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diy tote bag

    Here’s an easy project to do:

    customize an inexpensive canvas tote bag with a design of your choice.


    You just need a few supplies:


    :: canvas tote bag {like these}
    :: printable fabric transfer sheet {like these}
    :: computer & ink jet printer
    :: iron
    :: scissors

    STEP ONE: design what you want on your bag


    I made these simple banners with each of my children’s numbers, but you could do anything you like. An initial would be cute, favorite quote or word, clipart you love … anything you like. Just design in whatever program you are comfortable with { is a good free one} formatted on an 8.5 x 11 document.

    STEP TWO: print onto transfer sheet


    Make sure you print in reverse {your print out will look like a mirror image of what you designed}. Your program may have an option for t-shirt transfer for the media type and it will reverse automatically. If not, you can reverse the image before you print. Not sure how? Google “reverse image in ___ ” and fill in whatever design software you are using.  You should be able to find an easy solution.

    STEP THREE: cut out design, leaving a small border of white


    STEP FOUR – SEVEN: follow the directions on the transfer paper packaging


    put your design face down on your bag . press iron firmly for about 30 seconds, moving slowly across paper . let cool . peel off paper backing

    You end up with a custom bag that is super versatile, and pretty darling, too.


    We’ll use ours this summer for swim lessons.


    But they also work great for overnight stays, dance class, piano lessons, trick-or-treating, easter egg hunting, library book toting. My kids received monogrammed bags as a party favor a few years ago and we’ve used them for everything. They wash up well for the first few washes, but the transfers will probably start to fade or peel over time.  But, really, by that point, you’ll probably want a new design anyway so go ahead and replace them when the time comes.

    Multi-purpose, inexpensive, cute and simple to make: pretty much the perfect project!

    9 thoughts on “diy tote bag”

    1. I would also love to use the download if you are willing to share. Tote bags for swimming lessons is a great idea!

    2. Love this idea!! How did you find the banner to start with? Was it just a clipart image you started with and inserted into the program as a jpg? I love custom designs but always wonder how to get a base image to start with.

      1. I created the banner in Illustrator just drawing it out with the pencil tool. I’ll do a tutorial soon about how to make simple shapes like this.

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