Operation Christmas Child: Drawstring Bandana Backpacks

Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes full of gifts to needy children in other countries.  Each child gets one shoebox and in it they will find many surprises, including hygiene items, clothing, toys, and school supplies.  The idea is to fit a bunch of things into each box for each child.

Our church packs a bunch of boxes each year and this year our kids decided to make 100 Drawstring Bandana Backpacks to go in the boxes.  They fund-raised for the supplies and then spent many hours over the last couple of months sewing and assembling the backpacks.


These Drawstring Bandana Backpacks are perfect for these boxes because they fold up nice and small, the kids who receive them can use them to hold their other shoebox items, they can be made in a large variety of colors to suit boys or girls, and they are suitable for a large range of ages.  Everyone would love a backpack!


Supplies (for 1 backpack):

  • 2 matching bandanas
  • 104 inches of heat-fusible Craft Cord (cut into two 52-inch long pieces) – we used “Bonnie Craft Cord”
  • 8 inches of nylon webbing (cut into two 4-inch strips)
  • Thread, sewing machine, candle, plyers, matches, botkin

Fold down 1 1/2 inches along top of each bandana, wrong sides together.  Iron in place.  Sew along edge to create a casing.


Lay two bandanas right sides together with casings on the same edge.  The casings make the top edge of the backpack.


Take 4-inch piece of nylon webbing, fold it in half, and insert it in between the two bandanas, 1 1/2 inches from the bottom corner.  The raw edges of the nylon should line up with the outside edge of the bandanas.  Pin in place.  Repeat on the opposite bottom corner.


Starting just under the casing, sew around the three sides of the backpack, backstitching over the nylon strip to reinforce it and stopping right before the casing on the other side.  Do not sew the casing ends shut.

Turn right side out.  You now have a bag with a casing edge along the top which is open at each side, and nylon loops at each bottom corner.


Take one of your 52 inch length of cord and hook it onto your bodkin.  Starting at the top right of the pink polka dot picture above, feed the cord through the front casing right to left, then through the back casing left to right.  Then go down through the nylon loop on the bottom right.  Using a candle and pliers heat fuse the two ends of your cord together.  Now, take your other cord and begin at the top left – feed it through left to right on the front casing, and right to left on the back one, then down through the nylon loop on the bottom left.  Heat fuse the ends together.  If you have done it right your backpack will now have a drawstring top and be hooked through each lower loop like this:


Now you are done!  Pack it into an OCC shoebox and send it off.  🙂


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