DIY Striped Canvas Bag

Today was C’s last day of Adventureland, the mom’s day out program she’s been in since last September. Despite a rough start (mostly on my part) Adventureland has been such a huge blessing for both of us. I have some guilt-free me time and Charlotte (social butterfly that she is) gets to spend time with friends in a safe, structured, super fun environment that she loves! Her experience has been so successful thanks in large part to her wonderful teachers. You can tell these ladies genuinely love the kids in their class, and the kids love them back!

C with her wonderful teachers on her birthday

Even though I have a lot on my plate this week it was very important to me to give each one of Baby Girl’s teachers a little appreciation gift. After painting canvas bags at a MOPS craft night I knew it would be the perfect project to make as a teacher thank you present. It’s quick and easy, and turns out super cute if I do say so myself. 🙂

– Canvas tote bags (available at any craft store. I actually found these at Walmart)
– Painter’s tape (I used 1 inch, the narrowest I could find)
– wax paper (or cardboard)
– paint sponges (available in multi-size packs at craft stores or Walmart)
– craft paint
– pencil
– ruler
Step 1: Start taping off your stripes

I started with a piece of painter’s tape at the very top of the bag, following the stitches of the hem. Then using my ruler and a pencil I measured down 1.5 inches (I wanted to start with a wide stripe). I made a mark on both sides of the bag, lined up the tape, and stuck it down. Make sure your press the tape down firmly to help prevent paint bleed.

Step 2: Finish taping of the stripes

I wanted a variety of stripe widths, so I just made a wide stripe then a narrower one, then wider, then narrower until I got to the bottom of the bag. I stopped before the sides angled in, since that’s the very bottom and won’t really show (and would also be hard to paint because it’s so bumpy and wrinkled). Oh, and I taped the ends of the tape stripes to the table, to keep the bag from moving while I painted.

Step 3: Paint your stripes

I found some neon green and neon pink paint that I was so excited about using (hey, if the eighties are back might as well embrace it) but decided to pair each with a more muted tone so as not to blind anyone accidentally. I just squirted some paint onto a paper plate, dipped the sponge in it, and went to town. Make sure you use an up and down, bouncing motion with the sponge instead of going back and forth like a paintbrush. This should help prevent any bleeding. The neon paint really was super bright, this picture doesn’t do it justice! I painted the wide blue stripes first (guess they are almost the same color as the painter’s tape, which makes them hard to see, sorry) then followed with the narrower neon green stripe. I love the way it turned out, a fun spin on preppy. 🙂

Step 4: Carefully remove the tape

I waited until the paint was almost but not quite completely dry, just in case the tape didn’t come off easily. But it peeled right off, leaving nearly perfect stripes behind! I was afraid of paint bleed, but I really didn’t have any problems. If you do get paint bleed you can always touch it up with a small paint brush, but as long as you press your tape down hard and use an up and down, “pouncing” motion with the sponge you should be good to go. Sorry about the weird colors in this picture, my camera didn’t know what to do with the brightness of the pink and I overcompensated when trying to tone it down.

Step 5 (optional): Let it dry, then fill the bag with “summer survival” goodies!

I wanted to make these sort of like a “summer survival kit” for C’s teachers so I stuffed them with  puzzle books, lip balm, gum, nail polish, and some Sonic gift cards. After all their hard work they deserve the best, most relaxing summer ever!

I decided to make a different patterned bag for myself, just for fun. 🙂 The process is the same, so I’ll just show you the step by step in pictures so you can see how I taped off my design.

I used three colors, and didn’t want any colors next to each other, so I went in a diagonal pattern across the bag with each color.

Turned out pretty cute, huh?
Did you give fun presents to your kid’s teachers this year? Or is the beginning of summer still weeks away for you? I hope this little project inspires you to remember that summer is coming!

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