How to Decorate a Messenger Bag

A messenger bag is a useful bag for holding papers, computers, school books and more. Many inexpensive messenger bags sold at craft stores are designed as a blank canvas for decoration. Decorating a messenger bag is a project both children and adults enjoy. Use your imagination and available materials to decorate the bag into something that expresses your personality and taste.

Determine a design for the bag. You can choose any style you wish from professional to cute to punk. Visit a local craft store to find the decorations you want to use. Draw the outline of your bag onto a piece of paper. Place the decorative elements on the paper to determine if you want to place them there for the final design.

Iron on any appliques or patches. Set the iron to the hottest level. Do not use steam. Place the patch on the bag where you want it to go and lay a towel over it. Hold the iron over the patch for 45 seconds without moving the iron. Flip the bag face down and repeat the process from the back side to set the patch. Do not slide the iron inside the bag; instead, heat the patch through both sides of the bag.

Paint the bag with fabric paint. You can use puffy paint or paint that is absorbed into the fibres. Decorate the bag however you like. Use a piece of cardboard inside the bag to protect the other layer of fabric from paint that bleeds through. Dip sponges or stamps into the paint and press them onto the bag to make textures or stencil shapes. Use the paintbrush to add fine detail work with the fabric paint.

Add rhinestones and other embellishments. Place a dot of fabric glue onto the back of the embellishment that you want to add. Place the embellishment on the bag and press it into the fabric. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

Place pins onto the bag. Simply slide the pointed edge of the pin through the fabric and fasten it in place. Use stud pins that poke directly through the bag and have a fastener on the other side of the fabric, or use brooch-style pins that have a long pin attached to the button that pokes through the back of the fabric and then back through the front to attach to the main body of the pin.

Things You'll Need

  • Iron-on appliques or patches
  • Iron
  • Towel
  • Fabric paint
  • Sponge brushes and stamps
  • Cardboard
  • Rhinestones and embellishments
  • Fabric glue
  • Decorative pins
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.