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Easy Reflective Crossbody Tote Bag

Meghan Quinones |


Be seen during the evening and night hours with this easy reflective crossbody tote bag!

When the seasons change, so does the sunset and sunrise.  As Summer turns to Fall the days become shorter and the sun goes down sooner.  It seems to take even longer in the morning for the sun to come up making darkness a more frequent occurrence.  If you are someone who heads out in the early morning, or comes home when the sun goes down, you need this easy crossbody tote bag!


Heading out when it’s dark at night can make it hard to be seen, especially if you are commuting to and from work via public transportation, walking from class back to your dorm or apartment.  In order to be seen adding a simple strip of reflective tape to a tote bag allows you to be seen instantly.  Iron-on reflective tape is a great option to clearly mark areas or objects, especially canvas tote bags providing a reflective light that is cast off the tape.  It’s such a simple solution to update a canvas tote bag in a snap.  Not only does the reflective tape add a nice touch to the tote bag, but it also turns it into an instant safety item. 


If you’ve never updated a tote bag before, this is a great project to start with since it’s perfect for beginners.  It requires only a few supplies that most people already have on hand.  With a snip here and there and some heat from an iron, you can have a reflective tote bag in minutes! Check out the video tutorial below to see how quicky and easily this reflective crossbody tote bag came together!




Step 1: To get started its recommended that you wash and clean your bag before ironing on the reflective tape.  This will remove any sizing and will help the adhesive to stick better to your tote bag. 


Step 2: After you wash and dry your tote bag, lay it down on your ironing board or mat.  Flip the reflective tape over and remove the liner from the back. 


Step 3: Place the reflective tape over the tote bag, from end to end to see how long the piece will be to cover the front.


Step 4: Allow a little bit of the tape to hang off of both ends.  Then, use a pencil to mark the reflective tape so you know where to cut it.


Step 5: After you mark your reflective tape, use your scissors to cut it.


Step 6: Next, set your iron to the cotton setting (or 315 degrees) and heat the bottom of the bag for 15 seconds.  Move your iron over to heat the other side of the tote bag.


Step 7: Place the reflective tape towards the bottom of the tote bag, making sure to smooth out it so there are no lumps and bumps.  I placed my iron in the center of the tape to help keep it in place.  Then, heat the tape for 30 seconds.


Step 8: After you heat the center, move the iron over to the right to heat the other side of the tote bag.  If you need to, place a piece of paper towel or a Teflon sheet under the excess reflective tape to make sure it doesn’t adhere to the ironing pad or mat.


Step 9: Let the tote bag cool and then use your scissors to trim off the excess reflective tape.  Be sure while cutting not to cut your tote bag.  I find it easier to flip the bag over so you can see exactly where you’re cutting to avoid the bag.


The reflective stripe on this tote bag is a very simple design.  You could get really creative by adding multiple stripes of reflective tape, placing them down in different directions, like diagonal.   In order to preserve this tote bag, you’ll want to manually wash the bag.  You’ll want to just wipe away any dirt with a cloth and let it air dry.  This will keep the tote bag looking like new and will keep the adhesive nice and adhered.