If you have been looking for the perfect way to say ‘thank you’ to those special girls who have or will be standing by your side on one of the biggest days of your life, you’ve definitely come to the right place. With so many options out there for bridesmaid gifts, it can get a little overwhelming (and expensive and/or tacky). And you definitely don’t need more stress! This is where this adorable and simple DIY comes in. Whether your girls are sassy, fun, or sweet, they’re bound to love these bags. Because doesn’t everyone love these? Answer: totes! (get it?!)
To begin, you’ll simply need:
a blank canvas tote bag, freezer paper (can be found by the aluminum foil and plastic wrap at the grocery store), x-acto knife (or silhouette cutter, if available), sharpie marker, iron, fabric paint, and a foam brush.
First, print out the stencil design and trace it onto the freezer paper (you could even print onto the freezer paper if you tape it to a piece of card stock). Make sure the shiny side of the freezer paper is down. Then you will cut out the design using an x-acto knife. Be sure to cut out on a cutting mat, cutting board, or even a piece of cardboard. You won’t need to save the cut out letters, but don’t toss out the inside of your o’s, l’s, and e’s (you’ll need them to make your stencil).
Next, iron the stencil onto your tote. I set the iron to the cotton setting and then held it for about 30 seconds over each part of the stencil until the whole thing was stuck to the tote. For me, it was easier to iron the whole big piece first, then go back and put in the inside pieces of the letters (the centers of the l’s, e’s, and o’s) and iron them on second. Doing that made it easier to make sure they were in the right place and stayed there once I put the iron on them. Does that make sense?
Next, place a piece of cardboard (just a little bigger than your design) inside the tote. This will keep the fabric paint from going through to the back of your bag. Use a foam brush (or I ended up using a stencil brush) to dab the fabric paint onto the tote/stencil. Dabbing will help prevent the paint from leaking under the stencil. Paint at least two coats.
I pulled the stencil off while the paint was still a little wet, but waiting until it’s dry is fine too. After the paint is completely dry (usually a few hours), run a warm iron over the design to help the paint set. This will help prevent the paint from coming off if you ever need to wash your tote.
And now you’re a professional tote bag maker!!! Congrats!!!
Your stencil is reusable if you are careful with it. Below is the free download for the “ello love” stencil seen in this tutorial.