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Project

Photo-Transfer Tote Bag

Use a simple transfer process to put your favorite photos onto a stylish tote bag for a wonderful handmade gift.

Introduction

Make your tote bag one of a kind by embellishing it with a picture of your liking.

Resources
Iron-on transfer paper is available at crafts or office-supply stores. Canvas totes are available at L.L. Bean. Zippered pouches are available at American Apparel.

Materials

  • Photo of a child, pet, or just about anything
  • Computer and ink-jet printer
  • Iron-on transfer paper
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Canvas tote or zippered pouch

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Upload or scan the photo to a computer. Print the photo onto a sheet of iron-on transfer paper and cut out with a pair of scissors or craft knife. You may choose to cut out the entire photo or just the subject's silhouette for a different effect.

  2. Step 2

    Iron the image onto a canvas tote or zippered pouch according to the paper manufacturer's instructions.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, December 2008

Reviews (19)

  • 2 Apr, 2011

    You can get a cheap plain canvas tote at Hobby Lobby. It is very durable. I have had mine since Christmas 2001. My boys wrote on one for me for Christmas. They even wash well.

  • 11 Nov, 2010

    if you can't find cheap enough tote bags, check some unconventional locations. i make a bag like this a few years ago and i bought the bag an army navy store. i don't remember how much it was, but i don't think that it was that expensive. also, try thrift stores. there's nothing saying that you have to use a tote bag. any canvas or fabric bag will work.

  • 18 Sep, 2010

    ElyseLucie, thank you for reminding me about Dharma Trading Company. I love its site and products. I learned about Dharma when participating in a Shibori Workshop. The instructor purchased the workshop supplies there that we all used.

  • 8 Apr, 2010

    I'm having problems finding a tote that isn't $26.00. That is way too high. I am disappointed that Martha didn't sell these on her site for a much better price.

  • 8 Apr, 2010

    I'm having problems finding a tote that isn't $26.00. That is way too high. I am disappointed that Martha didn't sell these on her site for a much better price.

  • 13 Mar, 2009

    Wow! I think somebody must work for Dharma Trading Co! Cute idea, think I will make a couple of them!

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I found great prices and several different kinds of transfer paper at Dharma Trading Company. www.dharmatrading.com
    They sell to fiber arts people, artists, etc.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I found great prices and several different kinds of transfer paper at Dharma Trading Company. www.dharmatrading.com
    They sell to fiber arts people, artists, etc.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I found great prices and several different kinds of transfer paper at Dharma Trading Company. www.dharmatrading.com
    They sell to fiber arts people, artists, etc.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I found great prices and several different kinds of transfer paper at Dharma Trading Company. www.dharmatrading.com
    They sell to fiber arts people, artists, etc.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    For the nylon tote, consider printing the image on a piece of fabric, then sewing or gluing that over the screen printing. You could embellish the edges to make it look like a frame. Another idea is to stitch or glue a clear plastic pocket over the printing, then slip in photos that you can change at will.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    For the nylon tote, consider printing the image on a piece of fabric, then sewing or gluing that over the screen printing. You could embellish the edges to make it look like a frame. Another idea is to stitch or glue a clear plastic pocket over the printing, then slip in photos that you can change at will.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    For the nylon tote, consider printing the image on a piece of fabric, then sewing or gluing that over the screen printing. You could embellish the edges to make it look like a frame. Another idea is to stitch or glue a clear plastic pocket over the printing, then slip in photos that you can change at will.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    For the nylon tote, consider printing the image on a piece of fabric, then sewing or gluing that over the screen printing. You could embellish the edges to make it look like a frame. Another idea is to stitch or glue a clear plastic pocket over the printing, then slip in photos that you can change at will.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    For the nylon tote, consider printing the image on a piece of fabric, then sewing or gluing that over the screen printing. You could embellish the edges to make it look like a frame. Another idea is to stitch or glue a clear plastic pocket over the printing, then slip in photos that you can change at will.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    Not to worry! The image itself gets transferred, and the paper peels off. It's a good idea to "set" the image, according to the paper manufacturer's directions, and after that, you can wash the bag (or T-shirt or whatever) normally (no bleach, cold water), wear it in the rain, or what have you.

    One major point: The image on the fabric will appear reversed from your original print, so if you want it to appear as it does in the original, flip the image horizontally before printing.

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I wonder how the iron on transfer "paper" will fare if the bag gets rained on?

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I wonder how the iron on transfer "paper" will fare if the bag gets rained on?

  • 10 Mar, 2009

    I've been looking for a way to cover the screen printing on otherwise useless waterproof nylon seminar tote bags. Might have to use glue rather than iron on so I don't melt the waterproof coating. Hmmmm...