Learn How to Personalize A Plain Tote Bag Using Stencils
Good morning, my crafters! Cutting Edge Stencils is curious what you’ve been using to cart your goods? Please don’t tell us that you’ve been strutting your stuff around town with a plain jane tote. Before the fashion police step in, we are here to help! Stencils are the perfect way to add a stylish pattern to a simple tote bag. Come check out this quick and easy craft using one of our beautiful floral stencil patterns.
We’d like to welcome back Natalie, the clever crafter behind the blog Doodlecraft. Natalie fell in love with our Japanese Peonies Allover Stencil pattern. She longed to have this beautiful floral design painted across her one of her walls. But Natalie’s a renter and painting her walls isn’t an option. Natalie put her crafting cap on and decided to paint this pretty pattern on a boring tote bag. She had this ho hum tote bag that she had picked up along the way. Nothing about it stood out or screamed stylish. Using acrylic craft paints and the peony pattern, Natalie gave a little wow factor. She said, “Now I have a custom tote that is sure to catch some attention!”
Here is the scoop on how to stencil a tote bag (this project comes from Doodlecraft):
First you’re going to need this stuff listed below:
plain canvas tote
A stencil (for this project the Japanese Peonies Allover Stencil was used)
- Stencil brush <— We prefer the one in this link.
- Painter’s tape
- Small paint tray or plastic plate
- Paper towels
- Craft paint found at Michaels or JoAnns ( for this project pinks, orange, and green colors were used)
- Textile Medium like, Anita’s Textile Medium found at your local craft store
1. Gather Materials: Start the stencil project by gathering all of the materials listed above. If it’s needed, iron the canvas tote bag to remove any wrinkles.
2. Pour the Paint: Pour your craft paint onto a plate or paint tray. Mix up the paint with the fabric medium (2 parts paint to 1 part medium). Then dip your stencil brush into the paint. Blot off the excess paint onto your folded paper towel until the brush looks almost dry. The key to stenciling is using as little paint as possible. Too much paint will cause the design to bleed and smudge.
3. Start Stenciling: Position the stencil design on the tote bag. Then you can secure the stencil in place using painter’s tape.Next you will paint the design onto the canvas tote with the stencil brush using a dry brush (stippling) technique. Stippling is when you tap the brush repeatedly over the stencil opening.
4. Enhance the Pattern: To add variation and depth, Natalie painted bright pink around the tips of the petals. Then she painted the stems and leaves green. Depending on the pattern and your preference you may need to reposition the stencil. For this project it was not necessary, but if you do, allow the paint to dry a little and reposition the stencil so you can continue to paint the pattern on the entire surface (the back). Let the paint dry for two hours.
Ready to see how it all turned out? Here is Natalie’s Japanese Peonies stenciled tote bag.
Would you consider customizing a tote bag with a stencil? Leave us a comment below!
Haven’t had enough stenciling fun?:
- Shop our stencil collections on the Cutting Edge Stencils website!
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Thanks for reading, and happy stenciling!
Michelle and the Cutting Edge Stencils Crew