Hooray! I’m super excited to finally be able to share the project with you that I’ve been working on in partnership with Ford, using the Fiesta Movement as my inspiration. You might recall the sneak peek I shared a few weeks ago with the video that I used as my concept springboard…did any of you guess what I was up to? Well, here it is! A fun craft party with Fiesta-worthy DIY tote bags!
This party set-up is really simple, and the project results are so fun to customize and create, that there’s no reason not to host a craft party with a few of your favorite friends a.s.a.p.! I hope by the end of this post you’ll be feeling inspired to put together your own take on this challenge…and if you do, I’d love for you to stop back and share the results with us all! Now let’s Fiesta!
Setting up the party is half the fun. Here are few tips for setting up your craft party:
- To protect your work surface(s), use a roll of cheap white craft paper as a covering. Guests will feel more comfortable if they aren’t worrying about spills.
- For the best flow, create several different stations for various portions of the tote bag creation: 1. Template tracing and cutting mat station 2. Ironing station 3. Painting / glittering station (this one should take up the largest portion) 4. (optional) food station
- Cups and mugs work great for keeping craft supplies for different tasks organized and easy to access. Plates work well for holding paint bottles, so that you limit drips and spills during crafting.
- Don’t forget the snacks. I just kept it simple with some store-bought cookies and bottled soda. Feel free to get as creative with the food as you want, or scrap it all together, if it doesn’t fit in with your idea of the perfect party.
San Pellegrino Limonata…yum! Now we’re ready to make some totes!
Freezer Paper Stencil Tote Bag How-to:
Gather your supplies. For a basic freezer paper stenciled tote you will need:
- Free Printable: Decorative Shape + Alphabet Stencils
- Cotton tote bag | I found a good assortment at a local craft store, but they can also be found by searching for “blank tote bags” on Amazon
- Freezer Paper | available in the kitchen storage / paper goods section of many grocery stores, or here.
- Craft knife
- Self-healing cutting mat | In a pinch you can use a thick piece of cardboard in place of the cutting mat, but your results will be more precise and your craft knife blade will last longer with the mat.
- Acrylic Paints or Fabric Paints | Any colors you’d like
- Textile Paint Medium | If using acrylic paint you will need to use a fabric paint medium to convert the paint into a fabric paint. I purchased mine from the craft store.
- Paint palette or small dishes for mixing paint
- Sponge-tip paint brushes | These can be found at craft and hardware stores
- Assorted paint brushes
- Scrap cardboard | Trimmed to fit the size of your tote
- Iron + ironing board
Step 1. Download and print the Decorative Shape + Alphabet Templates onto standard copy paper. Place a piece of freezer paper (waxed side down) on top of the template design you’d like to use so that you can see it faintly through the paper, and use a pencil to trace the design(s). Keep in mind that the interior portion of your stencil will be cut away and will represent the design that will be painted onto your bag.
Step 2. If you will be using text, you will need to trace the letters you want to use as well. They don’t need to be lined up with your final design concept during the tracing phase, since each portion will be cut out separately in the next step.
Step 3. Place your freezer paper on top of a self-healing mat and use your craft knife to carefully cut out your design. I recommend cutting out small elements, such as text first, so that the paper around it gives the design stability while you trim.
Step 4. Finish cutting out the larger design elements and set the paper scraps aside (or dispose of them).
Step 5. Place your design (waxed side down) onto your tote bag where you would like the final placement to be. Heat your iron to a medium temperature and make sure that the steam setting is turned off. Slowly iron the freezer paper (waxed side down) onto your tote bag until it adheres fully. Pay special attention to any fine points and corners…you want to be sure these are attached well.
Step 6: If you will be applying text to your design, you will iron each letter on individually at this point. Applying text templates (resist templates) the way that I did here creates a barrier to the paint in the shape of the text, so that the final text design is seen with the tote material, not in paint (refer to the final completed tote image if needed).
Step 7: Now you’re ready to choose your paint colors and mix up your paint solution. Refer to manufacturer directions on the textile medium bottle when adding to your acrylic paint. If you are using pre-mixed fabric paint, you can simply select your colors and go to the next step.
Step 8: Place your pre-cut piece of scrap cardboard inside your tote bag, and then place a piece of freezer paper (waxed side facing up towards the fabric) on top of the cardboard. This will keep the paint from leaking through your bag. Your your sponge-tip paint brush and begin applying paint to the open areas inside your ironed stencils with an up and down (not side to side) dabbing motion. Be careful not to over-saturate your design and be sure that you’ve gotten paint into all corners. Set your bag aside to let it dry. Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. Note: If your bag looks a little wrinkled, don’t fret…everything will smooth out during the heat-setting step (later).
Step 9: Once your paint is dry, slowly peel off the larger paper stencil(s).
Step 10: If needed, use the tip of a craft knife to help loosen the edges of smaller paper stencil elements, and peel those off as well.
Step 11: (optional) Use a fabric marker to add fine details to your tote – such as the twine I drew for the bunting banners on my bag.
Step 12: (optional) When you peel off your stencil there may be a few edges where the paint is not as crisp as you’d like it to be. Use a fine-tipped paintbrush with a bit of matching paint to even things up.
Note: Acrylic fabric paint will need to be heat set with an iron once your design has dried fully…this will also help to release any wrinkles that occurred during the stenciling process. Refer to manufacturer directions on the textile medium bottle for heat setting and laundering instructions.
Woohoo! You just threw an awesome craft party! Now your lucky guests have a totes (har har) awesome accessory to take home with them!
Here are two alternate versions that you can also share with your party guests:
Create a glittered design by painting the inside of your template with fabric glue (I used Jewel It) and then sprinkling the glued portion with glitter (I used Martha Stewart brand glitter). When the glue has dried, tap off excess glitter and then peel off the paper template to reveal your completed design.
And for a super quick DIY bag (if stencils are not your thing)…simply paint freehand designs (such as this polka dot pattern) directly onto the bags. Voila! I can’t wait to see what you’ll create! xo Ez