Take & Make: Parfleche Bag

Take & Make: Parfleche Bag

Take & Make: Parfleche Bag

Grade Level:
Grades 3-5, Grades K-2
Native American Art
Subject Area:
History and Social Science, Visual Arts
Activity Type:
Hands-On Activity

Create your own parfleche bag!

Create Your Own Parfleche Bag

A parfleche bag is used to hold items like hunting supplies or personal valuables and is typically made from a rawhide and adorned with different pigmented symbolic designs. The parfleche, (French for “to turn away arrows”) pictured here was created by the Yakama people who live along the Columbia River and on the Columbian Plateau in Central Washington State and was constructed from tough buffalo rawhide. Create your own Parfleche inspired travel bag, adorned with different patterns and colors that best represent you and your community!



  • Parfleche bag template
  • Markers or crayons
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Beads
  • Leather cord or string
  • Scrap paper
  • Glue


  1. Cut the template from the print-out (next page)
  2. Punch holes in the two designated circles on the front flap.
  3. Fold flaps “1” and “2” towards the center and overlapping each other on the horizontal dotted lines.
  4. Fold flaps “3” and “4” towards the center on the corresponding vertical lines.
  5. Re-punch the holes in the folded flaps.
  6. Place a piece of leather cord or string through the holes and tie your parfleche travel bag shut. Add beads to the strings
  7. Use paper scraps, crayons, and markers to decorate the outside of your parfleche bag.
  8. Punch holes around the edges of the bag and tie on leather cordsand beads, if desired.
  9. Unfold your bag and place some special items in your bag to trade or take with you on your journey!


Flat Case Parfleche, ca. 1875, (Yakama), buffalo rawhide, tanned hide, pigments. From the Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment, 2015.18