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Making Tote Bags into Usable Artwork

I don’t know what it is about kids, but for some reason, they love drawing and painting on materials other than the paper they usually use. And while I don’t mean walls and furniture, it may explain the appeal. One of my older daughter’s favorite things to do is to draw with fabric markers on these little bags that you can buy at the craft store. She whips through them like crazy, making little bags for everyone she knows. We have found them so fun to make with a play date, as a birthday party craft, or even as holders for special gifts.

Recently, I decided since she loves doing the mini-bags so much, why not let both my girls decorate bags that they could actually use? I made the bags myself with the some cheap heavy white cotton and printed fabric I had in my stash, but only because I thought of the project and wanted to get right to it after naptime. Had I thought of it in advance, I probably would have just bought the larger plain tote bags at the craft store. You could also use one of the free ones you undoubtedly have hanging around – it seems like everyone is giving out reusable canvas grocery bags these days and some of them are completely plain except for a small logo. I gave the girls non-toxic acrylic paint and brushes and let them paint whatever they wanted to. It was a great craft that both girls could do, and look how cute they came out. A whole new way to show off their artwork.

homemade cloth bags my children made

But I can’t finish this post without telling you to check out the canvas tote bag post on Inchmark. I love this idea and it uses those same tote bags. She made hers for a graduation gift but what a great idea for kids’ birthday gifts. You could paint the letter a fun color and fill the bag with craft supplies, books or other letter-themed gifts. I can’t wait to try it.

And if for some reason you do feel like making your own tote bags, I found a compilation of good tutorials here.

One comment

  1. Anonymous July 1, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Great idea for a playdate activity!

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