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DIY Blank Canvas Bags to Design Your Own

Updated on November 25, 2014
CherylsArt profile image

Let's get creative! Cheryl likes creating art, among other things. Here are some creative ideas to get your imagination going.

The opportunities are endless with a blank canvas.

Let your creative juices flow

Put on some music that you like. If you are creating a special type theme, try music that is related to your theme. For example, if you or your kids are creating Halloween designs, then play some fun Halloween music in the background.

If the theme is birds for instance, find a nature selection that has birds chirping and singing.

The creative materials that you use to enhance the mood, can also inspire the creativity of you and/or your children.

Gather your materials

Gather a variety of creative materials, whether it be fabric paints; glue, ribbon, and beads, puffy fabric paint, etc.

Watercolor pencils also come in handy for any drawing. The different colors can be used for different parts of the picture.

After your items are drawn in with watercolor pencils, on the blank canvas bags, the drawing lines will blend in with the paint. Or they can be wiped off later with a damp paper towel or cloth. (Once the paint is dry of course.)

I got started creating things when I was a kid.

My mother used to buy liquid embroidery items, and us kids got to select different items and paint them in. I was so enthused to be painting something that others or myself could also use.

I now call these items functional art. It is art with a purpose.

I still have a tablecloth that I painted as a kid.

Photo is by me and the painting too.
Photo is by me and the painting too. | Source

What is your level of experience?

Have you or your child painted on fabric before?

See results

Prep the painting and creating area.

If you or your child is going to be painting, be sure to place a sheet of smooth flat cardboard below the layer of fabric that is going to be painted.

It will help to protect the underneath surface and any lower fabric from any bleed through.



Outlining can be enough.

Source

Tips for outlining

Outlining can help make your design pop.

If you want an outline to color or paint in, draw it first with watercolor pencils. Then paint or color in the design.

Once the painting is dry, go back with darker shades and paint in the outlines and any details.

Or you can just outline the image with paint, and let that be enough.

Puffy and dimensional paint will give a raised affect. Puffy and dimensional paint take longer to dry, so do allow extra drying time if you're using these, perhaps six hours or longer.

Various fabric paints can be used.

To paint with something that is going to be long term, you'll want to use an acrylic paint. Some are made for fabric painting, and you can also purchase a medium to make acrylic paint to be more fabric friendly.

If you add a medium to the paint, the color may be a bit diluted, but probably not by too much.

If you are using acrylic paint, the paint in the bottles will be a better choice, as that is thinner than the paint that comes in tubes.

If you are using paint from the bottles, you will want to have a variety of brushes on hand, water for rinsing, and paper towels for getting excess water off the brushes.

Designs can be painted in using regular brushstrokes.

Painting of a parrot on a cloth apron. The outline design of the parrot was there first. The branches were added free hand.
Painting of a parrot on a cloth apron. The outline design of the parrot was there first. The branches were added free hand. | Source

The dry brush technique works best for painting on the stencils.

The dry brush technique for using with stencils.

Stencils can be used to trace the outline, and they can also be used as a painting tool.

To paint using the stencil as a painting tool, tape the stencil in place using fabric safe tape. I usually use a low tack painters tape.

Then, using a stencil brush, apply the paint on the brush, dab off the excess, and dry it somewhat on the paper towels. You want enough paint on the brush to get color on the fabric, but not enough that it bleeds under the stencil.

The video to the right will help demonstrate this technique.


Stencils are an easy way to add designs.

Delta Creative Stencil Mania Stencil, 7 by 10-Inch, 970160710 Bugged
Delta Creative Stencil Mania Stencil, 7 by 10-Inch, 970160710 Bugged

These stencils are made of flexible plastic, so they should be pretty easy to do the dry brush technique that is shown in the video above. The design can also be traced onto the canvas using watercolor pencils, if you want to paint the design in using regular brushstrokes.

 

Can I use permanent markers instead of acrylic paint markers?

In my experience, the acrylic paint markers worked best.

Although the permanent markers were marked as permanent, there was bleed through that occurred after the design was dry for some time, when it was laundered.

Do I need to heat set my design?

My guess is yes. At least with the acrylic paints that I have worked with, the manufacturer's did recommend it.

Sometimes it was just heat setting it in a dryer. Others wanted you to place a piece of plain fabric over the dry design, and have you iron the plain piece of fabric.

You will need to check the manufacturer's instructions for the particular type of paint that you purchase.

I have found that there is less mess with acrylic paint markers.

Elmer's Painters Opaque Paint Markers, Set of 5 Markers, Bright Colors, Medium Point (WA7518)
Elmer's Painters Opaque Paint Markers, Set of 5 Markers, Bright Colors, Medium Point (WA7518)

The acrylic paint is in the tubes. All one needs to do is shake the tube (with the lid on), to mix the paint up. Practice making some strokes on a spare sheet of fabric or paper, to test the amount of pressure you'll need, and also to test the flow of the paint.

 

Canvas bags from Zazzle come in a variety of sizes, and some come in different colors.

Plain blank canvas bags.
Plain blank canvas bags. | Source

Blank canvas bags can be ordered from a variety of places.

Purchasing plain canvas bags at zazzle.com allows you to also do some designing online, before placing your order.

Other styles can be ordered from places like amazon.com. There you can find more style choices, include ones with zippers, like the one shown below.




Amazon also has various sizes of blank canvas bags to choose from.

Do you have any questions? Your comments are also welcome.

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    • CherylsArt profile image
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      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      SandyMertens, Yes, it is. When I used to host the birthday parties at the craft store, the kids had such fun doing creative things.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Fun to design your own and get creative on these tote bags.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      smine27 That's cool; Zazzle.com is a great place to order custom items. Thank you.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I love Zazzle and how much you can customize over there. Great article.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      ReviewsfromSandy Thank you Sandy. Glad you found it helpful.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      RTalloni, Cool. Isn't it so fun to do creative things. : )

    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very informative hub on designing your own canvas bag.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      I enjoy making bags and am hoping to finish a stock I've started, then design some that I can paint on. Viva blank canvases! :)

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Thank you Peggy. Glad you appreciate it.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      That is a lot of good information to share with those who wish to custom make their own painted garments or bags. Thanks!

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      LindaSmith, sounds like a wonderful idea. Let me know if you'd like any certain kind of design made. There's lots of choices at CherylsArt at Zazzle.

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 3 years ago from USA

      We have a glitter girl in the family. Great idea for her, as a Christmas gift, to get the bag, some glue and glitter, maybe paint and let her design her own bag.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      LindaSmith, Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. : )

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 3 years ago from USA

      I love this DIY project.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      MelRootsNWrites Thank you. One doesn't need a steady hand. For those who don't have a steady hand, I recommend painting with dots; it's called pointillism, and can also make a fantastic looking work of art. You are very welcome for the craft idea. : )

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Brite-Ideas Thank you. Sometimes I remind myself to think of the writing, that this is being creative too. : ) Even big kids can have fun with this project. The designs can be more intricate.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      This is very clever. I'm not sure I have a steady enough hand to paint on canvas, but my niece would be really good at this. Thanks for the craft idea!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I'm always amazed by these DIY pages. Well done. Just the patience it takes to finish these projects is quite something, not to mention writing about it and giving instructions! My kids would have loved this stuff when they were little.