Have you gotten used to carrying your own bags for shopping? Be it groceries or clothes, most cashiers will check with you if you’re carrying your own bag. It’s a refreshing change from just handing you a plastic bag. Even paper bags need resources to make and a whole pile of unused ones generate a lot of waste.
I have various cloth bags distributed all over the place – a few in my car, a foldable one in my purse, a few next to my main door, and a few ‘fancy totes’ to be used for the upscale flea markets.
I had a few plain cotton cloth bags lying around and thought about giving them a makeover. I had never painted on fabric before and was sceptical if they’d last. After having used and washed them over the past year, I was pleasantly surprised.
I even tried embellishing some of them with beads and parts of junk jewellery that weren’t getting used, and I was thrilled with the results.
All you need are some fabric paints, a set of paintbrushes, and a design in mind.
- Wash and iron your cloth. I’ve only tried painting on cotton so it’s best to wash in case of shrinkage and iron out the creases.
- Remember to put a newspaper under your painting surface so that the colours don’t run on the back of the bag or your work table.
- With a pencil, draw out your design. If you’ve never done this before, I’d suggest going with a simple design.
- Fabric paints do not need to be mixed with water. You do need a cup of water to clean your brushes though. A wiping cloth will also come in handy to clean up messes.
- Wait for a few hours for the paint to dry before doing the outline or any highlights.
- Let it dry thoroughly. It takes about 24 hours or more if the weather is humid.
- Although most instructions say you don’t need to heat set it, I wanted to be sure the colours didn’t fade. So I ironed it after I had finished painting. Don’t iron directly on the painted surface. Keep a thin white sheet over the painting then iron on the highest heat setting.
- You can also choose to add some embellishments like beads, lace, or embroidery.
- Enjoy your new fashionable bag!
You can check out some hand-painted cotton bags for sale.
Note: Some of the links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you.