How to Decorate Canvas Bags

Updated February 21, 2017

Decorate canvas tote bags to create charming gifts, or to carry books, beach items or craft supplies. Teach kids the importance of being eco-friendly by asking them to design a customised canvas grocery bag. If you are making a personalised canvas tote bag as a gift, consider the recipient's hobbies and interests while creating it. You can mix and match craft items to create endless canvas bag designs.

Open up a tote bag and place a piece of waxed paper inside to prevent paint and glue from bleeding through to the other side.

Decorate the canvas bag with paint and stencils. Place plastic stencils against the tote bag and create designs using fabric paint and a small brush. Create a garden-inspired bag using floral and bird-shaped stencils, or a beach tote with seashell and seahorse-shaped stencils. Personalise the bag with a special message or name using letter-shaped stencils.

Enhance the canvas bag with decor items for a customised style. Use a hot glue gun to attach flat-backed gems and stones, vintage buttons, embroidered patches or faux feathers to the bag. Spell out a first name using sequins or sparkly rhinestones for a glamorous look.

Determine the length of the bag's handle using a tape measure. Use scissors to cut a piece of decorative ribbon or lace to fit the handle. Choose vibrant polka dot or striped grosgrain ribbon to infuse the bag with a touch of whimsy, or a pink satin ribbon for a feminine flair. Secure the ribbon to the bag's handle using a hot glue gun.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas bag
  • Waxed paper
  • Fabric paint
  • Stencils
  • Small paint brush
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decor items, such as gems and buttons
  • Decorative ribbon
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Elizabeth Arnold has written for a wide variety of publications and websites. Her experience includes writing travel features for "Recommend" magazine and packaging marketing copy for both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. consumer products. Recently, Arnold was a staff writer for "Special Events" magazine. Arnold studied English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.