DIY Toy or Lego Bag and Playmat

Do you have lots of toys or legos laying around? They sure can be a pain to pick up and put away. However, with this DIY Toy or Lego Bag and play mat, clean up is a lot easier. The bag cinches up into a great toy storage container, and it holds a lot of toys. This project is easy and is perfect for gifts!
This DIY Toy Cinch Bag has been a lifesaver -- it was SO easy to make and my son loves it. This tutorial is easy to follow, and the bag makes for a great gift.


I always used to say we wouldn’t have a lot of toys for Jack. And until recently, I didn’t think we did! But then I started looking around, and I realized that we have slowly accumulated a lot over the past two years…and I kind of feel like we live in a small toy shop. I keep telling Forrest that we can just wrap up old toys that Jack outgrows for other kids we may have, just so we don’t become overrun with toys. He thought that was a great idea…Check back with me in a few years to see how that turns out!

Most of the toys we own aren’t big — just lots of smaller toys. These small toys are perfect for Jack’s latest favorite game – throw all the toys out from behind the couch and then do nothing with them. Jack is excellent at throwing small objects. Needless to say, we’ve been trying to teach Jack how to clean up after himself lately (and thankfully, have had success. I was checking on him in nursery in church on Sunday, and my heart just beamed as I saw him put away a toy without being asked…ah, the simple joys in life.)

I wanted to come up with a way for us to quickly put away all of our smaller toys, as well as store them. I remember seeing toy (or lego) bags with drawstrings growing up at friend’s homes and thinking they were so cool. So I went to Pinterest found this post  from Make It Perfect for a lego sack tutorial. It seemed simple enough and like it would be the perfect solution to our tiny toy problem.DIY-Toy-Bag-28


After looking at the tutorial, I also discovered the name of this bag – a Swoop Bag. These are pretty pricey, so I was excited to see if I could make one for a fraction of the price. I liked how they did the drawstrings on their bags, as opposed to how the tutorial at Make it Perfect made the cinch sack (the button hole thing confused me), so I decided to combine the tutorial from Make it Perfect with my own twists to resembled the Swoop Bag, and it turned out awesome. So, by all means, this is not a super unique and original idea, but I think I put my own unique twist on it.

Jack LOVES it. He’s been dragging it around our house and is actually quite good about putting all the little toys in it and playing in it. It turns into a great play mat. I used this adorable Scenic Route fabric from Riley Blake Designs for the top layer, and this simple Colbalt fabric, also from Riley Blake Designs. Jack totally loves the cars and the roads on it and enjoys “zooming” his cars along them. It’s perfect for his age and interests.

Here’s the tutorial — it really is pretty simple and should just take a 1-3 hours (depending on how fast you are!) I think this would be a great birthday gift, or even a baby shower gift. The size is plenty large for us, so the instructions below do have exact measurements. It’s about 40 inches in diameter, but if you want it a different size, you should be able to easily adjust the instructions below.


2 pieces of fabric that are about 43″ wide and 56″ tall in coordinating colors (Fabric used in this tutorial – Scenic Route and Colbalt. These are no longer available online, but they are from Riley Blake Designs, which has the CUTEST fabric. The Oh Boy! or Harvest Friends Owl with some polka dot cotton would be PERFECT for this project.)
3 40″ long, 3″ wide strips of fabric (I would use a solid color.) You should have enough left over in scraps from cutting the fabric, but you might want to get a little extra just in case.
Coordinating Thread
Paracord in coordinating color
Measuring tape
Sewing Scissors (I love the Gingher brand)

1. Fold one piece of fabric into quarters. Each edge needs to be at least 21″ (or one inch more than what you want the radius of the finished product should be. Iron the edges, and then starting at one corner, make multiple 20″ marks in an arch across the fabric. The more marks you have, the easier it will be to connect the lines and cut! After you’ve connected the line, cut along the line.

DIY Toy Bag and Playmat



2. Repeat with the other piece of fabric until you have two large circles. I totally forgot to take pictures of this whole process, so if you are confused, this a great tutorial for cutting a circle out of a piece of fabric. If you are very careful, you could even just do one circle, and then trace the other one from the first.

How to cut a circle out of fabric


3. Cut three strips of fabric that are 40″ long and 3″ thick.

DIY Lego Bag and Playmat


4. Sew them together into one large strip. Make sure to put the edges right side together, so the seam doesn’t show.



5. Once you have the long strip of fabric, fold the ends in about 1/2″ and sew in place.



6. Fold the fabric in half and sew down the long edge until you have a long tube. You don’t need to worry about the raw edge, as it will be covered in the end.




7. On the circle of fabric that you want on the bottom of the bag (but will ultimately be on the outside when it’s cinched up), pin the tube of fabric around the entire fabric. There should be about a 5″ gap between the ends of tube (if there isn’t, just cut off a few inches from one of the ends and re-sew.) Make sure to pin the raw edge of the tube on the outside of the circle.



8. Sew the tube to circle using a 1/4″ stitch


9. Pin the two circles to each other (right sides together), leaving a 5 or 6 inch gap on the side opposite of gap between the edges of the fabric tube that you previously sewed to the bottom circle.



10. Sew 1/4″ stitch around the circle, starting at the beginning of the part you left unpinned and stopping at the other end right before the gap.



11. Turn the material so the right sides are showing, through the gap.



12. Top stitch the gap closed.


13. Starting at one end of the fabric tube, “thread” the rope through until you reach the other end. You’ll have to do a bit of tugging and adjustment until the mat lays flat and the tubing isn’t bunched up.



14. You’ll likely have a good amount of extra rope left over, like below. Cut the rope so there is about 5″ sticking out of each edge.



15. Tie the ends of each side of the rope into a tight knot so it doesn’t go into the tube.



Put toys in and enjoy!

DIY Toy Bag and Playmat

DIY Swoop Bag Tutorial

Let me know if you make this project — I’d love to see your take on it!


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  • Hi! I love this toy bag! Do you have any suggestions to make one for cosmetics, or even for jewelry when traveling? I’m unsure how large to make the circle and the rest.
  • Hey Katie,I have no idea if you will see this comment, so by the time you've read this I may have continued on and quite possibly have ripped a bunch of stitches out... But, I have a question that I hope isn't too "noob-ish"... :')I'm in the process of following your tutorial, and I'm about to sew together the two circles. I am a little confused, though, about whether the tube should be on the inside or the outside when I sew them together. I am struggling to visualize how the tube ends up on the outside once the circles are sewn together and once turned from inside out.My sewing skills are pretty minimal; this is one of my first few projects!
  • I've just finished this - thank you so much! I added some wadding/batting between the layers to make it a bit comfier, and sewed felt underwater creatures all over the inside of the playmat, so it took me quite a bit longer, but I love the result! The pattern is brilliant! Thank you :)
  • Just made this. Cute as can be! Great tutorial - thanks for the clear instructions. I was looking for a bag for baby shower gifts. This is perfect!
  • #BestIdeaEver Clever idea, well executed. too bad I didn't have it 25 years ago! There may have been a dozen made for our child, as she had so many toys. Thanks for this info.
  • Love this so much! Thank you for the tutorial. Ive made 3 so far and plan to make more. My boys love them! They carry them everywhere, use them for lego and camping games. I do find it hard to cinch up, so I'm trying to figure out a way to make it easier.
    • I am so glad that you have found this tutorial helpful! Definitely share any tips you discover along the way! =)
  • Thanks for your tutorial, very clear and helpful. I've made it tonight, didn't take too long. I sewed the rope into the tube so that I didn't have to pull it through afterwards (lazy I know). I've made mine to fit our coffee table that will now for ever be our son's territory ;)
  • I like the tutorial and have made several of these by your directions. However, I am concerned about the amount of rope when it is drawn closed. When giving as a gift, should I put some sort of warning for small children? Any ideas would be helpful

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