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With just a bit of vinyl and cotton, you can make a clever tag that IDs your bag. We created it in a larger size and bolder color to help you quickly spot your bags on the airport’s jam-packed luggage carousel. The exterior is Marine Vinyl, which is the perfect weight and comes in fun, bright colors. You want enough body to allow the tag to hold-up to the aggressive handling it must usually endure, but it can’t be too thick or the final edgestitching that secures all the layers will be hard to keep even and precise. We show you how to cut a little flap to cover up your personal information, and even provide a free download to print your own ID insert card. 

This luggage tag is so easy (and fun!), and takes such a little bit of fabric, you could set up your own assembly line and make tons of tags in an afternoon. They’d make great holiday gifts for the travelers on your list.

Our Luggage Tag finishes at approximately 5” wide x 4” high, which is several inches larger than most. This not only makes it easier to put together, it also makes it easier to spot the tag’s big blast of color. Your bag will stand out in a sea of lookalikes.

There is a bit of precision required in order for the layers to stack together evenly on all sides. Keep your cuts straight and true, and press your folds so they are sharp with crisp right angles. Take the time to re-press if the cotton lining layer is not exactly flush with the vinyl.

As mentioned in the supply list below, you’ll need an X-Acto knit or a mini box cutter to get a clean cut for the flap. With either option, make sure you have a new, sharp blade. We show you where and how to mark the cutting guidelines on the back of the vinyl.

We offer a free downloadable PDF file below to create your own fill-in-the-blank luggage tag insert. Or, simply use it as a template to make your own insert card with customized information – you could even just adhere a business card in place.

The clear-view vinyl window is glued in position. We used appliqué glue. Make sure to test your glue on a couple of scraps. Let it dry to insure the layers stay intact. If the glue you choose comes out as a beaded line, smooth it out so the layers sit flat against one another. You don’t want any kind of visible line or ridge.

We used a standard swivel clip to attach the tag. If you’d prefer additional security, look for a locking clip or a small locking carabiner.

Do you have a suggestion for a ScrapBusters Project? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or email your idea to info@sew4home.com.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Quantities shown are for ONE luggage tag.

  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of 44”+ wide lightweight to mid-weight vinyl or thin faux leather; we used Marine Vinyl, which is usually available in a number of vibrant colors – we found ours at fabric.com
    NOTE: As mentioned above, you do want the vinyl or faux leather to have some body, but since you have several layers, you don’t want it to be too stiff and thick or it will make the final stitching hard to accomplish.
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton; we used two Fat Quarters from our S4H stash, originally from the True Colors collections by FreeSpirit Fabrics; the pink is from Heather Bailey’s True Colors and the orange is from Anna Maria Horner’s True Colors. 
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of 20”+ wide clear craft vinyl; we used 6 gauge clear craft vinyl
  • ONE ¾” swivel clip or carabiner
  • Glue that will adhere the clear vinyl to the back of the top layer of vinyl/faux leather; we used an appliqué glue 
  • X-Acto knife or mini box cutter (with a new blade) to cut the flap
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Clips for working with faux leather and vinyl; we like Clover Wonder Clips
  • Straight pins

Getting Started and ID Card Download

NOTE: For the sharpest cuts, especially on the vinyls, we recommend a rotary cutter.

  1. From the Marine Vinyl or similar, cut the following:
    ONE 5½” wide x 4” high rectangle for the back exterior
    ONE 5” wide x 4” high rectangle for the top exterior
  2. From the cotton, cut the following:
    ONE 6” wide x 4½” high rectangle for the lining panel
    ONE 2” x 1½” strip for the swivel clip tab
  3. From the interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 5½” x 4” rectangle for the cotton panel
    ONE 2” x ½” strip for the swivel clip tab
  4. From the clear vinyl, cut ONE 4¼” x 3½” rectangle for the window.
  5. Below are the seven pieces that make up each tag.
  6. If you’d like, download and print out our free ID card insert.
    IMPORTANT: This file is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the sheet to insure your printout is to scale.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the layered back panel

  1. Find the 5½” x 4” vinyl back panel, the 6” x 4½” cotton panel, the 5½” x 4” interfacing panel, and the 2” strips of cotton and interfacing for the swivel clip tab.
  2. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the cotton panel so there is ¼” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all four sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Press back the cotton ¼” on all four sides, using the edge of the interfacing as your folding guide.
  4. Set aside the cotton panel.
  5. Find the 2” x 1½” strip for the swivel clip. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together,  so it is now 2” x ¾”. Press to set a center crease.
  6. Unfold and slip the interfacing into place so one edge of the interfacing is sitting along the center crease with ¼” of fabric extending beyond the interfacing at the opposite edge. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  7. Fold back and press the outer edge ¼” along the interfacing. Fold back and press the opposite raw edge ⅜” — just a bit deeper.
  8. Fold in half along the original center crease line. The two folded edges should be just barely off-set as shown in the photo below.
  9. Thread the machine with thread to best match the cotton in the top and bobbin and edgestitch along the inner fold to secure.
  10. Find the swivel clip. Loop the tab through the swivel’s ring, align the raw ends of the tab, and clip in place.
  11. Find the interfaced and pressed cotton panel. Measure to find the exact center along one 4” side. Mark this center point with a pin.
  12. Pin the swivel clip tab behind the panel at this center point. The tab should extend beyond the panel about ½”. Pin in place.
  13. Layer the cotton panel and the exterior vinyl panel wrong sides together. The two panels should be perfectly flush along all four sides. If they aren’t, adjust the the fold on the cotton panel until you have a perfect match.
  14. The end of the swivel clip tab in sandwiched between the layers. Clip in place all around.

Create the top window panel

  1. Find the 5” x 4” vinyl top panel and the 4¼” x 3½” clear vinyl panel.
  2. Flip the vinyl top panel so it is wrong side facing up.
  3. Using your ruler and a regular or fabric marker, draw in the cutting guide lines for the window flap. The 3½” wide x 2½” high flap is centered on the panel so there is ¾” all around. Remember, it’s a flap, so you are only cutting three sides.
  4. Using an X-Acto knife or a mini box cutter, very carefully cut out the flap.
  5. Run a bead of glue just outside the cut lines (apx. ⅛”) and across the top “hinge.”
  6. Center the clear vinyl over the flap. Gently “smoosh” the vinyl down into place so the bead of glue flattens out. You want the clear vinyl to lay right against the exterior vinyl.
  7. Set aside until the glue is completely dry.
  8. When dry, place the top panel right side up on the cotton side of the bottom panel. The illustration below shows you the final layering with all the measurements.
  9. Clip the layers in place all around.
  10. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior vinyl in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch. If possible attach an Edge Guide foot or similar. 
  11. Stitch around all four sides of the tag through all the layers, removing the clips as you go.
  12. Pivot sharply at each corner.
  13. And be especially slow and careful when stitch across the swivel clip tab.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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