Spring and summer are the seasons for flea and farmers markets. And of course we need bags to carry our vintage finds, bundles of flowers and vegetables. What’s perfect for a summery tote bag? Otomi patterns in bright colors!
Supplies for this project:
- Beige or white plain canvas tote bags – you can find these at most craft and hobby stores in different sizes
- Otomi Folk Art Stencil – I used the small furniture size
- Royal Stencil Cremes in Frosted Lilac and Peacock Fancy
- Stencil brush
- Stencil adhesive spray
- Paper towel
- Decorative handbag handles – I used the handles from Everything Mary and Purse n-alize-it! from JoAnn.
- Grommets and hooks to attach the handles to the tote bag – I used attachments from Everything Mary from JoAnn.
- Scissors or sewing seam ripper
Optional supplies for tassel:
- Tassels in different colors
- Beads with holes big enough for the tassel string to pass through – I used Darice beads found at JoAnn
Regarding the choice of paint color, you can stencil the Otomi pattern with one color, or you can stencil with a variety of colors. Otomi textiles can be found in both, bright colors as well as more subdued palettes.
Before beginning to stencil, there are two things to keep in mind that will help you get a good results:
1. Dab or “offload” your brush on a paper towel to remove extra paint from the brush. Your brush should be almost dry when you paint. This will help you get crisp lines and prevent the paint from bleeding under the stencil.
2. Spray a light layer of stencil adhesive on the stencil, to put it in place on the fabric. This will prevent the fabric from moving from under the stencil. With these two steps you should be able to paint on the fabric with ease!
The coolest thing about stenciling on light backgrounds is, because the Mylar stencil is also light, the pattern is a bit obscured before you start painting. Then, as you start stenciling, the pattern magically reveals itself like it did while stenciling this tote bag. The animal and floral patterns gradually emerged to reveal a bunny here and a rooster there with sprays of beautiful foliage in between.
If your tote bag fabric is light, you might want to place cardboard inside to make sure the paint doesn’t bleed through. My canvas tote bag fabric is pretty thick, so I didn’t have any problem with that.
Once the Otomi pattern is stenciled, your tote bag is ready for the summer markets. However, I added a couple of extra things to make it look prettier!
Add a custom handle. While shopping for plain tote bags at my local JoAnn store, there was a big display of handbag handles to make your own DIY bags. They’re available in leather, vinyl, wood, bamboo, plastic, etc. The display also had the supplies needed to attach the handles to a bag, like grommets, rings and hooks. So that gave me the cool idea to replace the fabric handles with unique handles for a more dressy and custom look. That store sure had a smart merchandiser!
With scissors or a seam ripper from sewing supplies, remove the fabric handles from the tote bags. Then, attach the handles to the bag. How you do this depends on the handle hardware you choose. There’s a variety of hooks and rings that are made to attach handbag handles. The hardware that I chose had snaps and grommets that you poke through the fabric and snap together.
Add a tassel. Lately I have noticed at stores like Anthropologie, that there are bundles of colorful trendy tassels dangling from bags. To create this look, you can choose a few tassels in colors that contrast with the color of the stenciled pattern. Thread a few beads into the tassle strings. I used metallic beads, but you could also use colorful wooden beads. Then thread the tassle strings either onto a handbag handle ring if the hardware you chose has rings, or put the tassels on a keychain ring and then attach the keychain to the handbag handle.
And with that, you have a fun, festive and colorful tote bag ready for those summer shopping sprees. This Otomi Tote bag makes for a thoughtful one-of-a-kind gift too. You can even paint with your gift recipient’s favorite color. My mom and my sister will be receiving these bags for their summer fun!
If you think your friends would like to know how to make this Otomi tote bag, be sure to share it!