Updated on September 15, 2023
DIY Painted Tote Bag. Learn how to make a painted tote bag. You can make these with any colors or stencils you want, so they make a great gift idea.
I don’t think you can ever have too many tote bags. I use them for shopping, taking things with me when I run errands, for keeping the kid’s after school things together, and more. This is why I think they make the perfect gift idea. And these DIY painted tote bags can be customized for whatever theme or colors you like.
How to Make a Painted Tote Bag
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I used FolkArt Multi-Surface Acrylic paints for this project. These paints give you the biggest bang for your buck because you can use them on so many different surfaces, including fabric!
Painted Heart Tote Bag
These tote bags are so easy to decorate. I started by finding a stencil I liked at the craft store. This one is a year-round holiday stencil that included a lot of different designs. I wanted to use the cute scalloped heart for my first tote.
Place a piece of cardboard inside the tote bag before you get started so no paint bleeds through to the other side. I wanted to create an evenly spaced design. I used my ruler and some painters tape to mark off straight lines. Then I used the ruler and a Sharpie marker to mark off where each heart would be painted.
I laid out all my paint colors before I started. To create a similar effect with fewer paints, you can add white or black to a few select colors to lighten and darken them, or even mix two colors together to make a new one.
Place the stencil where you want it on the tote bag, and add paint to your stencil brush. Don’t add too much paint to your brush or it will seep under the stencil. I usually add some paint to my brush and then tap it on an empty paint pallet. Dab the paint on in an up and down motion until the entire stencil area is covered. Carefully lift the stencil from your tote bag.
Before placing the stencil back down, make sure to wipe off any excess paint, especially on the backside. I use a damp microfiber cloth for this.
Repeat this process until you have painted on all the hearts.
I love everything rainbow and this heart tote is no exception! You could easily add a name or saying with a stencil to personalize this gift even more.
Painted Snowflake Tote Bag
Making the snowflake tote bag is much like the heart bag, but instead of having a specific pattern, I randomly painted snowflakes on the bag. I used both the large and small snowflakes that were on the stencil for my design.
Again, make sure you are wiping the stencil off after each use before moving to the next spot.
On this bag, I added Fabric Creations Fantasy Glitter paint in Unicorn over the top of some of the snowflakes. To do this, I painted the large and small snowflake with paint. Then, without moving the stencil, I went over the snowflake with glitter paint. The sparkle effect reminds me of snow.
Allow to dry and heat set the paint with a dry iron and a pressing cloth. I used my EasyPress for this. I covered the painted area with a protective sheet. For a cotton tote, set the EasyPress to 315º and using gentle pressure, pressed the tote for about 45 seconds.
I love that you can personalize these tote bags for the perfect gift idea. You can choose your recipient’s favorite colors and a pattern you know they will love!
The tote bags can be washed on the gentle cycle, inside out. I recommend heat setting the paint after the totes are dry even if you don’t use the glitter paint. Use a dry iron and a pressing cloth to go over the painted areas on the tote bag.
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