Monday, 20 October 2014

Graphic Canvas Tote DIY


Arts and crafts of all kinds have always been part of my adult life; I very much enjoy drawing and painting, but I also never get tired of decorating cupcakes and making yarn pompoms. Like most people, I'm a kid at heart. Yet for some reason, I left fabric painting behind me as I grew up.

As a child I LOVED to paint anything that I could wear. It was thrilling to create a piece of art as permanent and special as a T-shirt. Neon puff paints were a particular thrill, and one summer I used fabric markers to create a series of T-shirts for all of my girlfriends.

But as I said, I didn't carry a love for wearable puff paint with me into adulthood. I guess decorating my own clothing and accessories seemed childish. And maybe I was afraid to waste my money making something that would just look tacky in the end. I don't know how many times I've pulled a perfectly nice knit cardigan off the rack at Value Village, only to turn it around and come face to face with a bejeweled embroidered unicorn, the artistic masterpiece, no doubt, of some fabulously creative housewife with a bedazzler and a passion for mystical animals.

I suppose at the very least I know what to steer clear of, no sparkling horns for this girl!
And not only am I empowered by that knowledge, but recently I spotted these great canvas bags at my local art store. They come is three sizes (the largest is only $6) and they are literally a blank 'canvas' (harharhar) that I can paint anything on! It really sparked my interest in fabric painting. So I bought some fabric paint, and before I knew it, I was back at the store buying more bags and more paint, and now I'm going to be giving out complimentary tote bags to anyone who pops by for a visit!


If you are going to do some fabric painting, head to your nearest art store (I bought all my supplies at Deserres) and look for fabric paint, fabric markers (Peboo is a good brand), and sponge brushes. 
The best part is deciding what to paint! For my tote, I decided to do a large graphic pattern.
I was inspired by the TTC signs. See the little chevron arrow graphic in the middle? Well, I thought that might look cute on a bag. I decided to paint it in gold, so I bought gold paint and a gold glitter medium for extra shine. 
I made my stencil out of painter's tape and electrical tape.
Then I used a flat end sponge brush to apply the paint. Brushes like this are great for stenciling, because the paint is applied in light layers and is less likely to seep under the tape and ruin your sharp lines.
When I finished filling in with my gold fabric paint, I went over it with a gold glitter fabric medium
I highly recommend using the glitter mediums when painting metallics. Mine really helped to amp up the look of the gold paint. Without the glitter, the gold was slightly muddy looking. 
Tape comes off and the pattern looks great! There was only one small area where the line was blurred on the edge. No biggie.
Ta da!
Look at that sparkle! Maybe I will make that unicorn cardi after all...

Here is another bag that I made:

This one is a belated birthday gift for the daughter of my close friend. I would carry this tote, but we'll just have to hope that it's cool enough for a kid! 
I'm sorry, but that is hilARious! I am hilarious.
For this bag I used blue and red fabric paint and a black fabric marker. 
I tried out a 'fake calligraphy' technique for the tote bag lettering. It's simple enough to do; just write out the word in thin script, then go back and thicken each letter on every down stroke. For example to write a W you move your pen down (thick), then up (thin), then down, then up. Cool, right?

To set the fabric paint or maker, all that is needed is a quick ironing on the reverse side. 

To paint on loose fabrics, like cotton or jersey, stretch the material over a heavy plastic cutting board before applying paint.

 Last step: Enjoy cute canvas tote with bright pink toque!