Thursday, April 25, 2019

d.i.y.: feed sack grooming tote cover

Guilty admission: I have a messy grooming tote. I do not wash my brushes very frequently. Crumbs, mud, pieces of dead carrot and dirty hoof picks abound. Purple-stained leather gloves, bottles of stuff and spray and random tools get unceremoniously shoved in. Every few months it gets overwhelming, and I toss a few things back into the storage box, and hose the tote out. That is pretty much all the cleaning it has gotten for 15 years.

and this is cleaned out…

But I like THIS tote. My friend C got it for me as a gift when I got my first horse. It is not orange, but it is useful and does not need to be replaced. But if I could cover the mess…

I saw some covers you could buy and others you can sew (totally not going to happen), so I made one up (I'm sure I'm not original) and here is a basic guide.

tools needed, just add tote!

Materials needed:
Feed sack (the plastic-coated kind, not paper)
sturdy tape (like duct tape, colors help!)
not necessary but could be helpful: utility/hobby knife and glue

The trickiest part of this is the measuring and figuring. My feed sack (Major only eats one thing that comes in a bag), when opened and torn parts trimmed, measured 25x30. My tote, across the top area, is 13.5x17.5 and the handle is 9x2. You need to figure in the "drop" down the sides, and mine came out at 5.5 each side, (because that would fit on the sack!) (Larger sack would mean you could make the drop larger, but honestly, this has been working fine.). The second tote I made I got smarter: I made a basic template and traced it. Do what works for you.

measure and draw lines
or use this basic template (if you have the same tote)
and trace into position on bag (I wanted the horse on the bag to be in a certain position on this one)

Draw all the lines needed on the back side of your sack. Measure twice (or three times!) then you can cut. Do the handle first: cut a double Y cut, crease and fold back, and tape the edges.

how to make the handle cut

clear duct tape is otherwise useless, good for this project though!

Now the sides. Crease the lines really well, back and forth until the fold holds (an old credit card works well for this). Now here it would help to have a helper, (and that is why there are no photos) but fold one edge in and the other up to create the corner. Tape on the inside (so if it is ugly it doesn't matter!). I also tried glue, but it didn't really work and don't recommend.

inside after rough taping

Then you can clean it up a little. Put the tape nicely along the inside corners, along the bottom edge, handle edge, etc. I got "fancy" and did that part with my colored duct tape!

completed tote cover!

Cover created! It took about an hour, but half of that was measuring and trying to take photos in my dark living room (sorry!). It might not be the prettiest, but it works!

Where are my treats? Can I lift this off?

I could see at certain busier barns this might help with "borrowing" of stuff, as an added deterrent. Major gave it a thorough inspection and as long as treats can still be provided, gave it his approval. I know all of you have sparkling clean grooming totes with perfect brushes, but if you still want to make one, have fun!

This is the second one I made, because I am vain and liked the design better of a bag I found in the trash


  1. What an excellent project! My tack room is super dusty - a cover for my grooming storage is just the ticket. Then I can store my new custom shedding blade appropriately! :D

  2. If only....please come visit and see what the Germans use. I'm sure they consider me the hick from the PNW with the lumberjack tool kit full of horse brushes (Ami style -- yours, I've had it 20 years now). Germans keep their grooming totes in.....totes. I think that's nasty cuz I rarely clean my kit and that can get rank.

    I love your personalization idea, though.

    In Germany every boarder keeps their tack and tools in an individual locker that does little to prevent mold or keep out mice. Ok just come for a vist and see, I'll tour you around.

    1. ick, a tote with a top would get so gross for me! Maybe they are better at being neat and organized, I'm not! I'm now going to call mine the lumberjack kit! ha! 8-)

  3. Such a nice tote...!