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I need help with a tote bag bottom

Elaray | Posted in General Discussion on

I am making a large tote bag from heavy canvas. The bottom of the bag will measure 8″ x 15″. I’d like to put something in the bottom to make it stiff and hard. I was thinking of plastic needlepoint canvas, but I’ve never seen sheets any larger than 8″ x 11″. Can anyone suggest what I can use that would have similar properties to plastic needlepoint canvas? Or maybe a source for larger pieces of the plastic canvas?

Thanks in advance for your help.


I sew, therefore I am


  1. sewgal | | #1

    For something that large, I don't know if you'll get the stiffness you want from the plastic.  I would get 1/8" or 1/4" plexiglass (cut to size) and use it in the bottom.  Being clear, it won't "show," so you won't need to cover it unless you want to.  You should be able to get this at a glass store.  Gail

  2. rjf | | #2

    I'd go to the lumber yard and get some pressed board, not too thick, and have them cut it size.  Round the corners, if possible, so it doesn't poke through the fabric.  rjf

  3. TJV | | #3

    Tote bag bottom

    One thing I have just bought to try myself is a thin kitchen vegetable cutting board. Mine is 12" by 15" Sometimes available at $ stores. A variety of sizes and thickneses should be available at Walmart. Hope this helps you.

    New member TJV


  4. sueb | | #4

    I make a lot of handbags.  For the bottoms I sandwich a piece of matboard inbetween two pieces of Timtex interfacing.   Works perfectly.



    1. Elaray | | #5

      What exactly is "matboard" and "timtex" interfacing & and where can I get them? Do you mean the matboard used for framing pictures? I'm not familiar with timtex interfacing, either. Please provide more info.--------------------------------------------------------I sew, therefore I am

      Edited 1/25/2005 9:24 pm ET by Elaray

      1. sueb | | #6

        matboard is the stuff for mounting pictures, most of your larger craft stores will carry it.  Timtex is a really stiff interfacing that is used in hat brims.   Most of the larger fabric stores carry it, usually in small packages but some carry it on the bolt.  you can get it online at:


        scroll down and look for timtex.  It's a terrific stabilizer and you can use it for that new popular craft of making bowls and boxes that everybody's been doing.



  5. User avater
    paddyscar | | #7

    What about foam-core?  This is the foam board used to mount pictures and items such as cross-stitch or embroidery.  It comes in a variety of sizes and can easily be cut to shape with a pair of household scissors.  It is about 1/4 inch in thickness and the fabric will self-adhere to the one side.  It would hold the shape quite well if used for carrying bulky, rather than heavy items, and wouldn't add much weight to the tote.

    Sign makers use a 'board' made of plastic that is constructed like a piece of corrugated cardboard, with plastic channels in between two outer flat pieces of plastic.  It is also sturdy without weight, easy to cut, and you may be able to pick up a piece of scrap for the asking.


  6. Elaray | | #8

    Thanks to all for your suggestions! I found Ultra stiff plastic canvas that was large enough for my purpose. The plastic canvas should hold up well in the washing machine. I sandwiched it between Timtex interfacing as SueB suggested. It worked perfectly! Both the interfacing and plastic canvas were available at my local large fabric/craft chain store.

    Thanks again.

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