A DIY Upcycled Tote Bag (because my dog needs stuff, too)

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Purina-beyond DIY-Upcycled-Tote-Bag

I’m so excited about this adorable tote bag that I made and filled with necessities and treats to keep my baby healthy and happy when she is on “vacation”, and I can’t wait to share with you how I made it and why!

Tote-bag-tutorial Purina-snacks

She is affectionate, snuggly, persistent and highly energetic.  And spoiled. VERY spoiled, my third “child”.

Not my daughter: my dog.


So when it’s time to take her to the kennel (the “puppy hotel”, as we call it), I make sure that she is happy and healthy, and this includes making sure that she is eating right and feeling safe and secure.

Kennel packing checklist

I always send my own food, because kennel stays are stressful enough without a change in diet. I also send in her favorite treats for the same reason. I’m fussy about her food – I try to keep her food as grain-free as possible and without artificial colors or preservatives – let’s face it, if you ate only two or three kinds of food for weeks at a time, wouldn’t you want foods that are as healthy as you could get?

Keeping a current photocopy of her vaccination history in the bag at all times means that I’m not scrambling for it at the last-minute – even though they should have it on file, this way I know I’m covered.  And of course, the kennel is NOT home, so she’s always taken her blanket (yes, my ridiculous dog has a blanket in her crate…and on my sofa) so the familiar smell can comfort her.

When I pack her food, I count out sandwich bags for each meal she’ll have (adding one for emergencies), write her name on each bag, and then measure out each serving into sandwich bag; all the individual bags go into a larger storage bag with her name on it. It makes it easier on the kennel staff and I don’t worry about her being over- or under-fed, and the staff has appreciated the few extra minutes I spend doing this (and I have peace of mind).

I do the same with her treats for bedtime, carefully measuring out what she can have over the course of her stay. As much possible, I actually put the measured amount back into the original packaging when I send it in so they know what they are feeding her and as a resource for how much.


Her favorite treats right now are Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken Cutlets snacks. I’m pretty impressed with the Purina Beyond dog snack line because chicken is the primary ingredient (and those cutlets really do look like chicken), they are grain-free, poultry by-product meal free AND there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. I’m also happy to see that they are made right here in the USA (in Arkansas) in small batches, so I can be confident about what’s going into them.



I buy them at Target and there is a Cartwheel offer for 10% off Purina Beyond Dog Snacks available from 10/4 – 10/31, if you’d like to try something for your dog that you can feel happy and confident about giving them. You can find them in the aisle with dog treats!


So paperwork, blanket, food and snacks – that’s a lot to haul to the kennel.

I needed something to carry it all and my kennel’s request for a photo of her for their files made a little lightbulb go off over my head! I’ll put her picture on her kennel bag!

It was super easy to do – let me show you how! I decided to upcycle an older tote bag that I had, but it had printing on it already and I would need to cover it up, so I grabbed an old t-shirt.


Cut off the unprinted portion of the shirt. (The top went to my cleaning rag pile. No waste!)



Cut a piece of t-shirt big enough to cover your design. Cover the reverse side of the fabric with iron-on fusing web. Press down gently to let the web kind of grab on to the fabric, then quickly but carefully turn it over to cover the design. Check that the pieces along the edge are close and in place. Using a hot iron (no steam) and starting from the center, carefully iron the fabric to adhere the webbing. This will only take about 15 seconds.


Let the tote bag cool.

For the next step, you need T-shirt transfers, which can be found at Target.

Now, you can be organized and design your iron-on before you start, or you can wait (like me) until you have a better idea of how big a picture you need. I decided that a collage would be the easiest to make in the right size, and took only a few minutes. Since she always has a ball in her mouth, well, that made the photo selection obvious. I added her name to the photo so I didn’t have to put it elsewhere on the tote!


Now, here is an important design tip: READ the instructions on your iron-on transfer. I thought this was the kind that you had to reverse the image (as shown below). In this case, I actually wasn’t supposed to (as above).  This is also why it’s important to do a test print on regular paper (and in black and white) so you don’t waste transfer paper or ink.

To get the right size, I actually eyeballed a sheet of printer paper against the cut out area and compared it to the print preview – it was pretty close to what I needed so I changed the layout from portrait to landscape (so it would print larger) and then actually reduced it just a bit. In all honesty, the sizing was most time-consuming part, and that only took about 10 minutes, because I’m fussy.



Once you’ve printed your design, trim it to the size you need before starting the transfer. Center it on the fabric.

Then stop and double-check the instructions on your transfer paper. The paper that requires a mirror image usually allows you to iron directly on the back of the paper. The paper that allows you to print the image as it appears will usually have a film you peel off, and then you need to cover it with the parchment paper provided (so you don’t gunk up your iron.)

Starting at the center and working out, gently but firmly iron the transfer in place. Remove the top paper according to the directions on your transfer. Let it cool.

I decided I wanted to jazz mine up a bit more (because my dog really cares) so I sewed a few buttons on the edge, and it was ready it use!


My kiddo now wants her own tote bag for her library books – good thing I picked up extra blank totes while at Target, along with more t-shirt photo transfer paper.  The kennel has commented on how much they love this photo of her because she really does always have a ball in her mouth, and that they appreciate keeping snacks and food for meals ready for them.

And I know that Macy looks forward to bedtime, when she gets her Purina Beyond snacks. Can you tell?

How would you make Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken Cutlets (and the Purina Beyond Jerky Strips, too) part of your dog’s healthier lifestyle?





  1. That is such a cool idea! I love it, Jenn. And I can see Macy does, too. So creative!

  2. What a nifty idea, Jenn!! I didn’t know you were so crafty!

  3. I really do love this DIY! I have always wondered how to transfer images onto bags! #client

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