How To Customize a Canvas Bag

Canvas bags are a convenient way to carry things around, whether these be school books, a change of clothes for the gym, or even your lunch. When not needed, canvas bags can even be easily folded. You can conveniently carry a canvas bag in your backpack or shoulder bag, so you have extra storage in case needed. What’s even better is that canvas bags are easy to customize, with iron-on decals, or even fabric paint.

What you need:

  • Canvas bag
  • Iron-on decals
  • Hot iron
  • Flat surface for ironing (an big ironing board will do)
  • Fabric paints

Iron-on decals

  1. Purchase iron-on decals from a crafts store. Some book stores will also carry these items. You can usually find iron-on decals in arts and crafts sections of department stores, too.
  2. Wash your canvas bag in the laundry and air dry. Your canvas bag should be sufficiently clean for iron-on decals to attach properly without peeling off.
  3. Lay your canvas bag atop the ironing board, with the front side facing you.
  4. Position the iron-on decal on the bag. Big decals usually go best at the center, but it’s up to you where to position the decals. Be creative. Make sure that the decal side is attached to the bag, with the transfer sheet facing away from the bag.
  5. Turn the bag inside out and lay it on the ironing board, making sure the decal is still in position. At this point, you can already pre-heat your iron to high setting.
  6. Iron the inside of the bag, with the decal side inside, facing the iron.
  7. Turn the bag right-side out again and lay it on the ironing board, with the transfer sheet facing you.
  8. Iron the front of the bag, firmly ironing over the decal. Be sure to iron the corners and edges properly. You can use the tip of the iron to ensure these will adequately adhere to the canvas surface.
  9. Gently peel off the transfer sheet. The decal should now be firmly attached to the bag. Let the decal cool.

Be careful not to iron too much when working with decals, as too much heat will render the adhesive ineffective.

You can also iron on letter decals. You will need to purchase letters separately. The instructions would be similar to the steps in ironing on a decal.

  1. Arrange the letters on the surface of a big transfer sheet. Lay these out according to the name, word or sentence you want to form, with the letters and words in reverse. This should be a mirror image, because it will be in reverse once ironed on to the bag.
  2. Attach the decal letters onto the bag, with the letter side attached to the bag, and the transfer sheet facing you.
  3. Iron these as you would a bigger decal (reverse side of the bag first, and then front). Let the iron stay on the decals for about 10 seconds.
  4. After ironing each side, let the bag cool for a few minutes.

Aside from ironing on decals, you can also do it freeform with fabric paints. You can draw, paint or even use your fingers and hands to create an abstract design on your canvas bag.


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