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How To Make A Toiletry Bag For TSA Screening


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ashely Margolis



When it comes to traveling, having the right essentials and accessories can truly enhance your journey. One essential item that every traveler needs is a toiletry bag. A well-designed and organized toiletry bag can make navigating through airport security a breeze, ensuring a stress-free travel experience.


However, with the strict TSA regulations in place, it’s important to ensure that your toiletry bag meets the necessary requirements for carry-on luggage. This article will guide you through the process of making a toiletry bag specifically designed for TSA screening. You’ll learn how to choose the right materials, cut and sew the fabric, create compartments, add a zipper, and attach handles or straps to make your bag convenient and functional.


Creating your own toiletry bag not only allows you to customize its size, design, and functionality, but it’s also a fun and rewarding DIY project. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your bag complies with TSA regulations, making your airport security checks hassle-free.


So, gather your materials and let’s get started on creating a practical and stylish toiletry bag that will make your travels a breeze!


Materials Needed

Before diving into the steps of making a TSA-friendly toiletry bag, let’s gather all the materials you’ll need for this DIY project:

  1. Fabric: Choose a durable fabric that is easy to clean. Nylon or canvas are good options. Select a pattern or color that reflects your personal style.
  2. Lining Fabric: You’ll need a lining fabric to give your toiletry bag a finished look. Opt for a lightweight fabric that complements your main fabric.
  3. Interfacing: Interfacing will add stiffness and structure to your bag. Look for a medium-weight interfacing that is compatible with your main fabric.
  4. Zipper: Choose a high-quality zipper that is at least the length of your bag’s opening. A zipper with double sliders can make accessing your items easier.
  5. Thread: Use a thread that matches or complements your fabric choice.
  6. Scissors: Sharp fabric scissors are essential for cutting your fabric accurately.
  7. Pins: Pins will hold your fabric together during the sewing process.
  8. Sewing Machine: A sewing machine will speed up the construction process, but you can also hand sew your bag if you prefer.
  9. Iron: An iron will help press your seams and give your finished bag a polished look.
  10. Measuring Tape or Ruler: Precise measurements are key to creating a well-fitting and functional bag.
  11. Optional Accessories: You may also want to consider adding handles, snaps, or other embellishments to personalize your toiletry bag.

Having these materials ready before you start will ensure a smooth and enjoyable sewing experience. Now that you have everything you need, let’s move on to the next step: choosing the right fabric for your toiletry bag.


Step 1: Choosing the Right Fabric

The first step in creating a TSA-friendly toiletry bag is choosing the right fabric. When selecting fabric for your bag, there are a few important factors to consider:

  1. Durability: Pick a fabric that is durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of travel. Nylon and canvas fabrics are excellent choices as they are known for their strength and longevity.
  2. Water-Resistant: Opt for a fabric that is water-resistant or can be easily treated with a water repellent spray. This will protect your toiletries from leaking or spilling and ensure the longevity of your bag.
  3. Ease of Cleaning: Look for a fabric that is easy to clean. Travel toiletry bags often come into contact with various substances, so choosing a fabric that can be wiped clean or machine washed will save you time and effort.
  4. Pattern and Color: Choose a fabric design that matches your personal style and preferences. Whether you prefer a bold pattern or a solid color, make sure it reflects your aesthetic and makes you happy every time you use it.
  5. Weight and Bulk: Consider the weight and bulk of the fabric. You want your toiletry bag to be compact and lightweight, making it easier to pack and carry. Avoid heavy, bulky fabrics that may take up unnecessary space in your luggage.

Once you have considered these factors, visit your local fabric store or browse online to find the perfect fabric for your toiletry bag. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from the store staff if you need help with fabric selection.


Now that you have chosen the right fabric for your toiletry bag, you are ready to move on to the next step: cutting the fabric.


Step 2: Cutting the Fabric

Now that you have selected the perfect fabric for your TSA-friendly toiletry bag, it’s time to cut the fabric to the appropriate dimensions. Follow these steps to ensure accurate cutting:

  1. Measurements: Take accurate measurements of the dimensions you want for your bag. Consider the size of your toiletry items and how much space you’ll need to comfortably fit them all.
  2. Main Body: Using your fabric scissors, cut two identical rectangles for the main body of the bag. These rectangles will serve as the front and back panels of your toiletry bag.
  3. Lining: Cut two identical rectangles from your lining fabric. These pieces will be sewn to the main fabric to create a finished interior for your bag.
  4. Interfacing: Cut two rectangles of interfacing that match the dimensions of your main fabric rectangles. These will provide structure and stability to your bag.
  5. Compartments: If you want to include compartments in your toiletry bag, measure and cut additional fabric strips to create dividers. These strips should be the desired width and height to create compartments that suit your needs.

Remember to double-check your measurements before cutting the fabric, as accuracy is crucial for a well-fitting and functional toiletry bag. If you are unsure, always start by cutting slightly larger pieces of fabric, as you can always trim them down later.


Once you have your fabric pieces cut to size, you are ready to move on to the next step: sewing the main body of the bag.


Step 3: Sewing the Main Body of the Bag

With the fabric pieces cut and ready, it’s time to sew the main body of your TSA-friendly toiletry bag. Follow these steps to sew the front and back panels together:

  1. Place the two main fabric rectangles right sides together, aligning the edges.
  2. Pin the edges together to hold the fabric in place while sewing.
  3. Using a sewing machine or hand stitching, sew along the sides and bottom of the fabric, leaving the top open. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  4. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches to secure them.
  5. Trim any excess fabric and clip the corners to reduce bulk and create clean corners when you turn the bag right side out.
  6. Repeat the same steps with the lining fabric, sewing the two rectangles together but leaving a 3-inch opening along the bottom for turning the bag right side out later.
  7. Press the seams open using an iron to create a smooth finish.

Ensure that your stitches are straight and secure, as this will contribute to the overall durability of your toiletry bag. If you prefer a neater appearance, you can finish the seam edges with a zigzag stitch or use a serger to prevent fraying.


With the main body of your bag sewn together, we can now move on to creating compartments for better organization. Let’s proceed to the next step.


Step 4: Making the Compartments

Having compartments in your toiletry bag can help keep your items organized and prevent them from shifting during travel. Here’s how you can create compartments for your TSA-friendly toiletry bag:

  1. Measurements: Determine the desired width and height of your compartments, keeping in mind the size and quantity of your toiletry items.
  2. Additional Fabric: Cut fabric strips to match the width and height measurements, ensuring that they are long enough to fit inside your main fabric panels.
  3. Placement: Decide on the location and number of compartments you want in your bag. Keep in mind that adding too many compartments may limit the flexibility of your bag.
  4. Sewing: Align the fabric strips with the desired placement inside the main fabric panels. Pin them in place.
  5. Sew along the edges of the fabric strips, attaching them securely to the main fabric. You can sew multiple vertical or horizontal lines to create smaller pockets within the compartments.
  6. Trim any excess fabric and press the seams open using an iron.

Creating compartments in your toiletry bag will help keep your items organized and easily accessible during your travels. It’s important to consider the size and number of compartments based on your specific needs. Remember to align the fabric strips carefully and sew them securely to ensure longevity and durability.


With the compartments in place, it’s time to add a zipper to your toiletry bag. This will provide easy access to your items while keeping them securely enclosed. Let’s move on to the next step.


Step 5: Adding a Zipper

Adding a zipper to your TSA-friendly toiletry bag is an essential step to ensure easy access to your items while keeping them securely enclosed. Follow these steps to add a zipper to your bag:

  1. Measurements: Measure the length of the opening of your bag and choose a zipper that is slightly longer than the measured length.
  2. Fabric Preparation: Cut two fabric pieces that are the same width as the bag’s opening and approximately 2 inches in height. These fabric pieces will serve as the zipper panels.
  3. Positioning: Align the zipper panels right sides down along each side of the bag’s opening. The top edges of the panels should be flush with the top edge of the bag.
  4. Pinning: Pin the zipper panels in place, ensuring that the zipper teeth align with the bag’s opening.
  5. Sewing: Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew along the pinned edges to attach the zipper panels to the bag’s opening.
  6. Zipper Installation: Open the zipper halfway and flip the bag inside out, with the lining fabric facing outwards.
  7. Sewing the Zipper: Fold the zipper panels towards the lining fabric and topstitch along the bag’s opening, securing the fabric and zipper in place.
  8. Trimming: Trim any excess fabric or zipper length, ensuring that the zipper opens and closes smoothly.

Adding a zipper to your toiletry bag not only enhances its functionality but also provides an extra layer of security and convenience during your travels. Take your time to ensure precise stitching and alignment for a neat and professional finish.


With the zipper securely in place, it’s time to move on to the next step: attaching handles or straps to your toiletry bag for easy carrying. Let’s proceed.


Step 6: Attaching Handles or Straps

Attaching handles or straps to your TSA-friendly toiletry bag will make it easy to carry and transport during your travels. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Handle/Strap Selection: Decide whether you want to attach handles or a shoulder strap to your bag, based on your personal preference and convenience.
  2. Fabric Preparation: Cut fabric strips for the handles or straps, ensuring they are long enough to comfortably fit over your shoulder or allow for easy carrying. You may also use pre-made handles or straps if desired.
  3. Positioning: Determine the desired placement of the handles or straps on your bag. Ideally, they should be positioned on the sides or top of the bag, depending on the style you prefer.
  4. Pin and Sew: Pin the ends of the fabric strips to the bag in the chosen position. Sew them securely in place, making sure the stitches are strong and reinforced.
  5. Testing: Test the strength and durability of the handles or straps by gently pulling or tugging on them. Make any necessary adjustments or reinforcement stitches as needed.

Attaching handles or straps to your toiletry bag will make it convenient and easy to carry during your travels. Be sure to choose durable fabric or pre-made handles that can withstand the weight of your toiletries and provide a comfortable grip.


With the addition of handles or straps, your toiletry bag is almost complete! In the next step, we will focus on the final touches and finishing details to give your bag a polished look.


Step 7: Final Touches and Finishing the Bag

At this stage, your TSA-friendly toiletry bag is almost complete. Follow these final steps to add the finishing touches and give your bag a polished look:

  1. Trimming: Trim any loose threads or excess fabric to tidy up the seams and edges of your bag.
  2. Turning the Bag Right Side Out: Carefully turn your bag right side out through the opening in the lining fabric. Use a pointed object, such as a chopstick, to gently push out the corners for a cleaner finish.
  3. Closing the Lining Opening: Hand stitch or use your sewing machine to close the opening in the lining fabric. Try to match the stitches with the existing stitching for a seamless finish.
  4. Pressing: Use an iron to press your bag, both on the exterior and interior. This will give it a polished and professional look, as well as help set the seams.
  5. Optional Embellishments: If desired, you can add personal touches or embellishments to your bag, such as decorative buttons, appliques, or patches. Be mindful not to add anything that may cause issues during airport security checks.
  6. Final Inspection: Carefully inspect your finished bag, checking for any loose threads, uneven stitching, or other imperfections. Make any necessary adjustments or repairs.

With these final touches, your DIY TSA-friendly toiletry bag is complete! Congratulations on creating a functional, stylish, and compliant travel essential. Your bag is ready to accompany you on your future journeys, ensuring that all your toiletries are organized, easily accessible, and compliant with TSA regulations.


Remember, you can always adjust the measurements, customize the design, and add personal touches to make your bag truly unique. Enjoy the satisfaction of using a handmade item that reflects your personal style and showcases your sewing skills!


Safe travels and happy packing!



Creating a TSA-friendly toiletry bag is a practical and rewarding DIY project for any traveler. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you were able to choose the right fabric, cut and sew the main body of the bag, create compartments, add a zipper, and attach handles or straps. These steps ensure that your toiletry bag meets the necessary requirements for TSA screening, making your airport security checks a breeze.


Designing and making your own toiletry bag allows you to customize its size, fabric, compartments, and additional features to suit your specific needs and personal style. Whether you prefer a compact bag with minimal compartments or a larger bag with multiple sections, you have the flexibility to create a toiletry bag that works best for you.


Not only does making your own toiletry bag allow for customization, but it also provides the satisfaction of a handmade item. You can take pride in the fact that you created a functional and fashionable accessory that meets TSA regulations and enhances your travel experience.


Remember to choose durable and water-resistant fabric, secure your compartments with precise stitching, and ensure your zipper and handles are properly attached. These small details contribute to the durability and longevity of your toiletry bag.


Now that you have completed your TSA-friendly toiletry bag, you can confidently and conveniently pack all your essentials for your next adventure. Enjoy stress-free travels, knowing that your toiletries are well-organized, easily accessible, and compliant with TSA guidelines.


Happy travels and safe journey!