How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag

Backpacks and sling bags are popular options for carrying items on the go. However, what if you have a backpack you no longer want to wear on both shoulders? Turning a backpack into a sling bag is a great way to repurpose it and create a functional and trendy accessory. This article will review how to Turn a Backpack into a sling bag.

Backpacks are a staple accessory for many people, offering a convenient and comfortable way to carry everyday essentials. However, there are times when a backpack might not be the most practical choice. For instance, a sling bag might be a better option if you’re going for a quick stroll or need to carry a few items. Sling bags are smaller, lighter, and easier to access, making them ideal for casual outings or situations where you need to keep your hands free.

If you don’t have a sling bag handy, fret not! You can easily transform an old backpack into a practical and stylish sling bag with a few simple steps and readily available materials. This DIY project is cost-effective and lets you personalize your sling bag to match your style and preferences.

What is a Sling Bag?

A sling bag is a crossbody bag worn over one shoulder, with the strap running diagonally across the body. Sling bags are typically smaller and more compact than backpacks, making them convenient for carrying essentials such as a wallet, phone, keys, and a few other small items.

Benefits of Using a Sling Bag

Sling bags offer several advantages over traditional backpacks:

Convenience: Sling bags are easy to access and use, allowing you to quickly reach for your belongings without removing the bag.

Comfort: The single strap design distributes weight evenly across your body, making sling bags more comfortable for extended periods.

Versatility: Sling bags can be used for various occasions, from casual outings to formal events.

Materials Needed

To turn an old backpack into a sling bag, you will need the following materials:

  • An old backpack
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or heavy-duty fabric glue
  • Webbing or strap material (approximately 1-2 yards)
  • Buckles or D-rings (optional)

How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag

Steps to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag

Step 1: Gather Materials

Before you begin, gather all the necessary materials to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Step 2: Cut and Remove the Backpack Straps

Carefully cut off the two backpack straps using a sharp pair of scissors. Ensure a clean cut at the point where the straps connect to the backpack’s body.

Step 3: Create the Sling Strap

Cut the webbing or strap material to the desired length for the sling strap. The length will depend on your personal preference and the size of the backpack.

Step 4: Attach the Sling Strap

Attach one end of the sling strap to the top corner of the backpack using buckles, D-rings, or heavy-duty fabric glue. Secure the attachment point firmly to ensure the sling strap can support the weight of the bag’s contents.

Step 5: Add Finishing Touches (Optional)

Add stitching or embellishments to the sling strap or the backpack for a more polished look.

Congratulations! You have successfully turned a backpack into a sling bag.

How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag

Tips and Tricks

Experiment with different materials and styles for the sling strap. Webbing is popular, but you can also use fabric, leather, or chains. Consider the overall style of your backpack when choosing a material for the sling strap.

Add pockets or compartments to the sling bag for extra organization. This is a great way to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible. You can sew pockets onto the sling bag or attach them with fabric glue.

Use a buckle or D-ring to secure the sling strap to the backpack. This will make it easier to take the sling bag on and off and help prevent the strap from slipping off your shoulder.

If you are uncomfortable sewing, you can use fabric glue to attach the sling strap to the backpack. This is a quick and easy way to complete the project, but it may not be as durable as sewing.

Be creative and have fun with your DIY sling bag! There are no hard and fast rules, so experiment with different materials, styles, and designs to create a sling bag that is unique to you.

Tips for Choosing the Right Backpack for a Sling Bag

Choosing the right backpack to convert into a sling bag is crucial for a successful and practical transformation. Here are some key considerations when selecting a backpack for this DIY project:

Size and Shape: Opt for a relatively small and compact backpack, as this will make for a more comfortable and manageable sling bag. Avoid bulky backpacks with large compartments, as these can add unnecessary weight and awkward the sling bag awkward.

Style and Design: Consider the overall style of the backpack and how it complements your personal preferences. A simple, minimalist backpack with clean lines will likely translate well into a sling bag, while a backpack with intricate details or excessive embellishments might not be as suitable.

Material: Choose a backpack made from durable, long-lasting materials that can withstand regular use. Canvas, nylon, or polyester are common choices for backpacks, and they offer good durability and weather resistance. Avoid backpacks made from delicate materials like silk or satin, as these might not adhere to the conversion process.

Strap Placement: The placement of the backpack straps can influence the ease of conversion. Backpacks with straps positioned closer together will be easier to attach a sling strap to, while those with widely spaced straps might require more modifications.

Condition: Select a backpack that is in good condition, free from tears, rips, or loose stitching. Damaged backpacks might not be suitable for conversion, as the structural integrity could be compromised.

Personalization Potential: If you plan to personalize your sling bag, consider the backpack’s design and how it can accommodate your creative ideas. A plain, solid-colored backpack might offer a blank canvas for embellishments, while a backpack with patterns or prints might require more careful customization.

Comfort: While you can always add padding to the sling strap for comfort, consider the backpack’s existing padding and how it contributes to overall comfort. A backpack with padded shoulder straps and a supportive back panel will translate into a more comfortable sling bag.

Versatility: Choose a backpack that can be used for various purposes, not just as a sling bag. This will ensure you get more value from your DIY project and have a versatile accessory for different occasions.


Transforming an old backpack into a sling bag is a fun and rewarding DIY project that allows you to repurpose an item you might not be using and create a unique and stylish accessory. With just a few simple steps and readily available materials, you can turn a backpack into a practical and versatile sling bag that you’ll enjoy using for years.

Turning a backpack into a sling bag is a fun and practical DIY project that anyone can do. With just a few supplies and basic sewing skills, you can create a stylish and functional accessory that will envy all your friends.

How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag

FAQs – How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag

Q: Can I use any backpack for this project?

A: It’s best to use a backpack with sturdy construction and a center-back seam.

Q: Do I need a sewing machine for this project?

A: No, you can also use a needle and thread for the sewing portion of this project.

Q: What if I don’t have webbing or strap material?

A: You can use an old belt or repurpose a strap from another bag.

Q: Can I convert a backpack into a crossbody bag instead of a sling bag?

A: Yes, adjust the length of the strap and attach it to the bottom corners of the backpack.

Q: How long does this project take?

A: This project can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your sewing skills and the complexity of your design.

Q: What type of backpack is best for converting into a sling bag?

A smaller, lightweight backpack with a simple design is ideal for converting into a sling bag. Avoid backpacks with bulky compartments or intricate stitching, as these can make the conversion process more difficult.

Q: Can I use any material for the sling strap?

Yes, you can use various materials for the sling strap, such as webbing, thick fabric, or even leather. However, it’s important to choose a durable material that can withstand regular use.

Q: How can I add padding to the sling strap?

If you want to add padding to the sling strap for extra comfort, use foam or fabric batting. Cut the padding to the desired size and attach it to the underside of the sling strap using a sewing machine or fabric glue.

Q: What can I do to personalize my sling bag?

There are many ways to personalize your sling bag. You can add embroidery, patches, or paint to reflect your style. You can also choose a unique color or pattern for the sling strap.

Q: Is there a specific way to wear a sling bag?

Sling bags can be worn in various ways, depending on your preference. However, the most common way to wear a sling bag is to position it across your body, with the strap running diagonally from your opposite shoulder to your hip. You can also wear the sling bag on your back or over one shoulder.

Leave a Reply