It's simple really. The hardest part is punching holes in the cards. My very kind husband helped me with that.
You will need:
gift cards (I used 18, 9 per side. You can sometimes beg them off friends or ask for used ones at stores.)
zip ties (the dollar store is a good resource)
ribbon (I used some from a Crate and Barrel gift, I thought it tied in nicely)
old t-shirts or scrap fabric
needle and thread
The construction I used was a little complicated. You could just link the cards together and make a fun beach tote without the lining. You could even add straps from an old purse. Just don't put anything too small in there because it might slip through the cracks.
I made a lined bag attached the straps to that. Then I added some yarn to the top and attached the bags to the yarn with zip ties. Does that make any sense? I'll draw some pictures. I sewed it all by hand and it didn't take too long. You could definitely use a machine if you have one. I didn't take any in progress shots because I just wanted to finish it.
Step 1: line up your cards into the shape of one side of your finished bag. Leave a little space between the cards. Measure the length and width.
Step 2: Cut out 4 pieces of fabric a little larger than the cards on all sides. About 1/4 inch on each side.
Step 3: Make inner lining. Sew two pieces together with right sides together as shown. This will be the inside lining of the bag (the part you'll see when you open your bag). The lining and shell should end up just a little smaller than the length and width of the measured cards so they'll fit easily inside. The lining should be a little smaller than the shell.
Step 4: Make shell. Sew the last two pieces together with right sides together. Place a doubled piece of yarn between the pieces near the top (but below where the fold of the hem will be) and sew the ends of the yarn into place. This will be used to attach the cards later.
Step 5: Fold the hem down on the inside lining. Keep right sides together. Turn the outer lining inside out and fold hem in. Ironing can help this step. Tack the yarn in place along the top. Be sure not to sew the sides together. Make sure there will still be room to attach the cards.
Step 6: Place the lining (green here) inside the shell (yellow here). Try to align the hems at the top. Tweak if necessary. Place ribbons between the inside and outside lining to sew in place when hemming. I sewed the ribbon to the shell before this step to keep it really strong. Make sure the ribbon isn't twisted. Sew around the top to secure lining to shell and ribbon to bag. Sew as close to the top as possible.
Step 7: Attach cards to each other. Punch holes in each corner of every card. I used zip ties to attach them, but ribbon or strong yarn should work too. I made two sheets of 9 and attached the edges once they were on the bag. I don't think it really matters. Make sure not to attach too tightly. It should be flexible.
Step 8: Attach the cards to the bag using zip ties (or ribbon or yarn) to attach cards to the yarn at the top. Attach each side of the cards to the other. The bag should look something like this.
Step 9: I added a little velcro to the insides to close. Other closures could work too.
I hope these directions were clear. If you have any questions leave a comment or send me an email. Have fun!