A brief history of the Desktop Tool Organizer, the Ditto.

When I begin designing a product, it's usually motivated by a personal need.  The Ditto bag was no exception.

I was frustrated with the tool bags I owned - they weren't big enough, they were too big, they didn't hold the right things, I couldn't see all of my tools at the same time, they tipped over...

When it came to tool bags, the biggest frustration was not being able to see or access all of my tools at the same time. I was constantly rotating my bag.  I even tried the spinner bags, but for some reason I could never get the balance in my bag just right and I spent more time with my bag tipped over than upright.

One afternoon I was wandering around the tool box aisle at Home Depot looking for a solution and I got inspired to create my own - the idea for the Ditto was born.

The Process

I started with a bag I already owned that had a good basic shape.  The pictures below are a little ugly, but you can see how I go about designing with my favorite design tools - an Xacto knife and a hot glue gun.

DItto Tool Organizer in process

After I get the basic idea create (ugly as it is), I draw out the product and create a pattern for the factory to use to make our first prototype.  As Karen can attest, sending off something as ugly as the item above and getting back a real "thing" is super fun and a little amazing even after years of doing it.

Sketching out the Ditto Design

We sent off the crude prototype and the equally crude sketches and the factory returned this:

Ditto Bag Prototype

From this point it's just a few tweaks and tests, and a couple more prototypes until we end up with the finished product.

Ditto finished design.

How did the Ditto get its name?

There isn't a big exciting story behind the name of the Ditto. It happened quite by accident.

Whenever I'm working on a project we give it a WIP Name or Work In Progress name.  The WIP name for the this project was double-sided tabletop tool organizer - obviously too long of a name to continually be writing, so it got shortened to DTTO - you can see it already.  It just worked out that the word Ditto also means duplicate and this bag had 2 sides.

Cool features in the final design

While there are a couple of designs available in the Ditto Bag, the variations are slight. Watch the video to learn more about these.

What I believe are the best features, exist in all the bags.

My favorite feature - probably yours too, the bag splits open on your workspace so all of your tools and supplies are visible and accessible.

When the bag is open it measures 26" long by about 7" deep (depending on how full your front pockets are loaded.)

Crafting Tool Tote Organizer

I also like the paper trimmer pocket.  This pocket makes it easy to carry the tote - because the trimmer can stick out the side rather than out the top, it doesn't get in the way of the handle.  In the turquoise bag the paper trimmer pocket is on the front side of the bag. In the black and purple bags the paper trimmer pocket is in the "middle" of the bag.

Paper trimmer pocket in tool bag

The big main compartments on each side both have a divider that can be used to divide the compartments. On one side the divider is off-center.  This design allowed me to have the perfect place for my large tape runner/gun, which otherwise would be buried on the table.

The remaining pockets and elastic bands on the Ditto bag will hold everything from rulers to scissors, glitter glue to washi tape.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to this cool little bag, is that it is EASY to pull things out and EASY to put them away - you know that's my mantra - Easy gets done!

Craft tool organizer loaded

Post Update 9-14-2017

I've had a couple of questions about which paper trimmers fit in the pockets of the Ditto Bag.  Here's a short little video showing the trimmers I have around the studio that fit.

One more thing...

If you crop with "Creepers" (crafter's that are always creeping into your crop space), you'll love the natural barrier that is created when you open your Ditto bag.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Please feel free to leave a comment or question in the comment box below.

Happy Crafting,

Totally-Tiffany initial - get organized with me.

10 Responses to A brief history of the Desktop Tool Organizer, the Ditto.

  1. Saw it for the first time in a YouTube on 8/1/2017. Like several of the features, hide/carry the cutting tool bar, and it opens up so if not using a turn table all items are in view. But would really like more color choices — solid RED and solid White.

  2. I’m having trouble finding a paper trimmer that will fit into the paper trimmer pocket. Can you recommend a brand/style that fits?

  3. I guess I never thought about putting a trimmer in the Ditto bag nor the ATG gun. This I thank you for bringing up all of the items that work well with the bag. I think the turn table could be a big plus, but I’ll have to see if it takes up less or more space on the table. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Ruthann, yes, the turn table/Rotating Design Board is really handy under the Ditto bag and also easy to pull out if you want to use it for crafting. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment, so glad you were able to get a couple of ideas from the blog post. T.

  4. I have a slightly larger Fiskars trimmer. Couldn’t you make the pouch larger?ir wider. I use 5×7 flat photo boxes and put my supplies in them. ie tools in one, popdot and glue dotsin another, ribbons and sparkle tape rolled off the cores into little rolls in another. I have a total of 8 of these boxes and carry some of everything I might need

  5. I love my ditto bag. My favorite feature is that the bag splits so I can see all my supplies at once. I take it with me on vacations already packed and ready to go with extra supplies, so I can scrap anywhere I want to.

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