3 screen printed drawstring bags with sheep, pig and tractor

Making Drawstring Bags

I’m a great fan of GiveWraps as it seems more sensible to use endlessly recyclable fabric for wrapping gifts instead of single use paper. However, as I can wrap a square box with paper and make it look like a football, I sometimes struggle to make GiveWraps tie up neatly and keep the contents enclosed. So, when I’m wrapping awkward shapes or multiple things inside one package, I’ve realised that it’s much easier to make a simple drawstring bag.

Screen printed tractor and wheat field on hand made drawstring bag

The other advantage to using a drawstring bag for wrapping gifts is that there are so many other uses it can be put to once the gift has been unwrapped. It can be used a shoe bag when packing a suitcase or for keeping socks and underwear organised; toys and books can be tidied away into drawstring bags and hung on pegs; large drawstring bags make good laundry bags and small ones can store balls of yarn. Or they can simply be reused as GiveWraps.

Screen printed jolly sheep and green field on drawstring bag

It’s always fun to personalise a bag or GiveWrap to suit the occasion or person and a wonderful excuse for screen printing. As the most recent drawstring bags I made were for young children, it seemed an ideal opportunity to use some of the Farmyard Collection of Ready to Print Mini Screens. The screens are ready prepared with a design, so it’s very simple to just pour on a little ink and use a squeegee to push the ink through the screen and make the screen print.


If you’d like to print the fabric for your own drawstring bags, you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of calico (or cotton fabric) each 30 x 40 cms
  • Mini Screens from Slamseys
  • Textile Ink
  • Small squeegee

I used unbleached calico as it’s fairly robust and a plain surface to print onto, but you can use any cotton fabric. Wash the fabric to remove any residues from the manufacturing process and then iron it so that you’re printing onto a flat surface. I find it easiest to cut out the fabric to size first but you may prefer to print your design and then cut to size.

Lay your fabric on a flat surface and decide where to print the first design, taking into account the areas lost to seams and the channel for the drawstring. Lay your screen onto the fabric, pour on the ink and use the squeegee to push the ink through the screen. Read these more detailed instructions for more information.

Print the first design and let it dry before printing the second colour. The ink doesn’t take long to dry and it’s better not to put a screen onto wet ink and smudge it.


Leave the fabric overnight to make sure the ink is completely dry before you sew up the bag. All you need to do is sew around three sides, sew a channel for the drawstring across the top and thread your ribbon through. There are some very easy instructions here that include a simple gusset in the base.

How to Use Mini Screens

What are Ready to Print Mini Screens

Make a Simple Drawstring Bag Instructions

Buy Ready to Print Mini Screens from Slamseys


Screen Printing

4 thoughts on “Making Drawstring Bags

  1. I’m very thrilled to read that you’re still promoting the GiveWraps message, Anne. But I am very taken with your drawstring bags, and have decided they will definitely be my pre-Christmas project. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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