Monday, September 17, 2012

No-Sew Stenciled Bags

This weekend a friend and I finally broke out my stencils. I bought both Ed Roth's book Stencil.1 and Stencil Me In by  Marthe Le Van a while back but hadn't done any projects with them yet. When I got home I was inspired to do more. I bought these canvas drawstring bags a long time ago thinking I would decorate them and use them to hold knitted items that I gave to people as gifts. My idea was to use them as shopping bags when buying bulk foods, but they have potential for so much more.

Here is the end result. Scroll down for the step by step.

These bags are tiny drawstring backpacks for kids. I think I bought ten of them at Michaels and they cost about a dollar each, or less. To make bags similar to the ones above, you will need

-canvas drawstring bags (available at Michael's in the kids' crafts aisle)
-stencils, which you can purchase or make yourself
-fabric paint (I recommend the pump spray kind, not the trigger kind)
-cardboard or a lot of scarp paper
-masking or painters tape
-paper towels for clean-up

Total cost: About $10.00 for a four pack of paints and four bags with a 40% off single item coupon from Michaels.

To make the bags into regular drawstring bags I cut the strings where they were sewn to the bags on the bottom. Be careful not to cut a hole in the bag when you do this! Tie big knots in the ends of the string or put large beads on them so they stay put and don't fall out of the bag.

When you do this you will have two strings. You can pull one out and put it aside to use for another project, or go ahead and leave both in. I chose to go with only one string. 

If you want, you can end here and have yourself a perfectly find drawstring bag. But what fun is that? 

Iron your bags so your stencil will lay flat. If you have a pet, you may want to go over them with a lint brush or tape first to remove any pet hair that may have accumulated. 

After the bag is ironed, place a piece of cardboard or a stack of paper inside of it to keep the paint from bleeding through. 

Position your stencil where you want it and tape it in place. I used a lot of tape on the sides so I wouldn't have to cover it with paper. 

Mask out any areas you don't want paint to get on with tape and extra paper or cardboard. You can use your finger to hold down areas that might be lifting. Yes, you will get paint on your finger. It washes off. 

I don't have any pictures of myself actually painting the stencil because I only have two hands. All of the stencils I used for this project are from the Stencil.1 book. If you need more instructions, or want to see more ideas for stencil projects, check out Ed's website

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