Decorated Tote Bags

One of the unique things Little Crafter’s school does that I really love is something called “Interest Learning.” Twice a year, the school invites parent, grandparent, and community member volunteers to come in and teach a four-week class on Friday afternoons about a subject of their choosing.  The students, ranging in ages from Kindergarten to 8th grade, get to sign up for the class that’s most interesting to them…things like gardening, cooking, Japan, Disney, sewing, German, Russian, bird watching, and all kinds of other options!  During this last session, I taught an Arts and Crafts class.

Decorated Tote Bags

I had ten students who ranged in age from 5 to 14, and the one thing they all had in common was a love for creating things!  I wanted to expose them to a variety of types of crafting, so throughout the four weeks, we played with polymer clay, acrylic paint, air dry clay, beads and rhinestones, sun catchers, felt, and of course, glitter!  Our final project was a decorated tote bag made with permanent fabric markers donated by our friends at Tulip/I Love to Create.  Here’s how we made them and you can too!


Tulip Fabric Markers

TIME: 20 minutes
SKILL LEVEL: easy!  The five year olds did it with no assistance required.

– canvas tote bag
Tulip Permanent Fabric Markers and/or Tulip Dual-Tip Fabric Markers

Decorated tote bags

Originally, my plan was to have them decorate t-shirts, but at $3-$4 a piece, that adds up quickly when you’re buying ten of them.  Fortunately, I found these nice sized tote bags at the local dollar store for just $1 a piece.  Many of the students decorated their bags with some of their favorite symbols and characters.  Some, like Gabie, chose to write inspirational quotes on them.

Decorated Tote Bags

This young lady decorated hers for spring with flowers, clouds, and a rainbow.

Decorated tote bags

Which, apparently, was a popular idea because so did this sweet girl.  I think all of us are just more than ready for spring!

Decorated tote bags

As for my Little Crafter, he decorated his bag by drawing one of the levels in his current favorite Wii game, which has something to do with gummy bears.  I have no idea, but his daddy {who has played the game with him} took a look at it and said, “Oh, yeah!  That actually really looks like it, he did a good job!” Who knew?

decorated tote bags

All of the kiddos had a great time doing their decorating, and most of them drew on both sides of the bag.  They were all content to do it freehand, but you can also use stencils for a fun variation.  After the bags dry for 24 hours, they’ll be totally washable and the markings will be permanent.  My favorite part was that since we weren’t using paint, for once Little Crafter didn’t end up a total mess…that’s my kind of project!



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  1. This looks like it was lots of fun! Simple, sweet and immediately rewarding not to mention being able to show off your bag with use. Thanks for sharing the fun experience. Going to have to hit up my local dollar store in search of some tote bags for our next family get together.

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