How To Make A Tote Bag Centerpiece

Yesterday for Tablescape Thursday, I created a fun centerpiece using a freebie nautical tote I received recently with another purchase.

4th of July Nautical Table Setting Tablescape 04_wmm


Today I thought I’d share how it’s created in case you have a tote or bag you would like to incorporate into a centerpiece for a table or for any other decorative purpose. Depending on the type bag you use and what you decide to tuck inside, this centerpiece would work for almost any kind of event. Just let your imagination run!

Let’s take this centerpiece apart  to see how it’s put together. You’re going to love how easy it is to make!

Nautical Table Setting for 4th of July


Since bags are floppy by nature, I needed to add a few things in to give it some structure. I started by placing some heavy Restoration Hardware catalogs down into the bottom. I just got these in the mail a couple of weeks ago and haven’t had a chance to look at them. So they were still all bundled together in plastic and were perfect to create a heavy base for the centerpiece. Phone books or any large books would work just as well.

Next I stuffed paper around them to fill out the bag a bit.

4th of July Table Centerpiece Made From A Tote Bag


I placed a short, fat clay pot inside that I had filled with kitty litter. Kitty litter comes in handy for so many things. I think we could conquer the world with a little kitty litter and some duct tape! 😉

Oh, you know how most clay pots have a hole in the bottom? Before filling the pot with litter, I folded up a paper towel and placed it in the bottom over the hole so the kitty litter wouldn’t drain out.  (The little bit of litter you see inside the bag in the above photo happened when I was taking the centerpiece apart for these photos.)

Next I stuffed more paper all around the pot to help fill out the bag some more.

4th of July Table Centerpiece Made From A Tote Bag


You can see the paper better in this picture from when I took the arrangement apart. Any kind of wrapping paper would work for this. You could use newspaper but the newsprint may rub off on your bag, so be careful using newspaper.

4th of July Table Centerpiece Made From A Tote Bag


Remember this net I purchased a few months ago on the shopping trip when I couldn’t breathe and had to get out of the house? You can read about that in this post: Shopping For A Breath Of Fresh Air

Fishing Net Tablecloth_wm


I placed it on top to hide the kitty litter, letting some of the net spill out of the bag and down the front. The net I purchased came with a starfish tied to it. I’ve left it attached and it looked cute hanging down the font of the bag for my 4th of July table centerpiece.

So let’s recap. We have the heavy, large books on bottom, a fat, round clay pot filled with kitty litter on top of the books, paper stuffed around the books and the pot to fill out the bag and the net casually spread across the top of the pot.

4th of July Table Centerpiece Made From A Tote Bag


Next I began poking the flags and pinwheels down through the net into the kitty litter hidden underneath. After I had them arranged the way I wanted, I threw some rope (left over from this beach lantern project) on top, weaving it around the stems of the flags and pinwheels to give the arrangement more interest and depth. The bare stems of the flags and pinwheels just looked a little boring coming up out of the netting so the rope helped with that.

4th of July Nautical Table Setting Tablescape 08_wm


So that’s it, easiest centerpiece in the world! With a bag, a clay pot, some scrap paper and a little kitty litter, you could make just about any centerpiece you can dream up. Instead of a net, you could tuck moss, shells or confetti streamers around the top to camouflage the kitty litter beneath.

Nautical Table Setting for 4th of July


Okay, time to get back to the 4th of July festivities! Hope you are having an awesome 4th!

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  1. Susan, this is very clever and very festive. It makes a perfect centerpiece for your summer patriotic table.
    Happy 4th to you!

  2. I love it Susan….going to have to be on the lookout for that great netting at HomeGoods!…a spectacular table for the 4th!!!…Have a wonderful and safe day!!!…and thanks for the great tips!!!

    • Thanks, Shirley! Be sure and smell the netting before you buy it. I bought some in Michaels one year and it smelled so awful, I had to return it. It said something on the package about it being authentic fish netting…and boy it did it smell like it! Like rotten fish!

  3. Well, naturally I had to run to the store to get my bag like this one, and, ironically, I have my RH catalogs still wrapped just as yours were. Kitty litter? Check. Paper? Check. Pot? Probably somewhere around here. No pinwheels, flags, netting, or rope. Oops! No matter. I’ll just enjoy looking at yours. You have amazing talent, Susan. I even told the ladies in the store about your centerpiece with their bag.

    • Oh, Daphne…so glad you got one! I think I found the pinwheels and flag in Big Lots or Dollar Tree. It’s been a few years now, so hard to remember. Thanks for sharing the centerpiece with the ladies! I can see their faces now…”She did WHAT with our bag?!” 😉

  4. Thanks for the tips and techniques but also giving the reasons (rope and netting to hide something) is even more helpful for future projects.
    Happy 4th with clear skies!

  5. I love this. Happy 4th. Laura

  6. Peggy Thal says

    Looks wonderful! You are always so clever Susan. Beautiful table. Happy 4th of July!!

  7. Wow!! Love the table setting and centerpiece. Happy 4th of July!

  8. Susan,
    Great tip of using an old telephone directory as a base and an anchor for this floral centerpiece!!!
    Love the use of flags and pinwheels. . .memories of my childhood!!!
    Thanks for sharing, dear friend!!!
    Happy Fourth of July!!!

  9. Susan,
    You could be a party planner!
    Hope you enjoyed the Fourth!

  10. Susan,As always you make the holidays so special,you are just soooooo Creative!!!!! Where did you find the cute bag at?I would love to get one to go with my son’s nautical theme.Too cute.Take care and enjoy our beautiful Georgia weather this weekend.All of my purrbabies send their meows also.Vicki from Lawrenceville.

  11. So clever. Love your centerpiece. HAPPY 4TH!

  12. What a great, festive centerpiece!!! And yes, we could engineer an empire using kitty litter and duct tape LOL. :0)

  13. I don’t think I will ever look at a tote bag in the same way again. Thanks for this great idea and helpful tutorial. This would NEVER have occurred to me. Now when I see a tote bag that I like, but figure I will have absolutely no use for, I’ll think again.

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