Monday, January 6, 2014

Homemade Christmas Part II: Monogrammed Tote

In Part I of my "Homemade Christmas" posts, I explained that I decided to make all of my presents for family members this Christmas, and I shared a tutorial for the beer coasters I made my brother. Next up is the monogrammed tote bag that I made for Sam's stepsister, Amelia. Amelia's birthday is a few days after Christmas, so this is actually more of a birthday present.

I came across the idea of using a doily to stencil a canvas bag (courtesy of it's great to be home), and thought it would be perfect for Amelia, who turned 12 this birthday. The supplies I needed were a blank canvas tote bag, fabric paint, a small foam brush, a small craft brush, a paper doily, and spray adhesive. I already had spray adhesive and the brushes on hand, so at Michael's I just grabbed green paint (Amelia's favorite color), a pack of doilies, and a canvas tote (Michael's had choices for a few different sized and styles of bags). Maybe I should have asked Michael's for some sort of sponsorship deal since they're getting so much publicity on my blog these days! And of course my blog is read and emulated by millions....

I started by laying the blank bag on a table. I liked this bag because it seems like it's a good size for holding books or packing for a day trip, and the rope handles jazz it up a little from a totally plain canvas tote. (There's a rigid insert for the bottom that keeps it flat so it doesn't sag like this picture suggests, but I took it out while stenciling so that the bag would lay totally flat.)

I played around the placement of the doily on the corner of the bag, then applied the spray adhesive to the back of the doily and pressed it flat on the bag. The adhesive was essential to keeping the doily in place while I stenciled -- it would have gotten very messy and smudgy if I had just tried to hold it in place. You can see a green mat I inserted inside the bag -- this was to make sure that nothing bled through from the front side of the bag to the back (especially paint). This mat is a flexible cutting board that our neighbors threw out a few years ago and I salvaged from the trash -- Sam loves when I do things like that ;) I use it when I'm cutting with an exacto knife, painting small objects, etc.

Then I used a foam brush to apply green paint over the edges of the doily.

While the paint was still wet I peeled off the doily, which was fairly easy to do despite the adhesive and the paint. (Sorry for the poor photos, I was doing this at night in some weird lighting, so it's hard to get a sense of the true paint color, which is dark green.)

I wanted to add a monogram inside the doily ring, so I found a font I liked in MS Word, made it fairly large, printed it, cut it out, and traced it onto the bag using a pencil. Then I used a small craft brush to carefully fill in the pencil outline with green paint. Here's what it looked like as I was getting started:

A few minutes later, I was left with the finished product:

This lighting shows the green paint much better. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and Amelia seemed to like it, so I'll call it a success! Frankly I'd love something like this for taking to the beach or around town, so maybe I'll make myself one soon!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! Lucky you, Amelia, to have a one-of-a-kind bag like this one!!!