i spy bag tutorial

so. here’s how i made Sadie’s I Spy bag! it’s so easy. the hardest part is finding stuff to fill it with!

for those of you in the bay area, i found a lot of my trinkets at affordable treasures in Los Gatos. the rest i found around the house, or in my scrapbook stash.

Click below for more!

you’ll need:

clear vinyl
plastic pellets
trinkets to fill it with
and…the regular cast of sewing stuff: machine, thread, scissors, rotary cutter…

first, cut out two pieces of your fleece and one piece of vinyl. I cut mine to be about 11×11 inches.

find something circular to trace around for the opening. make sure it’s big enough to see the trinkets through when it’s finished! trace your circle on the wrong side of your fleece with a disappearing ink pen.

sew around your mark, through the vinyl AND fleece…in the picture below you can see i did one straight stitch, and one zig zag. for looks mostly…

now take some sharp scissors and cut around the inside of the stitches on the fleece side, staying as even as possible around the edge. (not wonky like i did)

before sewing your pieces together, if you want to sew the paper with the items on it INTO your back piece, now would be the time. i printed mine off to the size card stock I wanted, and sewed it underneath a piece of vinyl. easy peasy! I’ve also seen people laminate the cards and sew it to a ribbon attached to the bag.

so back to the bag:

now would be the time to straighten up any edges that became uneven with your rotary cutter.

pin together on three sides…and sew the pieces together with a zig zag stitch about 1/4-1/2 inch from the edge.

fill with your goodies and plastic pellets (a few cups worked well for this size, but I didn’t really measure), and pin and sew the fourth side together, making sure your stitches meet at the corners nice and tight so you don’t have any gaps for pellets to leak out! Trim down your vinyl on the edges as close as you can, or cut around the circle before sewing together to eliminate stiffness on the front. I probably would have done that if I had thought of it…but I’m too lazy to undo the stitches.

now, hand over to a child and watch the fun begin!

let me know if you have any questions!

featured here on craft gossip!

***If you have used any of my tutorials, I’d love if you’d add a quick pic to my flicker group! Thanks!***


  1. This is great! I love your idea to just sew the list to the back of the bag under some vinyl. I haven’t seen that before, but it makes so much sense! Oh, and just a quick question: where do you buy the plastic pellets?

  2. I am lucky and my husband works for a company that machines plastic parts, so they have a lot of spare plastic sitting around…I got mine for free 😀 GOod luck finding it though!

  3. I love these little games!! Great tutorial!

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  4. Ohmygosh! That’s the cutest idea ever. I have a nephew who is turning one in a couple months. This will make the best birthday present for him.

  5. This is really cool! I’m thinking this would be a great ‘sibling’ gift. Whenever I make something for a baby if they have brothers or sisters I like to have something for them to. This is perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I made these for a R.S. activity! It was a HUGE success!! I didn’t add the list of what’s inside and I only included trinkets that were washable….just in case! 🙂 But Affordable Treasure or Oriental Trading are great resources for “stuff”.

  7. That is so adorable! I’ve never heard of playing I Spy this way, but I absolutely LOVE it!! Thanks for sharing!

    – missimagination.com

  8. his is a great tutorial. Great idea sewing the list on. As ours has been lost for quite a while.

  9. Ha! I made two of these. One for my nephew and one for a neighbor boy for his birthday. Now the mother of a little girl I watch wants one for her nephew. I told her get the materials and I will whip up one for her.

    Great idea thanks for sharing. I try and remember to post a photo and a plug for your blog on my blog.

  10. This is so cute! I never would have thought of that. I have it featured on my sidebar today!

  11. What a great idea! Love it!

  12. Does anybody have any idea where to buy/get these little plastic pellets? I’ve looked at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, etc, and cannot find them anyplace. And I have no idea how to look for them online… plastic jimmies does not come up with results, lol, that are useful.


  13. Sorry Heather, I have no idea where to find them online either! I got mine from my father in law who works with plastic. Good luck!

  14. Found some advice through google. Try ‘plastic pellets.’ Amazon sells them as doll filling and apparently people have gotten them from Michael’s and Wal-Mart in the past (based one their comments!).

    This craft looks great. Filing it away for a community service project for me Girl Scout Troop- maybe gift to the women’s shelter or Foster Program! Thanks for sharing!

  15. This is a great tutorial. I have several friends that are having babies here soon, and this is a fantastic sibling gift! Thanks for the tutorial. 🙂


  16. I have an idea for the pellets- use the pellets in Beanie babies! One beanie baby has almosty one cup of pellets in it! They are readily available. Have fun!

  17. I was going to suggest for finding plastic pellets (cheap) is to go to the thrift store and feel all the stuffed animal – the ones that feel ‘sand-baggy’ where you can almost feel the pebbles almost always have the plastic pellets in them.

  18. CHerie-brilliant! what a great way to get pellets-and for cheap, I’m sure!

  19. now THAT is a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that… DUH. And right after I found them at hobby lobby, too (after two years of waiting and refusing to pay twice as much for shipping on amazon, lol…) Then again, it’s not like I actually opened to packages yet!! Natty stuffed animals, here I coooome! (lol, I’m SO embarrassed that didn’t even occur to me, really. Beanie Baby Sacrifice sounds like a great name for a rock band, too.)-Heather, who asked previously where to find them posting under different email account.

  20. My child love these little games!! Great tutorial! :):)

  21. for those of you having trouble finding the plastic pellets, why not use white rice or some other suitable item from the bulk food bins at your local grocery store? i have a meal to deliver to a friend tomorrow and i think i’ll try and whip one of these together as a sibling gift.

  22. Very cool! Thanks – this will keep my kiddos busy in the car or other places… I could even add little drawings to the list of items so reading won’t be necessary! 🙂

  23. Anonymous says

    I’m wondering if long grain white rice would work. Has anyone tried that?

  24. I was also thinking of using rice…

  25. I was also thinking of using rice…

  26. I was also thinking of using rice…

  27. I was also thinking of using rice…

  28. I was also thinking of using rice…

  29. I was also thinking of using rice…

  30. I was also thinking of using rice…

  31. Wow! I saw some of these at a craft show once, but didn’t realize they were so simple to make!

    We only had one experience where my mom got one for my nephew and my brother wanted a toy that was inside and he decided to cut it open when no one was paying attention 🙁

  32. FYI – I found the plastic pellets at Hancock Fabrics today. $2.39 for 8 ounces, which looks to be about 1 1/2 cups, if that is any help…

  33. Great tut! My girl is almost two, is she to old for this? Haven´t seen someting like this before (in Sweden).

  34. I would not use rice. One of the reasons is that it would absorb water for one if you had to wash it. i would think that it would cause lots of condensation within the bag. i would use the poly pellets. They seem to work the best and this way you can wash it if it gets dirty. I have made one of these the only difference is that I made the window bigger. It makes a great sensory tool. Another idea is making it for older children and asking them to write a list of the things they find in it!

  35. This is such a cute idea! I was just wondering how safe the plastic pellets are if a seam should rip open? I really want to make some of these for my grandchildren, but want to make sure there are no safety issues.

    • I would suggest sewing around it a second time if that’s a concern for you! 🙂 ours are still going strong and get tossed around our house and I haven’t had a seam pop yet!

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