The Easiest Technique to Customize a Tote Bag

words Alexa Wang

With environmental awareness on the rise, more and more people are switching to the use of cotton and canvas tote bags instead of plastic shopping bags. However most of the bags readily available in the market are either too plain, or too common.

For the fashionable environmentalist, lugging around a blank, boring, “vanilla” bag may put a damper on their style. So don’t blend in when you’re born to stand out, use your creativity and a few most basic craft skills, to make your bag choices environment friendly, super stylish, and a true reflection of who you are!

Luckily tote bags are super simple to customize, and the design options are practically limitless. As long as you stock up on a few basic staples, this tutorial will show you how to easily customize a plain canvas bag. This technique is SO cheap and easy, and the results are so great, that you will want to make a different bag for every purpose, for every day of the week, every season, every occasion, every mood swing… you get the drift.

Customize Tote Bag

Things you will need to get started

  • Some plain canvas tote bags (preferably a light colour)
  • Some transfer paper sheets (readily available at craft stores and online)
  • An clothes iron
  • A pair of Scissors
  • A flat sheet of card or wooden sheet for support
  • A design of your choice

Step 1: Selecting an Appropriate Design

The first thing you need to do is to decide what exactly you wish to print on your bag. It could be a quote or a picture you like. You could pick an image that reflects your fandoms and interests. You also need to decide on how large you want your selected design to appear on the bag, and also where you would like to place it. You can search for a design online, or if you’re good at that sort of thing, create your own design using basic computer tools Adobe Photoshop or Paint. One thing to keep in mind here is that you MUST flip the final image horizontally or vertically before saving it, otherwise the design will appear as a mirror image when you transfer it on to your bag.

Step 2: Printing your Design on to Transfer Paper

Once you have finalized you design, and ensured that you have flipped the text and image, all you have to do is click print on your device and send it straight to the printer. Any printer will work, just remember to load it with a sheet of transfer paper. Double check and see that the paper is inserted correctly so that the design gets printed on the side of transfer paper that is blank. Print your design and cut it out of needed.

Tote Bag art

Step 3: Transferring your Design on to your Bag

Make sure that your canvas bag is ironed out and free of any wrinkles. Lay it out flat on a smooth and hard surface. Place a wooden or cardboard sheet carefully inside the bag. The sheets should be right under the place where you want the image to be transferred. This will ensure that your design doesn’t get printed on the other side of the bag.

Then, plug in your iron. Place the transfer sheet with the design face down on your bag. Carefully, iron the design onto the bag. You should start ironing on one edge, work your way into the middle, and then slowly move it away and out the side of the other edge. The heat setting of the iron varies so you should check the requirements and instructions on the packet of your transfer sheets.

Once the design has had a few minutes to cool down, slowly peel the backing off from the back of the transfer paper. Be careful to let it cool and peel slowly and carefully, otherwise portions of the print might get ripped back up with the paper backing.

Et Voila! Happy Tote-ing.


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