Reader Michael sent us a great little front bag hack. He made a handlebar bag from a pencil/makeup bag reinforced with a plastic novelty license plate. All pictures and comments credited to Michael!
The handlebar bag I still have is made from a pencil/cosmetic bag. The bag was a free personal care bag from an international flight. The bracket is from some bicycle accessory. The plastic is a vanity license plate cut to fit. The rest is nuts, bolts, and washers.
The same basic plan can be used to assemble a bag from a lunch/six pack cooler. Many of these coolers come with a plastic tub inside, so the license plate is no longer needed. However, I recommend better hardware, and I would fix one mounting point on each side of the steam. I like to use the stuff commercial electricians use for running metal conduit. For example, threaded rod, conduit hangers, nuts, bolts, and washers. Washers are important.
The plastic needs the reinforcement. Threaded rod can be cut to length. I used the bag made from the cooler when I was touring, and it worked well. Now, I use the smaller bag to hold things I want at reach while commuting or day touring.