Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Puzzle Storage Bag Tutorial

Puzzles didn't last long at our house until I found a new way to store them.  Inevitably, my kids would hide pieces in places I didn't even knew existed in my house, and they would use the boxes as stepping stools until they were unusable.  Now I make puzzle bags to keep them all together.

 This bag holds the pieces and the picture from the box.  You can change out the picture with the snap at the top if you decide to switch out the puzzle.

I also made a slightly larger lined bag in different colors.  Click here to view that post.

When my daughter was little, we had mostly wooden puzzles, so this is what the puzzle bags for those look like.  Just drill a hole in the side of your wood puzzle and attach a bag with a ribbon.

This tutorial will show you how to make the first bag shown, the simple single layer bag for cardboard puzzles.

You will need:
2- 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch pieces of bag fabric (mine was some kind of tan upholstery fabric)
1- 7 1/2 x 6 3/4 inch piece of clear vinyl
1- zipper cut to 7 1/2 inches
1- 7 1/2 inch piece of 1/4 inch bias tape (or you can make some bias tape with coordinating fabric)
1- piece of scrap fabric to make the puzzle applique
1- piece of Steam a Seam 2 or other applique adhesive material
1- puzzle

Step 1) Cut your bag pieces and vinyl piece.
Step 2) Cut out the top of your puzzle box.  This tutorial is for a box that is 6" x 6," so adjust the size of your bag if your puzzle is larger.

Step 3) Making the Applique
Take out one of your puzzle pieces and trace it onto your Steam a Seam 2.  Then peel off one side of paper to temporarily adhere it to your scrap fabric and cut them out together.  Put it in the center of one of the sides of the bag.  I put it lower in this example, but I decided afterward that I like it better in the center.

Take the applique puzzle piece of fabric and steam it onto one of the bag pieces.
Then, with coordinating thread, set your machine to a buttonhole length stitch and zig zag all the way around the puzzle piece.  There are a lot of curves, so take it slow and hand crank around the corners if needed.  You can also go around the edge with fabric puff paint instead if you don't want to sew it. 
Step 4) Attaching the Bias Tape
Take your piece of vinyl and sew the bias tape onto one of the long sides.  Make sure the wider side of the bias tape is underneath and the thinner side is on top.  That way you'll make sure to catch the bottom layer as you sew.
Now you have two bag pieces, one with an applique, and you have a vinyl piece with bias tape on one long side.

Step 5) The Zipper
Lay your zipper down on the right side edge of one of the bag pieces and pin.

Using a zipper foot, sew close to the zipper.
Then sew the other side of the zipper to the top of the other piece of bag, right side toward the zipper.
Pull the fabric pieces apart and top stitch along the zipper length.
Step 6) Closing up the Bag
Lay your piece of vinyl on the bag side without the puzzle piece.  Place the side with the bias tape below the zipper.  Line up the edges with the edge of your bag.
Fold at the zipper and sandwich the vinyl between the sides of the bag, right sides together, and pin close to the edge.  Sew down both sizes of the bag, being sure to catch the zipper at the top and to sew the vinyl in between.  Unzip the zipper.  Sew the bottom of the bag closed.  Trim the seam allowance and clip corners.
Zig zag stitch around the edge to prevent fraying, or use a serger.
Then turn your bag right side out through the zipper.  If you have snap pliers like I now do (yay!) then you can add a snap to the top of your vinyl pouch.  If you don't have snap pliers, you can sew on a snap or you can use Velcro as a closure.

Now put in your cut out picture and zip in all the puzzle pieces so your children won't lose them.

© 2011 You are welcome to link to this site and use a single image to link back to any post. All borrowed content must be linked back and properly credited. Republishing posts in their entirety is prohibited without permission.  This tutorial is my own design and is for personal, non-commercial use only.


  1. What a great idea. I bet this would reduce the amount of toddler-eaten pieces.