Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Make A Pea Bag Tutorial

The past week was a busy one here at the orange house. I have been catching up on some long overdue entertaining and the house has been filled with friends of all ages. I have been making bookmarks with school friends of the big guy, dancing on the patio with kindergarten friends of the little guy, and treating some of my own friends to a sugar free lunch. It was lots of fun, but preparations took a big chunk of my time and energy.

I did however find time to stitch up quite a few pea bags. I have been searching for an English term without success, so if you have one, please do tell. I have been thinking of making such bags for quite a while as they are very versatile, you can play lots of different games with them. And besides – with a healthy scrap bag, the only cost is dried peas so they are almost free. You’ve got to love that!

A pea bag is a small fabric bag filled with dried peas. I remember them from gym classes, and they are still being used everywhere. Here in Norway you can purchase them at sporting goods stores; they are washable, mine are not. If you swap the peas with plastic granulate they will be.

I know many of you have kids in your lives which might enjoy having some bags to play with, so I have put together a quick tutorial. You’ll find some games on the bottom of this post.

What you’ll need
Fabric scraps
Dried peas
Paper cups
Scale (for weighing food, not people)

What you’ll do
Cut your scraps into squares, mine were 6”*6”. You need two squares for each bag.
I rummaged through a long abandoned box of fabrics and found some unloved bits and pieces in bright colours.

I used my ¼” foot, but moved the needle to the left to get a wider seam allowance. You want your seams to be as strong as possible, they will get a lot of wear.

Place two squares together right sides facing, and stitch around the edge leaving a gap on one side for turning and filling. Make sure you backstitch both at the beginning and end of the seam. This is good advice when turning anything inside out.

Turn the bag inside out using something pointy to push out the corners. I used my long tweezers, but as these are toys, don’t worry about perfect corners.

Weigh up peas; I used 100 grams in each. I brought my baking scale and a funnel to the studio, but the opening of the funnel was too narrow, so I made one from a paper cup. I also used a paper cup to weigh the peas; squeezing the cup a little made it much easier to pour the peas into the funnel.

Cut one paper cup open and cut the bottom off.

Roll it into a funnel and use a tape to secure. Place the narrow end in the opening of the bag, and pour the peas in.

Close the opening with a pin.

Waiting to be finished.

Stitch around the bag close to the edge. Start at the side where the opening is, stitch all four sides and then the first one again; this secures the opening. Move the peas away from the edge as you go; you don't want to stich over any peas.

Going around the thickness of the corners was a bit of a struggle at times. I should have changed the needle, so some stitches are skipped on the last ones. It’s ok, they are toys.

I secured the thread tails by knotting them and pulling them to the inside with a needle.


A set of three would make a great little gift, particularly if you write up some suggested games. I’ll be bringing a bucket, some targets and lots of bags to the schools summer party tomorrow.

- Cut targets and write points on them. Place them on the ground, the lowest point closest. My circles are made of waxed table cloth and measures 10”in diameter. I chose waxed cloth as they will take dirt and grass without disintegrating, and wrote on the back side which is white.
- Or make a huge bulls-eye the same way
- Cut circles out of a big trash bag and string the bag in a tree, trying to throw the pea bags through the holes.
- Throw bags into a bucket; make it into a competition – one hit = 1 point.
- Or make it a last man standing game where you move the bucket further away for each round. Only those that hit the bucket go to the next round until there’s only one person left.
- Divide into two teams; draw a line on the ground with one team on each side. Each person gets a pea bag. For 1 minute everyone will throw bags to the other side of the line, one bag at a time, then you count to see which team has the fewest bags on their side.
- Can also be played one-on-one starting with 3-5 bags each.
- Canon ball with pea bags; hurts less.)
- Use them in a relay, moving one bag at the time from one spot to another; toss them over things, under things, into things.
- Pea bag tag – if you get hit with a bag, you’re it.
- Place a bag (or more) on your head, and do things like sitting down and getting up without losing it.
- Dance while holding a pea bag between the knees
- Race while holding a pea bag between the knees
- Do a twin race where two kids hold a pea bag between their shoulders
- Practise catching skills; the bags are much easier to handle than balls, particularly for little ones.
- Toss them back and forth switching hands each time
- Toss them back and forth basketball style where one kid forms a ring with its arms for the other kid to throw through.
- Use a pea bag to take turns to tell a story; one kid starts with the bag, then throws the bag to someone who continues the story and throws it to the next kid until everyone had their turn.

So that was just a few possibilities; I’m sure that you and your little ones will come up with your own games in no time. I cannot wait to see how we will use our lot over the summer.

Happy pea bag sewing and thanks for stopping by!


  1. They are called Bean Bags here in the U.K.
    I can't see one without thinking of P.E. lessons in Primary School.

  2. Lots of possibilities there. Bean bags here in the US too. Xox

  3. Bean bags here in Australia as well.