I Spy Bags

i spy bag
Want to keep your kids quiet in the car? Want to keep them quiet period?? Then you have got to get one of these little bags of bliss!

They’re called I Spy bags and you’re kids will love them. They are little bean bags with a plastic window in the front. The kids read the list (or look at the pics) of items printed on the back and manipulate the bag to find the items through the window. Sheer Genius I tell you.

My son loves playing I Spy when we drive but sometimes when I drive I have to pay attention ya know? So I started collecting little doodads around the house and saving some of the little things he collects (that we never have anything to do with) to put inside.

Here’s what you need to make one of these.

  • 2-8 inch squares of flannel
  • 4 inch piece of plastic, about 4mm thick
  • poly-pellets used to fill dolls, found in the sewing notions section (Michaels carries these, but Joann’s and Hobby Lobby do not)
  • little doodads (sequin, button, paper clip, acorn, doll house items, etc)
  • printable fabric (I used cotton twill)


Measure and cut with a rotary cutter a 16″ (width) x 8″ (height) rectangle

Iron fabric flat with 1/2 inch seam all the way around. I also folded the fabric in half and ironed the seam so I knew where to center the front window.

Find a square object (I used a post-it note box) or measure a 3″ square window and trace it. Use rotary cutter to cut out.

In Word, type a list of all the items you’re putting in the bag or print a picture of them. Choose your font and print a test sheet before printing on your fabric. Measure it on the back of your bag leaving about a 1″ border to sew on. Once your satisfied print it out and follow the directions on the package.
I kept the test sheet, cut it out and laminated it for myself to keep in my wallet so (when I’m not driving) I can help him by reading the things off.

Cut a 4″ square out of the plastic and Scotch tape it to the inside of the bag.

Sew the plastic window, I did 2 rows of running stitch and then a zig-zag around. I have a choking phobia so I wanted to make sure these puppies wouldn’t bust a seam. Test first because I had to pull it out once due to the plastic sticking to the machine. I just went slowly and it was o.k.

Sew the list on the back using zig-zag stitch so it doesn’t fray.

Pin edges together with right sides facing. Sew together leaving about a 2-3″ opening to turn right side in and add do-dads and pellets. Flip right side out and sew zig-zag around edges to secure seams. (Remember to leave your opening!)

Add doodads and then pellets. I filled up to top of window only. You want them to be able to move the items around to find them. Only fill it up as high as you have to, I think I may add a tad bit less next time.

Sew up opening with matching zig-zag and Voila! You have your very own “I Spy…” bag!

What do you think?



  1. 4

    No, you need a specific fabric for ink-jet printers. I bought mine from Hobby Lobby, I want to say it was $10 for 20 sheets and you get 4 bags per sheet. Be sure to print out a 40% off coupon!

    You can choose between twill, cotton, canvas, etc. I think I chose a cotton canvas blend.

    If you make them please email photos for me to feature on Creative Bliss! Hope I answered your questions!!

  2. 5

    Can you explain about the fabric printing in more detail? What do I need to get for printing on fabric and would any poly/cotton or cotton fabric do?

  3. 6

    I found the poly pellets/plastic bead things, in that very bag, at my JoAnn’s here in St. Louis. But I had to hunt–they were on the back wall underneath the wood and paint stuff. Thanks for the plans!

  4. 7

    LOVE this idea, thanks for the inspiration and great tutorial!!