’s all. Don’t cut anything else off of the bag. I didn’t draw a straight line or anything. I just eyeballed it using the writing on the bag. But definitely draw a line if it makes you feel better. I think a ruler would work nicely for this.

Easy DIY Throw Pillow Made From A Souvenir Tote In Just Minutes

Next, turn the bag inside out. Make sure you flatten it out as best as you can, and make sure that the part where you cut is still matched up pretty well. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should do the best that you can.

Next, thread your needle and get to work. I was advised by the woman I met in Walmart that I should make very small stitches as the Fiber Fill might start coming out of the pillow otherwise. So, I sewed very small stitches all across the bottom of the bag and then came back up and did a second row.

Finally, I turned the bag back right side out and then filled it with Fiber Fill. Then I zipped the bag closed and voila! Easy peasy!

Easy DIY Throw Pillow Made From A Souvenir Tote In Just Minutes

I made this pillow a few months ago and wanted to make sure it held up before I posted about it. It’s still together and looks just like when I made it. Still though, it’s probably not the sturdiest pillow ever so I wouldn’t use it to sleep on every night. I also think that a sewing machine would definitely give you a stronger pillow in the end, but it is great for a cute throw pillow. I have some other totes that I am thinking about doing this to very soon. I would love to have one from every cruise destination all along my couch in the basement.

What Do You Think Of My DIY Throw Pillow?

Is this something you would make? Have you made something similar and want to share? Please do so in the comments below.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. I love the idea of using a tote that way, and it’s a great souvenir! I’m impressed you hung on to the bag long enough to make something!

  2. Ashley Sparks Mullins says

    This is so creative! I’ll keep this kind of thing in mind when I’m souvenir shopping! For not knowing how to sew, this looks really good!

  3. What a novel Idea. Perfect for those totes that have holes or are a little faded. Great idea.

  4. Ooooh – what a clever idea to recycle souvenirs! I love it…and would totally try it out. Now i need to find some bags to upcycle! 🙂
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  5. Christina says

    What a great idea! I have to do this asap. I have a few totes from different places that would look awesome!

  6. Fantastic idea on how to use up those totes and create another usable object. I think those would be cute on my front porch chairs!

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      I bet they would, too. This tote material seems very durable. It feels kind of plastic-y but also fabric-y, if that makes any sense.

  7. Now this is fun! I have a bag we got from del sol when we went on our cruise but we have left it out in the sun and it is so badly faded 🙁 I am totally going to snag this idea though, the kids have a few bags that would make great throw pillows.

  8. Helene Cohen Bludman says

    That is ingenious! I have so many of these bags that are just hanging in a closet. Now I know what to do with them.

  9. Great idea. And I see this being random mismatched pillows too. Great way to use up those bags from different travels.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      That’s exactly what I want to do in the basement/game room. And another thing, these totes are only like $5 in the Caribbean, so they are super cheap to make, too.

  10. What a great way to remember a special trip! I love picking up little trinkets that remind me of my travels!

  11. What a cute idea! We get too many of those totes and this is a fun way to save them!

  12. This is a great idea and I just threw away a few totes. Darn!

  13. That’s so easy to make and I love the idea of making a throw pillow from a tote! How creative is that! And what’s better is that you can pick as many designs as you want as well. It’s not that difficult to make either.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      Yeah, and there is barely any sewing since a tote is already the right shape. I like that best, lol.

  14. I am not the crafty gal of the family. This, however, looks fun and easy. I love the way you showed us step by step!

  15. This is a great way to bring a bit of the vacation into your living space! Thank you for sharing this idea 🙂

  16. Love it!! You are probably going to look at the pillow way more often than actually use the tote! I mean how many totes can a mom have and still use them all?

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      Right! I have so many totes and really only a few that I actually like. I have been getting way more use out of this pillow than the year it spent hanging in my closet as a tote.

  17. I love this idea! We have so many bags around the house in closets. This will be a great project for making throw pillows out of them.

  18. This throw pillow is so cute! And definitely a great way to makeover a souvenir tote. I have a couple I would like to do with this.

  19. This throw pillow is adorable! Great use for the bag and it is so whimsical! I should try this at home.

  20. For not being a seamstress, you did a really great job! Your stitch lines are really straight. I love the tote to pillow idea

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      Thanks! That makes me really happy to hear. I was kind of worried about that.

  21. This is such a good idea! I have so many totes just laying around , I would rather them be used for something awesome!

  22. I actually much prefer the tote as a pillow, its unique and I love the print it works well. I like the colour too.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      Thanks! I do, too. The tote wasn’t very big so I never really loved it for a tote anyway.

  23. That is genius!! I actually do have some old holiday totes that I could totally bust out for this! Thanks for the inspiration!
    You cannot tell, but I’m pretty excited!

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      Yay! I am glad. I hope that you get to make a ton of cute pillows very soon.

  24. This is pretty neat! My sister-in-law’s mother is good at making pillows, so she’d love this idea! I have never tried making my own pillow, but I wish I had the time and talent to do so. 🙂

  25. Courtneylynne says

    Omg I love this!!!!! I really need to make some pillows for our family room to remember some of our favorite family trips.

  26. This seems like a great momento from a trip or anything. PLUS, I think the kids could make it themselves too!

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      Definitely. Just make sure they have thimbles as this material was tough so you have to put a little muscle into it to get the needle through. That ups your odds of stabbing your finger. But it’s really easy to make, so I think kids can definitely handle it.

  27. I would like to make a throw pillow, but I keep thinking to myself it may be difficult. I would like to make this out of old T-Shirts of the places I visited in the past. That would make a great memento.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      It was really easy. If I can make, I feel certain that you can, too. I have been saving up my old t-shirts, too, as I want to eventually make a blanket out of them.

  28. What a totally clever idea. Now if I was just better at sewing I’m pretty sure I have a few bags I could transform.