DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Water Bottle Tote

by Maxwell Tielman

Over the last five years or so, it seems that the world has become totally and completely inundated with… water bottles. Probably due to a combination of people becoming more environmentally and health conscious, water bottles—whether they be plastic, metal, or glass—seem to be filling retail space lately. This is probably a good thing. I am totally, 100% in favor of people making healthier, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly drinking choices. My only gripe with the surplus of water bottles in the market is that, despite the massive number out there, none of them seems quite right. I’m not a huge fan of plastic as a material. And metal, with its somewhat peculiar taste, isn’t that much better. I’m also not too keen on the myriad of ways companies have taken to over-designing their bottles—from overly ornate surface embellishment to logos emblazoned boldly across much of their surface area. I know—I’m being ridiculous. It’s just a water bottle after all. I’ll take that. Still—I was curious why nobody could make a beautiful, simple portable water vessel made from glass.

And that’s when I realized— people have been making bottles like this. Forever. I don’t know what it took so long for me to come to this conclusion, but glass water bottles, like those used for Perrier and San Pellegrino, were exactly what I was looking for. They’re simple, timeless, beautiful, and still relatively durable. The only slight, slight downside is the fact that glass, by nature, isn’t great to hold for long periods of time. It also collects condensation, something that isn’t great if you’re planning on tucking your bottle into your purse in the summer.

So. I decided recently to create a quick, easy DIY project that would solve this tiny water bottle obsession I have: a canvas bottle tote! The following project is remarkably cheap and easy to make and it helps to add a small touch of personalization to a classic bottle design. Check out the full directions and more photos after the jump! —Max


  • Sewing Machine with zigzag capability
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing needles


  • Glass water bottle of any size
  • Canvas or canvas dropcloth (available at most hardware stores in the painting section)
  • Thread


There are 3 separate components that make up the overall tote design: A shaft, a bottom ribbon, and a handle.

1) Measure the circumference and height of your water bottle up to where its neck begins.

2) Cut a rectangle that are roughly the dimensions measured in step 1, adding about an inch extra to the circumference measurement. This will be the shaft of your tote.

3) Fold about an inch of the canvas over on both the top and bottom of your rectangle. With your sewing machine, create a hem by sewing each of these folds down.

4) After wrapping your rectangle around your water bottle to determine how tightly to sew, place either side of your rectangle together and stitch, inside-out, the entire height of your tote sleeve. The shaft is now completely sewn.

5) Cut another piece of canvas out, this one about 4 inches by 6 inches. This will be the fabric used for the bottom of your tote.

6) Sew the sides of the long side of this rectangle together with your sewing machine. Then, turn this newly constructed tube inside out.

7) Hand sew one side of this tube, flattened out, to the inside of your tote’s shaft using a standard whip stitch.

8) Place your bottle inside the shaft to fill it out completely and bring the bottom fabric across the bottom of your bottle to determine where to trim off any excess material.

9) Hand stitch the other side of the bottom ribbon to the opposite side of the shaft.

10) Lastly, create a handle by cutting out a thin, 4-foot strip from the canvas dropcloth’s hem or selvedge. Reinforce it with a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine and then sew it, the same way as the bottom, to the top of your tote.

11) BOOM! Done! That’s it! Now go get your water bottle swag on!

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  • I was looking for a good pattern for a bottle holder/tote. I have never seen one with a bottom like this one. It seems so much easier than others with full, round bottoms.
    I shall try this pattern for my kid’s stainless steel water bottle! Simple and practical, my type of sewing project.
    Thank you.

  • Why not sew the bottom of the tube together. Fit the bottle into the tube. Fold two extra corners toward the center of the bottle’s bottom. Hand-stick the corners to form a square-shape bottom. You’ll have a square bottom tube that would fit your round bottle perfectly without the extra step of making the bottom ribbon.

  • I love this! I always hate carrying ANYTHING, but can’t stand not having water for hiking trips or walks in the park! Thanks for sharing!

  • Water in glass bottles environementally concious? Not if you’re buying water imported in glass bottles from ITALY! I once as a teenager made the mistake of buying San Pellegrino because it was on sale and my father rightfully pointed out how unenvironementally unconcious it was to not buy local mineral water (also, the best choice for the environement is drinking tap water. Which we do 95% of the time). And we’re in Switzerland, Italy is our neighbour! Buying San Pellegrino in the US- is there really no decent water on the whole American continent? Also, Pellegrino belongs to Nestlé- calling any Nestlé water anything near environementally or otherwise concious, even without the transport included, is delousional. Environemtal groups accused them of “greenwashing” after Nestlé claimed that their bottled water was somehow “green”, not to mention all the ethical problems with their water business.

    • Lena— you make many valid points! I’m not sure how clear this was in my original article, but the purpose of the San Pellegrino bottle is to be refilled with tap water. I chose the bottle, though, because I like its simple, beautiful design. I’m don’t condone re-purchasing a new bottle of water every time you want to use the tote! That would be environmentally harmful.

  • I think leaving the bottom ribboned instead of sewing it solid will make it easier to fit the bottle into the holder. Granted, canvas is porous, but I still think you’d have some air buildup as you slide the bottle into the holder.