Here’s a quick and easy way to decorate a tote back with the kids using stencils. This DIY tote bag is so simple, and children will love using their very own tote bag they helped to create! (Post also includes a link to my favorite way to use the bags to incorporate meaningful sharing time or show-and-tell in your classroom!)
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When I came across some blank canvas tote bags at our local craft store, I thought it would be fun to grab a few and decorate them right at home. We used stencils and acrylic paints to personalize them ourselves! This post contains affiliate links.
Stenciling Your Own DIY Tote Bag
Materials for Stenciled Tote Bag
- Blank tote bags in any size you’d like (similar to this one)
- Paints (We used acrylic paints, but you could also use fabric paint)
- Paper plate (or newspaper) to squirt your paint onto
- Stenciling brushes (like these)
- Stencils (You can even make your own by cutting shapes from thin cardboard!)
Directions for Stenciled Tote Bags
2. Squirt some paint on a paper plate.
3. Place your stencil on your bag and dip your stenciling brush in the paint. Dab it over the stencil until the entire area is filled in. Gently remove your stencil.
4. Continue until you are happy with your design. Let it dry completely before using.
- Make your own stencils using thin pieces of cardboard! I cut off a side of a cereal box and punched a circle in it to make some circular stencils.
- Young children might need help holding the stencil in place as they are dabbing paint.
- If the material you are stenciling onto is thin, be sure to place some newspaper inside the back to keep the paint from seeping through to the other side.
How We Use Our Tote Bags
I love having tote bags on hand. We use them to carry our library books to and from the library, and the kids use the bags to carry goodies on car rides.
As a kindergarten teacher, I used tote bags as our sharing (or show-and-tell) bags. The kids would bring home a letter each month in the bag giving them choices of what they could bring to share (like a special photo or a book by their favorite author). The students would then bring that item back to school in the sharing bag to share with their classmates. They loved it! (You can purchase all my sharing bag lists on my Teachers Pay Teachers store!)