ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Have Fun Designing Your Own Tote Bag

Updated on June 19, 2014

Designing/painting your own canvas bag is a fun, unique way to either display your own fashion or spend some fun quality time with your kids. The tote bags I made were made with and by kids ages 6, 7, and 9. They had a great time painting and when they carry their tote around they are all very happy to display them for all to see. The best thing to keep in mind when designing and painting your tote bag is to simply have fun with it. If you are going for a more adult look, I recommend using simpler geometric patterns and thick, bold lines. If you are going for a fun, younger look try using the spray fabric paint or stencils with a whimsical feel to them. In any case, simply have fun.

Fabric paint that can be used with a brush or right from the bottle.  From the bottle will give your tote bag texture.
Fabric paint that can be used with a brush or right from the bottle. From the bottle will give your tote bag texture.
Fabric paint in spray bottles gives a less structured kind of paint job.
Fabric paint in spray bottles gives a less structured kind of paint job.
Fabric markers are perfect for small details and they come in brown, which is a color I could not find in the small bottles of fabric paint.
Fabric markers are perfect for small details and they come in brown, which is a color I could not find in the small bottles of fabric paint.
Blank canvas tote bags
Blank canvas tote bags


1. Fabric Paint

  • Puffy paint, for a textured affect or use with a paint brush as normal paint
  • Spray bottle fabric paint for a more loosely colored affect
  • Fabric markers for fine detail

2. Blank Canvas Tote Bag

3. Stencil, if desired

4. Masking or painters tape, if using a stencil

5. Wax paper

Step One: Design

Before you begin, the best thing to do, especially if working with kids, is plan your design ahead of time. If you are using stencils or have a particular idea in mind make sure it is clear in your head. This will save you time later when you will still have to wait for the paint to dry before moving on.

Step Two: Wax Paper

Cut a sheet of wax paper large enough to cover the inside of your tote bag. The wax paper will help keep the paint from leaking onto the other side of the tote bag.

Step Three: Background

If your tote bag is going to have a back ground, for example, he butterfly tote above has a purple background. Do the background first. To get the effect in the tote above, we used the spray paint to spray purple paint all over the tote, front and back. Then we let it dry. You can paint the whole bag one color or several colors.

Step Four: Tape Your Stencils

If you are using stencils, and we did for all four bags we designed, then you need to tape them down. It is best to tape them because the stencils tend to move when painting and, if you have a more complex stencils or intend to use several colors, you may have to tape over certain parts of the stencil to keep the colors from mixing. This is especially true if using the spray fabric paint. They tend to squirt everywhere and you may even want to tape parts of the bag to keep from getting paint somewhere you wouldn't want it.

Just Wondering...

Are you planning on designing/painting a tote bag?

See results

Step Five: Let the Painting Commence

Now that everything else has been considered, it is time to paint to your heart's content. Use big, bold lines, or use sponges to create a less uniform look. This is where your creativity comes to life and your favorite colors may flow from your eyes to your canvas tote bag. The design is completely up to you. The sky is the limit.

Step Six: When Painting Dark Canvas Totes

I love the way a nice dark bag looks with a pretty design. If you are designing your own tote, you are not confined to using tan or white canvas bags, by all means paint black too! The trick to painting black is paintnig it white first. Paint the whole area you want to paint white first. This will make any color really stand out against a dark background. In the tote above, a stencil was used to paint each object on individually with white paint. After a couple of coats of white fabric paint were applied they were painted the color they are supposed to be. As a plus, the stitching on each of the balls, and the grip on the baseball bat, were painted with the pointy spout on the short fabric paint bottles. This gave a very nice, shiny, 3-D effect to the objects.

Step Seven: The Long Wait

The one and only bad thing about painting canvas bags is having to wait for the paint to dry to use a different color. If you are using two different colors right next to each other, the best thing for you to do is wait for the first color to dry first. If you do not wait, the colors will run together. It does not create a very unpleasant look but if yellow mixes with blue you will get green, and so forth. We let each color dry before we moved onto the next part of the stencil or before we had to move the stencil, for example when we were working on the lettering.

Step Eight: Outline or Fill In

After the primary objects have been painted you may want to go back and outline or fill in objects more. We used several stencils that did not have good boundaries between shapes. To make the shapes look more individual, and not just a big blob, we outlined them. For instance, in the castle tote bag above, we outlined the castle in blue. If we had not done that it looked like one giant silver, sparkly mass. We also used white paint to separate different areas of the monkeys, on the tote below, that did not show up very well from the stencil.

Step Nine: Let dry and Voila!

After all of the painting has finished and all of the tape has been removed, the tote can be left to dry. It will take an hour to several hours, depending how much paint was used. The end effect is a magnificent, personalized tote bag for you to carry all of your little nick-knacks around in. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I will respond as soon as possible.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)