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Personalized Photo-Transfer Tote Bags

Keep cherished memories within arm’s reach by decorating a plain canvas tote bag with photos of the first day of school, a milestone birthday, or a favorite family vacation. Watch the complete how-to video

Photography: Mike Krautter

Source: Martha Stewart


  • Scissors

  • Canvas tote bag


  1. Cut out printed (or photocopied) photos, text, or clip-art patterns using scissors. Note: The image or text will appear in reverse after it’s transferred, so you may want to flip text horizontally before printing or choose the "mirror image" option on your photocopier.

  2. Using a paintbrush, coat the printed side of the image with an even layer of decoupage photo transfer medium. The decoupage medium for dark surfaces will leave a white background around the image once it's transferred, while the medium for light or clear surfaces will leave a transparent background, allowing the canvas to show through. 

  3. Position the image, coated side down, on the tote bag wherever you desire. Press down lightly, smoothing out any wrinkles. Let dry on a flat surface for 24 hours.

  4. Using a damp foam sponge, start to rub away the paper, rewetting the sponge as needed. Continue rubbing until all of the paper peels off, revealing the image underneath. Let the decoupage cure completely by air-drying it for 72 hours. The finished bag is machine washable.

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