Get the free pattern to create your own crochet mesh seashell collecting bag. Bring home the shells, but keep the sand where it belongs. On the beach!
It never fails. Every time we go to the beach my car gets filled up with sand. It’s like such a thing here that some of the car cleaning places are like “we are amazing at removing sand!” And when we take the boys to the beach, which we will be doing really soon, it gets so much worse. Because I can totally try to knock the sand away, and I can ask them to do the same, but somehow they leave the backseat when we get back home and behind them is a handful of sand apiece. It makes no sense :)
Last year we went to the beach and everybody wanted to collect seashells because that’s a big part of going out there, right? We hadn’t planned for it and so some of us just wandered and placed our finds into a bowl, of sorts, we made by pulling up the bottom of the front of our shirts to hold our finds. And one of the boys found an old styrofoam KFC cup caught in the grass in the dunes and used that. We all tossed our finds in the floorboard and though it didn’t seem like so much sand when we were still at the beach, when I had to clean it up a few days later it was TONS of sand!
With the boys scheduled to come to visit this summer, I decided we are not doing that again. And so I dug around in my craft stash and found, literally, a ton of spools of 1mm satin cord (some call it rattail or bug tail because it’s the thin stuff) and I decided to make bags to give each child to take to the beach to hold their collections.
The idea is the satin cord is smooth and sand won’t get stuck in it (smooth instead of how acrylic yarns are fuzzy, you know?) and designed up the design as mesh so I can shake those suckers all around before they put them in my floorboard to remove a lot of the sand before it makes contact with my upholstery. And I made this design a super sturdy mesh so that it can support a lot of weight, because dollars to doughnuts those kids are going to put as much in them as they possibly can and I don’t want the bags to get all droopy and pull out of shape. Plus it’s not gigantic because nobody needs a gallon bucket full of seashells. It’s cool while you’re out there but when you get back home it’s all, “meh, what do I do with them now?” :)
And guess what? These little bags totally work. Like, it’s amazing. And nobody is worrying on the trip back home that they are going to catch ebola from the styrofoam cup some stranger PUT THEIR MOUTH ON after a bit of teasing from brother. Ahh. Ready for a nice day at the beach collecting seashells?
Make a mesh crochet seashell bag perfect for beachcombing to keep the goodies in and the sand out!
For this project you will need approximately 2 hours of time and:
- Satin cord (1 mm) approx. 60 yards per bag (see paragraph below for more details/sources)
- Satin cord (2mm) for drawstrings (or ribbon could work)
- Small crochet hook (I used my 3.0 mm from this awesome ergonomic set)
- Lighter (don’t use a dang torch like did get a straight up Bic from the corner store)
- Free bag crochet pattern – PDF here or view the big ol’ JPG image file to view in your browser here
For this project, I’m going to highly suggest using something smooth like this 1mm satin cord (often called rattail or bugtail when it’s this small 1mm size). Though my first attempt to crochet with the smooth and shiny cord, I quickly fell in love with how well it works up. And being smooth, sand doesn’t have any furry places like in yarn like the Red Heart Super Saver I used for my first draft. For this project, I only used stuff from my craft stash from my past kumihimo obsession, but I did order more for a future project I’m working on to get the colors I needed. I was able to get an 80-yard spool of 1mm satin cord for around $7 shipped on Amazon and a 70-yard spool for around $8.50 shipped on Etsy, but I had a larger color selection for the higher cost there. Both were good quality and received quickly though my Amazon Prime cord was received a few days more quickly.
Now I made both a written pattern and a chart for this project. Feel free to reference the chart if they work better for you (I can work from them so much more easily than I can from text patterns sometimes) or use the text version just below this image.
← Ch 52. Each row consists of 51stitches.
← Row 1: Single crochet in 2nd chain from the hook. Single crochet 50 times, to the end.
→ Row 2: Chain 3 (acts as first double crochet). Double crochet in next stitch. Chain twice. Skip next 2 stitches from the previous row. * Double crochet once in next 2 stitches after skip. Chain 2, skip next 2 stitches. Repeat from * 4 times. Double crochet once in next 3 stitches. Chain 2, skip next 2 stitches. Repeat from * three times. Double crochet twice in last 2 stitches.
← Row 3: Single crochet to the end.
→ Row 4 – 17: repeat row 2 & 3
→ Row 18: Chain 3 (acts as first double crochet). *** Chain once and skip next stitch from the previous row. Double crochet after skipped stitch. Repeat from * to end.
← Row 19: Single crochet to the end.
→ Row 20: Double crochet to the end. Do not fasten off as we’ll continue using this cord to seal the bag up in the steps below.
Okay! So you followed the directions above and *hopefully* you have something that looks like this, right? (I sure hope so, I’m really new to chart and pattern making!)
Don’t worry about knots in your cord. If you encounter them (I had like 6 on one spool from my stash, what the heck?!) just make sure they’re all on the same side. You don’t need tails to work in, just make sure your knot is nice and secure.
Grab your lighter and *very carefully* burn the knot using the end of the lighter to tamp the melted plastic to itself. This sucker is gonna go nowhere and no tails to weave in! I used this torch thing we have to light the bbq grill and it was scary. Like, if I burned myself it was gonna be way worse than from a little flame, so I’d suggest not being lazy like me and getting a Bic if you don’t have one around the house. It’s just a lot calmer of a flame :)
Take your piece and fold it over on itself like so. There on the left side, we have that column of 3 double crochet stitches that was in the middle of the flat piece.
Create your first corner by chaining one and turn. Single crochet stitch in the first stitch on both sides of the folded piece to begin closing the shape into a bag. Now chain 4. Skip this open area you can see in the photo above (where we did the double crochets spaced with open stitches in between)then single crochet stitch once in the single crochet row below our open area.
Continue down the edge with a single crochet stitch. Work around the 2 double crochets (one from each side of the flat piece) to close up the bag.
I made 2 bags and for one a single crochet down the edge worked perfectly, but this one is kind of hilly, can you see that? If you notice the same problem you can work in a half double in those areas (the single crochets from the rows) to help keep this edge straighter and more neat looking. After this, I took this photo I tore mine out and started over using the half double stitches as needed with better results.
See, a lot better, though a terribly awkward angle.
I should have shooed the cat, Maybe, to get a better angle but I can never make myself do that! :)
When you get to the corner chain once to form it, turn your work and then single crochet in the same stitch.
Now work your way down the bottom of the piece. This is where you really need to make sure that you’re evenly matching up each side. That’s to say be sure that every stitch matches up so that when laid flat, the mesh of the bag is perfectly placed on top of itself.
Form your corner and get ready to finish up the last edge of the bag.
Now on the first side we worked around a double crochet from each side of the folded piece to close the piece up, but on this side you’re only going to work through the middle of the 3 on this side. Just like you did on the opposite side, single crochet down the edge (half double crochet in areas if necessary for a nice, straight edge) and then work 2 single crochets around that middle double stitch on the side. After many, many attempts, this is how I finally was able to get a bag that was nice and symmetrical all of the way around :)
When you get to the area at the top with the double crochet spaced with chain skips, chain 4 and skip this area, continuing with your single crochets just after. Once you reach the corner, tie off the yarn with a strong knot leaving about 1/4″. Burn the knot carefully, tamping it in on itself to lock the cord in place.
Now we’re going to weave 2 – 2 foot pieces of larger satin cord (I used 2mm from my stash) in through that top area of gaps to make drawstrings that also work well as handles. Using your lighter burn the edge of the 2mm cord to firm it up into a needle of sorts. Weave the cord in and out of the gaps between the double crochet stitches.
You want the satin cord to go AROUND the outer edge, like this, so you’ll need to weave accordingly. Flip the piece and continue through the gaps of the other side. Leave a length of 6 inches on both ends of this cord and make an overhand knot to tie the 2 ends together. Use your lighter to seal the melt in place.
Repeat from the other side, weaving a piece of cord through the gaps (keeping the cord consistently either above or below the previous cord) trimming to leave a tail of 6 inches on each side. Secure with a tight knot and burn that knot into place.
Pull the drawstrings away from the bag and BOOM! It’s a proper drawstring crochet bag.
And that might not seem like a big deal but it took me, straight up, not even lying TWO HOURS to figure out how to make this work. It’s JUST A DRAWSTRING, PEOPLE! Why was it so tough? :)
Make your bags in a variety of colors so that the littles can’t fight over whose bag is actually whose once the sand settles!
These guys are super easy to use. A drawstring around the wrist keeps it nearby to be stuffed with shells found on the beach.
And this bag will hold quite a bit without being just a ton. It holds exactly half a $5 bag of shells from Walmart, if you’re wondering :)
You see, we totally, totally cheated. I wasn’t feeling well and I didn’t literally want to comb the beach for pretty shells so we stopped at Walmart on our way to the beach and I totally faked it. People next to us looked at me like I was a loon as I filled my bags up from a little tourist grab bag, but we also had to borrow sunscreen from them because we were terribly prepared for the day in general and somehow Rob wound up being GIVEN the sunscreen which we weren’t sure if it’s because he guilted them out of it explaining to them how “we’re like, really, really pale” or freaking what but… Whatever. Freaking whatever. We were weird in their book for so many reasons :)
I can tell you that these little bags can get wet with no problems but you’ll need to take care because the color can bleed onto other items while it is wet. You’ll also want to wash these once you get home if they got caught up in the beachy surf or they’re going to smell fishy the next day. Trust me. We had to find this sucker in Rob’s car 2 days later. YUCK.
Did I mention they can get wet? Cause they can be IMMERSED. Apparently, I still haven’t figured out how the tide works :) Holy cow where did all of that water come from? Ha!
Once the bags are filled you can pull the drawstrings tight and crazily shake the bags around to remove any excess sand. Just FYI, don’t smack them like a tambourine as you do because some of your shells thinner will break (eep!)
And if you were too upset about us cheating and using storebought shells, don’t be. I took those shells and spread them all over the beach for little children to find as they walk the surf and I’m imaging that there were at least a few happy people amazed with their luck at finding such pretty little, unbroken shells all in one area. Talk about prime beachcombing! :) So don’t be too mad at me for cheating, hopefully it made somebody else’s day at the beach