Wednesday 22 July 2015

How To... Customised Canvas Bag

If you're anything like me and try to avoid using plastic bags as much as possible you will have an ever growing array of fabric bags to use as project bags, shopping bags, beach bags etc. You may also, like me, have a plain canvas bag that has been languishing in the cupboard not being used because it's just too plain or you may have even made a plain fabric bag such as the Fabric Remnant Tote Bag I made in this How To and it needs some decoration. So, in my latest how to I hope to inspire you to give a new lease of life to your plain fabric bags! This is a thrifty make- as well as saving that bag it's also a great way to use beads and printing inks/fabric paints you may have left over from other projects and a quirky way to upcycle an old belt. Here's the How To...

1) You will need

A plain fabric bag, fabric paint/printing ink, sponge, beads- I used cone shaped stud beads, an old belt, leather punch/poking tool/strong sharp needle for making holes in the belt, needle and thread

2) Draw the shape you would like to print onto a sponge or piece of foam and cut out with scissors or a stanley knife. Practice printing your shape onto some scrap fabric before printing onto your bag to check you are happy with the shape

 3) I always use an ice cream tub lid as my palette! Place some card or newspaper inside your bag to prevent any paint seeping through. Choose your first colour  to stamp with. I've chosen to stamp triangles in two colours across the bottom of the bag but the choice is yours, print whatever shape you wish in a design of your choice

4) Allow the first stamped designs to dry completely

 5) Once dry, stamp the second coloured triangles onto your bag, filling in the gaps between the first triangles

6) Allow to dry completely and then fix the paint according to the instructions on the pot

7) Use a quick unpick to remove the handles from your bag

8) Cut the buckle off of the old belt and cut the ends straight. Cut two pieces from the belt to use as bag straps, using the old straps as a length guide

9) Using the poking tool/leather punch/strong sharp needle, punch holes for stitches at each end of the belt pieces

10) Stitch the straps onto the bag

11) Stitch your beads onto the bag in any design that takes your fancy. I stitched two rows of beads between the handles on the front of my bag

Now all that's left to do is to get out and about with your fab customised bag!

If you have a go at customising a bag, share your photos in the comments below!


  1. Thanks for the ideas. Using a belt for the handles: brilliant!

    1. Thank you, I'd been wanting to incorporate a belt into a How To for a while, I see so many in charity shops

  2. I love this bag! I have a plain bag waiting for me to decorate it! Thanks for the inspiration! I think they way you painted it is brilliant!

    1. Thank you, I'm so pleased you like it. If you decorate your bag I'd love to see some photos! Happy making!