May 8, 2007

The IKEA Diaper Baghack


I just heard today from diaperbagmaker to the stars Mia Bossi that blue is the new black:

“We know blue is going to be a big color this fall, so we wanted to incorporate it into the line—but also spice it up with some metallic options,” says designer Janet Lee. “After all, just because you’re carrying a diaper bag doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish!”
Amen to that. The Mia Bossi Maria Exotic Blue retails for $590. You can get it--or get on the waitlist, anyway--at Nordstrom, Barney's, A Pea in a Pod, or online at

But if some subtle, super-soft, blue python accents aren't quite blue enough for you, don't worry, Daddy Types's got you covered. A few months back, still high after my meeting with DT's color forecasters, I came across Bas's sweet DIY project, The IKEABagHack. ikeabaghack on flickr

With a couple of cuts and a couple of passes on the sewing machine, Bas transforms a comforter-sized blue IKEA bag into a laptop&magazine-sized blue IKEA bag that you could actually carry around somewhere besides the laundromat.

Bas's design involves cutting off a few inches of blue plastic material, which got me thinking: If you tweak the dimensions a bit, could you turn a single IKEA shopping bag into a diaper bag AND a matching changing pad?

Of course, I'm all talk, no walk [cf. geodesic playdome], and I couldn't quite map Bas's instructions onto his flickr pictures. Also, I don't sew, and we don't have a sewing machine, and anyway, I try to limit the cockamamie schemes I foist onto my wife to 3-4/year or so [number for entertainment purposes only, honey! non-binding!] so I emailed a bit with Bas and ended up buying one of the 50 numbered IKEABagHack bags he decided to produce himself, just to see how it's done.

Then a few weeks ago, when IKEA announced they would start charging customers for plastic bags and marked their blue bags down from 99 cents to 59 cents, I basically knew IKEA blue was going to be a big color for diaper bags this fall.

I still don't have a sewing machine, but I got as far as the sewing steps, and the outcome's pretty damn clear: with a couple of mods to Funk-Station's original instructions, you can hack a totally doable diaper bag and a perfectly sized, double layer changing pad out of an IKEA bag for under a buck and in less than 30 minutes.

I've posted a flickr photoset of the IKEA Diaper Bag Hack as a complement to Bas's original set and instructions [which become much clearer as soon as you actually take a bag apart].

59 Cent Diaper Bag from Ikea: Step 2, Changing Pad 1/2

The trick for getting a changing pad out of the deal is two-fold: 1) save the bottom of the bag, and 2) make sure you cut the extra material off the correct side when you fold the BagHack together. You should end up with a scrap that, coincidentally, is almost the exact dimensions of the bottom, which in turn is almost exactly the dimensions of most off-the-shelf changing pads.

After you pick apart the whole bag and fold it in half like Bas says, the key is to sew the one side of the BagHack bag along the side with open edges, making sure there's enough material to double back across the width of the straps. Then you sew the other side and the bottom down--going through all four layers--and cut off the excess material.

59 Cent Diaper Bag, from Ikea: Step 4
yes, that's my little helper, who doesn't see why we need
a changing pad in the first place.

This piece, from the other side, should be about 15" high--the full height of the BagHack Bag--and about 22" long, but folded in half. Combine it with the bottom to make the changing pad. If you're paranoid about the thinness, add a layer of padding of some kind, sew up 3.5 of the sides, then turn the whole thing inside out--and padding in--and close it up.

Before I knew that there'd be enough bag material to make the pad, I grabbed a couple of round foam placemats at IKEA and cemented them together. I'm not loving the results nearly as much as the tight concept of creating a pad using only the shopping bag itself.

Alternate Ikea Changing Pad: Eh.

Thoughts? Comments? Obvious problems that my sewing-ignorant mind can't even comprehend?

The IKEABagHack origins, instructions, and how-to photos []
There's no changing pad, but up to 25 more of you can get a numbered, signed BagHack bag for EUR27 for ex-EU shipping, EUR20 for EU. []
DT's IKEADiaperBagHack photoset [flickr]


If the changing pad/bag were to get, uh, soiled, would you really want to be carrying it around with you?

[? these bags would be easy to hose down or wipe clean, much more so than the fabric or nylon ones that come with regular diaper bags. we tried the Huggies disposable changing pads; it seemed like overkill. we never felt like changing pads were single use, like a kleenex or a toilet seat cover; more akin to a blanket. Diffrent strokes, I guess. -ed]

With a little tweaking, you can incorporate a divider with the extra material.

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