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Craft Ideas for Canvas Tote Bags

Updated April 17, 2017

Canvas totes are a popular substitute for paper or plastic bags collected when shopping. They fold down and can easily be kept on hand to limit your consumption of eco-unfriendly grocery bags. According to Worldwatch Institute, between 4 trillion and 5 trillion plastic bags are created globally each year. Canvas bags also make toting your purchases easier, as canvas totes generally have handles that can be carried on the shoulder, shifting the weight from the hands.

Materials

In addition to a canvas bag, which can be purchased at any craft store and many discount stores, you'll need embellishments to make your tote your own. Glitter and glue, fabric paint and stamps, iron-on patches, and yarn or thread and needle are some of the material options.

Methods

If using glitter or paint, keep your work area clean by putting down newspaper or an old sheet. Use fabric paint to create designs on your tote. You can paint directly on your tote, or use rubber or foam stamps--pressed lightly into the paint before pressing the design onto the tote-- to decorate the tote. If desired, sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint. Other techniques include squeezing the paint on, depending on the type of fabric paint you have. Some fabric paint comes in marker form, which can you give more control over the design, much like drawing on paper. Children can dip their hands into the paint and press them onto the canvas tote to create a personalised gift for a mother, father or grandparent. Use fabric markers to write the kids' names and date. To create a glittered canvas tote, use fabric glue to create a design and sprinkle with glitter before the glue dries. Alternatively, you can saturate sections of the canvas tote in glue and cover it entirely with glitter, either in a single colour or multiple colours. Allow the glue or paint to dry entirely, according to the directions on the bottle, before flipping the tote and decorating the other side. Iron-on patches are another option. Follow the directions on the package, but generally you remove the patch from its backing, position it on the canvas tote and press a warm iron to the patch. Another idea is to use a needle threaded with yarn or coloured thread to do a basic overhand stitch around the edge of the canvas tote and the handle. Using a fabric pencil. draw a design onto the bag and use a cross stitch to fill in the pattern.

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About the Author

Marilyn Walker is a communications professional living in New York City. She is originally from Oklahoma and holds degrees in journalism from Oklahoma State University (bachelor's) and the University of Maryland (master's). Walker has written professionally since 2004.