5+ DIY ideas to dress up a canvas bag

A traditional canvas bag may not seem like much, but with a little creative inspiration, you can turn these mundane sacks into gorgeous works of personalized art. While the blank canvas of the bag is simple, it's an ideal space for you to try out any number of appealing designs. Canvas bags are good for the environment by reducing plastic use, but they can also be eye-catching. No longer will your bag be boring once your creative touch makes it worthy to take out on the town!
These bags are so practical and convenient. They can be used to haul yoga gear to the gym, keep grocery shopping simple or act as extra arms when you need to keep kid goodies in one place. No matter what role the bag plays, you can find fun ways to add personality to the exterior. Whether it’s a quick tie-dye job for a groovy upgrade or a ruffled edge for refinement, there’s no limit to inspiring possibilities. From sequins and sparkle, to tassels and paint splatter, a little goes a long way to give your canvas bag new and fabulous style.
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How to make a tie-dye canvas bag
No longer just for t-shirts, the art of tie-dye can be just as captivating when used on a simple canvas bag. By adding splashes of color, you'll turn heads to your tote. Twist and bunch at least three sections of the bag for a well-balanced design. Secure twists with rubber bands, and apply tie-dye in shades of green and blue for a more natural look. Of course, you can always mix and match different colors according to your taste and preference. After you rinse out the bag and release the twists, you'll love the beautiful new pattern of blue leaves. Carry this tie-dye bag to a farmers’ market or hang it in the home next to greenery as a decorative accent. See how to make it here.
How to make a paint-splatter canvas bag
Sometimes the thrill of being creative lies in the chance to get messy. Have a blast with your canvas bag makeover by taking a modern art approach. Place a plain black canvas bag on a working surface that doesn’t need protecting, and let the paint colors fly. Saturate your paintbrush with pink, orange, yellow, purple and blue acrylic hues. Then run a finger along the paint-filled bristles while aiming the brush at the bag. Once the finger releases the bristles, paint flies freely towards the canvas and sticks at random. Add as much or as little paint as you want to create a distinctive splatter design. Once dry, your colorful bag will work well as a yoga accessory but could just as easily be an arm bag for a fun night out. Learn how to perfect the technique here.
How to make a felt letter canvas bag
Felt is a funky material to add to a canvas bag and ideal for customizing with an initial. Even better, you only need minimal sewing skills to complete this aesthetic upgrade. Simply cut a stylized letter out of construction paper as a stencil, then use a Sharpie to transfer the letter to green felt. Apply the same strategy to create accent décor cutouts like leaves to surround the letter. Attach the felt letter and leaves to the center of the bag with sewing pins in case you want to reposition everything until it suits the final design. Attach the central letter with a line of stitches, then apply Leather and Suede glue to secure the decorative leaves. You can add as many details as you like before taking this bag out and about. The natural green felt makes the tote nice for a picnic or for any everyday use such as keeping keys close by. Watch how easy it is to create here.
How to make a stenciled canvas bag
Flowers have the power to lend an elegant and feminine touch to an otherwise traditional canvas bag. While stencils work well on walls and paper, they're just as effective as the framework for adding floral décor to a canvas surface. Use painter's tape works to secure the floral stencil to the bottom right-hand corner of the bag before you start decorating. Once the stencil is in place, apply a palette of pink, orange, and yellow acrylic paint to create a sophisticated rainbow of blooms. Then, add green to the stems and leaves to complete the garden look. To tie in the color scheme from top to bottom, include a brightly colored tassel keychain on the bag’s zipper. The lively springtime look makes this bag a beautiful accessory when you're heading out to pick up fresh fruits or vegetables. It also is a lovely accessory for a garden party. Learn how to design the bag here.
How to make a dip-dye canvas bag
It’s easy to associate tie-dye with vibrant starbursts of color scattered over a fabric surface. While you can apply tie-dye in this playful manner, you can also use it to create an elegant fade effect. If purple pizzazz would give a plain canvas bag new life, try dip-dying the bag's bottom and letting the color bleed upward for a subtle, yet colorful look. Simply fill a large bowl with water and add a purple tie-dye mix. Next, dip the lower edge into the tinted water so the bag can soak from the bottom. After it has absorbed a significant amount of dye, place the bag on a flat surface and use plastic gloves to gently massage the dye in from top to bottom. As it dries, the color will show up more dramatically at the bottom of the bag and fade gently as it moves up. Add a white and purple tassel to the bag’s handle to pull the look together. This easy-to-create dip-dye bag has just the right pop of color to make a splash at a lunch out or be used as all-purpose bag to tote kid’s snacks for school pickup. See the process from start to finish here.
How to make an iron-on transfer canvas bag
Iron-on designs have long been a cool and easy way to dress up fabric with customized style. The same method can take a simple canvas bag from traditional to terrific in just a few steps. Print a preferred image from the computer onto Inkjet transfer paper. To add some Southwest flair to your canvas, include a cactus or two. Once you've printed the image, cut it into a smaller rectangle, then flip it over and place it carefully on the canvas bag. Iron the back of the transfer paper and gently peel the paper away to reveal the image. To set off the colors, add a charming tassel keychain to the bag’s handles. This simple-to-style tote makes a handsome accessory when you're heading to the library or even to the beach when it’s time to get away from the grind of everyday life. Check out how easy it is to create here.
How to make a ruffled canvas bag
A canvas bag doesn’t have to be limited by its traditional, unadorned simplicity. It’s easy to give them an elegant new look with just a few quick stitches and some well-placed ribbon. After measuring the length of the bag’s opening, cut a piece of ribbon to size. Choose a deep-red hue for a flirty flair to your creation. Once the ribbon is cut, weave a needle and thread along the bottom edge. This allows the ribbon to be pulled and bunched into a charming ruffle. When the ruffle is ready to attach, line it up with the interior and top edge of the bag, then secure it with sewing pins and sew into place. You'll enjoy the sophisticated look of this bag as an accessory on a night out, or hang it in your home next to a bouquet of roses. Wherever it goes, it’s sure to please the eye. See how to create this look here.
How to make a sequin canvas bag
The sparkle and shine that sequins provide for dance costumes can be just as dazzling when applied to a canvas bag. Give a useful over-the-shoulder tote a bit more bling by securing a few strategic strips of sequins to one side. Three alternating shades of blue sequins arranged toward the top of the bag creates a fun, wave-like look. To secure the sequins in place, stitch with blue thread. When you're finished, take this canvas bag to the beach or head out for an entertaining night with friends. Learn how to create this look here.
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