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How to Make DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike

DIY pannier bags for your bike are easy and quick to make! Read on to get our list of supplies and make yourself a set of bike saddlebags. A perfect bike accessory if you love to ride.

DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
How to Make DIY Bike Pannier Bags
How to Make DIY Bike Pannier Bags

I’m sure you know by now about the love affair I have with my bike. (See Exhibits A, B, and C for starters.) It’s the Pure City Crosby Bike and it’s the perfect everything — color, ride, size, shape. She was getting a little antsy for an adventure so we decided to take her to the beach. However, I wanted to deck her out ahead of time with some pretty pannier bags, because I wanted to carry all of our beach gear on the back rack.

The result is one of my favorite projects ever. The pannier bags turned out to be a simple DIY, while giving you a lot of bang for your buck. They look great, but they’re also functional and sturdy, and you can use them at the beach or anywhere. Here’s how to make DIY pannier bags for your bike!

Before you dive in, be sure to check out these bike gear posts too:

Psst — if you love this project, then you’re gonna love our other ideas! Be sure to sign up for our exclusive group where I’ll send you fresh DIYs and inspiration. Enter your info below!

What are pannier bags?

First of all, in case you’re not in the know, pannier bags are similar to saddle bags. However, instead of being slung over a horse’s rear end you sling them over the back of a bicycle or motorcycle. In fact, they’re firmly attached so that they don’t shift during riding, and you can fill them with all of your belongings so that they are safely contained.

To demonstrate: I was riding my bike once and had my (really expensive) camera in the front basket. I hit a hard bump and the camera went flying, landing in the gutter. Next thing I knew the camera was busted. Hence: the DIY pannier bag idea.

How to Make DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike

Materials

  • 2 bags – any bag from a sturdy material will work; the ones we used are out of stock but there are similar ones here
  • 2 wood squares that will fit inside and against the back of your bag (find them at a craft store)
  • bungee cords
  • lashing hooks
  • nuts, bolts, and washers (a set like this will have everything you needs)
  • awl
  • hammer
  • crescent wrench
  • screwdriver
  • scissors
  • drill with 1/8″ drill bit (this kit is actually pretty cool if you’re a weekend maker and need to get your tool collection started)

Make Time: 1 Hour

Instructions

How to Make DIY Bike Pannier Bags
  1. First, drill three holes in each wood square — two on either edge of one side, and one at the center of the opposite side.
  2. Next, place the wood against the inside back of your bag (in a pocket, if available). Use an awl to poke from inside the pannier bag, through each hole in the wood, and through the outside of the bag. Keep the wood in place while you are making your holes so that they are aligned. Then, remove the wood and use the awl to enlarge the holes if necessary.
  3. Slip a screw through a plastic hook for each hole. Next, put the wood back in the bag, aligned with the holes. From the outside of the pannier bag, insert a screw through the first hole, leaving the hook outside the bag. The screw should pierce both the bag and the wood. Tighten a washer and a nut on the open end of the screw. Repeat for all holes. Place the top two hooks with the rounded portion on top, and the bottom with the rounded portion on the bottom.
  4. Next, use a hammer to remove the orange ball on two of your bungee ties.
  5. Finally, attach the pannier bags. Place the top hooks over the rack. Then hook a bungee around the bottom hook, down and through the bottom hole in the rack, then up and onto the same hook.

Make a Towel Holder for Your Bike

If you’re happy with your pannier bags, you can stop right there! However, we created a DIY towel strap for my bike using the leftover materials from the bags. So here’s how to do that.

  1. First, cut the strap off of one of the purses. Cut two 11″ sections from the strap, while trying not to include any buckles or holes.
  2. Next, use the awl to puncture a hole on either end of each strap, approximately 3/4″ from the end.
  3. The next step is to use the same technique from Step 3 to affix a hook into each hole.
  4. Finally, roll and place your towel on top of the back rack. Hook one strap over each end of the towel. You’re ready to roll!
How to Make DIY Bike Pannier Bags
How to Make DIY Bike Pannier Bags

On the whole, one of the coolest things about the project is that one bag that still has its strap! Should you need a purse, just pull the strap out and tuck the bungee cord inside while you’re walking around. Afterward you can also reattach it when you’re ready to roll.

This was such a fun one to make (and use!), so I hope you try it  — now that you know how to make DIY pannier bags for your bike. See ya at the beach! xoxo

P.S. If you like this project, I bet you’re gonna love our rainbow doormat!

DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
Yield: 2 Pannier Bags

DIY Pannier Bags

How to Make DIY Bike Pannier Bags

These DIY pannier bags for your bike are easy to make and super functional!

Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Intermediate
Estimated Cost $50

Materials

  • 2 bags
  • 2 wood squares that will fit inside and against the back of your bag (find them at a craft store)
  • bungee cords
  • lashing hooks
  • nuts, bolts, washers

Tools

  • awl
  • hammer
  • crescent wrench
  • screwdriver
  • scissors
  • drill with 1/8" bit

Instructions

    1. First, drill three holes in each wood square — two on either edge of one side, and one at the center of the opposite side.
    2. Next, place the wood against the inside back of your bag (in a pocket, if available). Use an awl to poke from inside the pannier bag, through each hole in the wood, and through the outside of the bag. Keep the wood in place while you are making your holes so that they are aligned. Then, remove the wood and use the awl to enlarge the holes if necessary.
    3. Slip a screw through a plastic hook for each hole. Next, put the wood back in the bag, aligned with the holes. From the outside of the pannier bag, insert a screw through the first hole, leaving the hook outside the bag. The screw should pierce both the bag and the wood. Tighten a washer and a nut on the open end of the screw. Repeat for all holes. Place the top two hooks with the rounded portion on top, and the bottom with the rounded portion on the bottom.
    4. Next, use a hammer to remove the orange ball on two of your bungee ties.
    5. Finally, attach the pannier bags. Place the top hooks over the rack. Then hook a bungee around the bottom hook, down and through the bottom hole in the rack, then up and onto the same hook.
    6. To make a towel strap, cut the strap off of one of the purses. Then cut two 11″ sections from the strap, while trying not to include any buckles or holes.
    7. Next, use the awl to puncture a hole on either end of each strap, approximately 3/4″ from the end.
    8. Then, use the same technique from Step 3 to affix a hook into each hole.
    9. Finally, roll and place your towel on top of the back rack. Hook one strap over each end of the towel. You’re ready to roll!

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