I Spy Bags

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Relief Society planned an amazing Enrichment this month. They taught us how to do some fun craft projects. This was the class I chose to attend: I Spy Bags. I had never seen them before and thought they were such a cute idea. (However, everyone I have talked to knows all about them so apparently I am slow to join the I Spy Bags world.) I thought I would share the idea for anyone out there looking for fun Christmas presents or quiet Sacrament Meeting toys for their kids. Plus, it is a great way to put all those little objects that accumulate around your house to good use.

Makes: One 8-in x 8-in bag
Start to Finish: 2 hours


1 piece fabric 18-in x 9-in (If you use flannel it won't fray but it is stretchy so it adds an additional challenge when sewing. If you use a fabric that frays you will have to add an additional hem around the viewing window.)
1 bag poly pellets (A 2 lb. bag will fill approx. three 8-in x 8-in "I Spy" bags. Available in the doll-making section of Michael's or JoAnns)
20-25 assorted toys and items to find in the bag (I choose ones about the size of a quarter because I did not want them too hard for my little ones to find, if you have older children you may want to make it more challenging by making them smaller in size. Also, avoid anything with sharp enough edges to poke through the vinyl.)
1 small piece clear vinyl (a clear vinyl tablecloth from Wal-mart is a good place to start; or you can try JoAnns)
sewing machine
funnel and cookie sheet (optional)


1. Fold fabric in half making a 9-in x 9-in square
2. Cut a window in the center of one side of the fabric. (If you are using a fabric that frays you will have to hem the edges of the window, if you are using a flannel you can leave it as is)
3. Cut your clear vinyl much bigger than the window. (Vinyl is difficult to work with; give yourself a lot of wiggle room)
4. Lay vinyl on wrong side of window.
5. Pin vinyl to fabric outside of where you are going to sew. You do not want to put additional holes in the vinyl and fabric at the edge, where you will sew.
6. Sew around window opening, stitching vinyl and fabric together. (The vinyl tends to stick to the foot of your sewing machine and can ruin your bag. Some options around this problem: Don't lower the foot onto the vinyl when sewing, wet the vinyl with a damp sponge while sewing, cover with strip of masking tape and sew, or cover with tissue paper and sew. I found success with the masking tape technique.)
7. Make sure your stitches leave no openings for the pellets to sneak out of. Trim vinyl down so only 1/4" to 1/2" remains outside seam.
8. Turn bag so the wrong sides are together. Sew around all edges, leaving a small (2-3" opening for turning the bag right side out.
9. Turn fabric right side out. You should now have an empty bag with a small hole in the top.
10. Using the small hole in the top fill your bag with toys.
11. Next fill the bag with poly pellets as full as you want. (When you fill with poly pellets, I suggest using a funnel and pouring over a cookie sheet, because poly pellets make a huge mess when they spill.)
12. After your bag is filled, top-stitch around the edge, closing the hole and reinforcing the outer edge. (Make sure you really reinforce the edges and window of the bag. You do not want your child to accidentally get a bag open and swallow any of the little toys or beads inside. Design the bag properly so it can take the beatings little hands can dish out.)
13. Make a tag to attach to the bag that list the items to find inside. (I choose to take pictures of all my items hidden inside and use those as tags instead because my little ones wont be reading for some time.)


Brittany and Johnse said...

What a cute idea Amber! thanks for posting it! how much longer do you have until the new baby boy is born? are you due on christmas day?

Davianne said...

Those are cute! We did those a few years back too. When are you due? Do you guys know what you're having?

Amber said...

Our second little boy is supposed to come Christmas Day, but Van took his sweet time so I am not too hopeful. I really wish he would come sooner, I am very ready not to be pregnant anymore.

Melissa said...

Those are so cute. And you are not the only one who has never heard of them. I am not a handy chic, but I think I will give these a try. Trying to keep a 4 year old and a 1 year old happy in sacrament is a challenge!