Family Life


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Stencilled book bag

Stencilled tote bag - stencilled book bag 


  • 1 plain canvas tote (available at dollar stores or craft stores)
  • 1 small roll of butcher paper (waxy on one side)
  • 2 colours of acrylic or fabric paint
  • scissors
  • paint brush


1. Press the blank canvas bag with an iron before starting the project.

2. Fold squares of butcher paper with the waxy side on the inside. Centred on the folded edge, draw half the desired shape onto the folded squares of paper with a pencil, leaving extra paper above and below your shape on the fold.

3. Cut out carefully, making sure to leave both the cutout piece and the border piece completely intact.

4. Unfold both pieces of each stencil.

5. Draw a light pencil line vertically down the centre front of the bag.

6. On one side of the line, press the cut out shapes in place with the waxy side down. Use an iron set to cotton (nosteam) to stick your stencils in place on the front of the bag.

7. Paint around the outside of the cutout shapes with acrylic or fabric paint right up to the centre line and right out to the edges (or just inside the edges) of the bag. Let dry.

8. On the opposite side of the marked centre line, press the bordered cutouts in place as desired using the same iron setting.

9. Paint inside the bordered cutout shapes with the acrylic or fabric paint and let dry.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2014.

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