While I do have a great stock of (rapidly depleting) carrier bags in the larder, I am pretty good about going out shopping with my reusable bags. I usually have the canvas bags popped in my handbag, and have them in the car and strewn around the house. They are really handy if I’m nipping out with N for an appointment and need to take some books or toys out with us, or if I’m doing a bit of a shop round town.
I’ve got quite a selection, most are freebies advertising various companies, and a couple I’ve bought. But I fancied decorating my own after seeing I could bulk buy a few. Ten plain cotton bags purchased, and I was up for a decorating afternoon.
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I have to admit, I’m not the most creative or artistic of people, so I kept to simple designs, but you could really go to town on your own designs.
What you need to make your own reusable bag
The how to
- Decide on your design
- Iron the bag
- Put the piece of card inside the bag, to prevent the paint going through to the other side. You want to keep the bag/card as still as possible so you could masking tape it down temporarily
- Paint on your design
- Wait for the fabric paint to dry – I left mine overnight, but it’ll depend on what your paint instructions are
The reusable bags should be washable, although leave it a bit longer to do so just in case. I only did one side of each bag but once the side is dry you could turn over and repeat the pattern on the reverse as well.
I did a few designs. The bird and tree design was inspired by a picture I’d seen on a cushion. I drew the main part freehand on a piece of paper, popped it inside the bag and used it to trace over with the paints.
The crayons I created a pencil stencil from card, cut out the design. Then painted within the stencil to build up the colour gradually and keep it within the lines.
I was really pleased how this one turned out. It would be great for a children’s art bag.
The third design was a spiral of roses.
I’ve still got 7 bags left so I might let N loose on them. Because the bags I bought were cheap, I found one was coming apart at one seam, so just check yours before using because you might need to re-stitch up one side.
If you don’t want to paint the bags, you could stitch on other decorations, try tie-dying or iron on transfers of your own photos.
I think they’re a great way to give a reusable bag a personal touch, and could be a great alternative to t shirt painting for children.
Have you ever used fabric paints or decorated bags?