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New School Lunch Boxes

My kids started school yesterday.  I watched them climb the steps of the school bus with a great twist of my heart.  I am not ready for them to go.  They are growing way too fast.

But like it or not our summer is over and my kiddos are another grade older.

Since my girl’s school bags that I made last year are still in great condition, I decided to try my hand at making lunch bags.

I was inspired by the cute and easy oilcloth lunch sack tutorial on Martha Stewart.  But after looking more closely at the sack, I thought the clothes pin closure wasn’t ideal for kids.  I also decided we needed lunch bags with insulation to keep things like cheese sticks and yogurt cool.

I found a free simple bag pattern on the Long Thread that fit the bill perfectly.

I made a few small changes to the bag.  Instead of using canvas on the outside, I picked a cheery aqua cherry oilcloth fabric and a red check oilcloth for the sides and inside.

I did do a little reading about oil cloth for lunch sacks.  It isn’t recommended for children under 12, but I decided to take my chances.  Oilcloth is made from linseed oil and the real danger would come from your child sucking on the fabric.  I’m pretty sure we are safe in that department.  Plus all my girl’s food is in containers.

I also used an insulated batting, which has a Mylar in the center.  It’s the perfect batting for keeping a lunch cool.  I also changed the pattern by adding batting to the sides of the bag, in addition to the center.

I debated whether to add a flap, but decided the magnet closure called for in the pattern would be enough.

The girls and I love how their bags turned out.  They aren’t perfect, the bags are slightly bigger than I thought they would be, which is good and bad.  One other change I’d make is, in retrospect, I would have used canvas for the outside like the pattern calls for.  The oilcloth was a challenge to work with.  It’s so stiff and inflexible.  It almost led to swearing when I had to turn the bags right side out. I also think the canvas would dry out easier if there was ever a spill that made into the batting.

One other quick, fun thing to share is the great reusable Lunch Containers we found.  They open up to hold a sandwich and two other items all separated.  The containers are BPA free and seem to be well made.  My kids love that they are easy to open.  We bought a few other smaller containers from the same company.  I’m still on the lookout for a small, leak-proof container to hold their dips and dressings.  I thought about baby food containers, but I’m pretty sure sending a glass jar to school is not the smartest idea.  If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear.


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17 Responses to “New School Lunch Boxes”

  • Sebby:

    Rubbermaid has a tupperware set with maroon tops that is excellent, only problem is it come with four teeny tiny containers that are fairly useless, except for just what you need – single serving dips/sauces for kids lunch! Bonus you get the rest of the set for yourself :)

  • I love how the lunch bags came out! So pretty. I have made some before with vinyl over fabric & not oil cloth. A layer of cloth on one side makes the vinyl easier to deal with too. I have used Gerber (it might have been applesauce container) that was in a plastic with resealable lid for salad dressing sauce. Its the perfect size. Our first day back was today.

  • Lisa:

    We like the ziploc divided containers.I found them at Target. It has three compartments. One large and two smaller. The lid keeps their yogurt or applesauce from leaking onto their sandwich.

  • Alyssa:

    Tommy-Tippee makes some little plastic baby food pots that seal really well. We get ours at Babies R Us.

  • Nicole:

    I second the comment about the small Rubbermaid containers with maroon lids. I bought a set of 4 one-half cup containers at Target a while ago. I have seen the half-cup size Rubbermaid containers in the mega set (24 pieces?)at COSTCO too. I have never had the container leak and the size is great for salad dressing or shredded cheese or sour cream you want to pack separately. I don’t have kids, but I pack my lunch [almost] every day for work. The lunch bags are adorable. Did Ben get one too?

    • Calli:

      I wanted to make one for Ben, but he informed me that he preferred a store bought lunch bag. I told him I didn’t have cherries in mind for him… but he wasn’t convinced. Ah well.

  • Rose:

    The bags are adorable!

  • Shawnie:

    Many baby food containers are now plastic. They might work if the lids seal well enough.

  • Linda L.:

    Heinz pureed fruits come in a 4.5 ounce plastic container with a snap-on lid. I just bought some today and chose it over the bottled brand (which was ten cents more expensive) partly to get the free container.

  • Cute! I love the cherries!

  • Joni:

    most quilt shops carry Laminated Cottons that are lightweight and easier than oilcloth to work with. They are also safe to use and some are machine washable. You might give that a try :)

  • Heidi:

    I use the containers that KFC uses for small mashed potatoes, cole slaw, etc. I haven’t eaten there in a while so I’m not sure if that is still what they are giving out with meals. Dishwasher safe, etc. I also love the little random Rubbermaid containers, I used to put sour cream and salsa in them when hubby would take burritos or something to heat up at work. Or ketchup/mustard for corndogs, etc.

  • Holly:

    What cute lunch bags!

    We use baby food containers meant for the freezer. They come in 2oz or 4oz sizes, bpa-free plastic. Ours are Munchkin brand from Target, but Amazon shows many options when you search “food storage” in the baby section. The OXO ones are similar, and might be easier to open than the Munchkin ones.

  • Mary:

    We have used little glass mason jars (3oz) for years. They are wide enough to dip things like broccoli and pita in. They can go in the dishwasher and you can buy new canning rings whenever you need. We have also used them to bake muffins in and store to send to school. Never a problem with the glass. They are also good for freezer jam as they are small enough for a weeks serving.

  • Marie:

    This might be a little late…just seeing your bog now. I use Nalgene small containers from container store. They have them on their site, as well as in their stores. Also bpa free. Good size for dressings.

    http://www.containerstore.com/shop/lunchesLockers/lunchtimeEssentials/foodContainers?productId=10000245&N=80237&Nao=40

  • Simonne:

    Would make great craft/book bags for library visits with the little ones to carry a few necessary stuff toys and a blanky… I see much potential in this project. Thanks for sharing

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