Now that it’s summer, our local farmer’s market has started back up again! I love visiting the market because it’s great fresh food and produce at pretty reasonable prices, and it’s in the school playground literally across the street from our front door! We always end up buying something, so I decided we needed a reusable tote bag to bring with us. That way, we avoid the plastic bags, and I get a cute bag to carry around!
The bag is the perfect size for taking to the market with us, and it turned out really cute! Plus, you know how I love fabric projects that don’t require a sewing machine. 🙂
DIY Graphic Canvas Tote Bag
If you want to make your own tote bag with heat transfer vinyl, here’s what you need:
- plain canvas tote bag
- Silhouette heat transfer material (use code FUNCTIONAL to buy one get one free!)
- an iron
- a Cameo (or a Portrait, or scissors)
The first thing you need to do is design your graphic. I found a cute vintage farmer’s market logo and turned it into a cuttable design in Silhouette’s Studio software. If you like the graphic I used, you can download the cutting file here, or a PDF version if you want to cut it out by hand!
The heat transfer material is on a clear plastic backing that helps hold your design together while you iron it down. When you iron, the heat transfer material is against your project and the clear plastic is on top, which means you need to cut out your design backwards so that any text ends up going in the right direction.
In the Studio software you can easily click on your design, click on the Rotate tool, and flip it mirror image. Once your image is flipped, put the material on your cutting mat with the clear plastic backing against the sticky part of the mat. Once the cutting is done, your text should be backwards like in the photo below. But don’t worry, it will come out right side up when you’re done!
Next, weed out all the extra pieces of material, leaving only the pieces you want to transfer to your bag on the clear plastic backing. Then flip the design over so the clear plastic is on the top, and place it where you want the design to transfer onto your bag. Now that I’ve flipped it over, the text is legible!
Place a cloth over the design and plastic backing and then press a heated iron FIRMLY into the design for about 45 seconds. The cloth is important to make sure you don’t melt the plastic backing. Your iron should be heated to whatever temperature is appropriate for the material you are transferring your design to.
It definitely feels a bit weird to just sit there with a hot iron on your project for almost a full minute without moving it around or anything (and do time yourself, 45 seconds is a LOT longer than you think!), but I promise that’s what you’re supposed to do! If you don’t leave the heat on long enough, or press down hard enough, the vinyl won’t stick to your project or come off the plastic backing. If you’re worried about it, start with 30 seconds and then check to see how it went, but I can tell you from experience that I needed about 55 seconds of heat over each section to make sure my design really stuck!
Once you’re done ironing, you should be able to pick up the cloth and gently peel the plastic backing away. The vinyl should remain on your project! If the backing is still stuck to the vinyl in places, just put the cloth back down and press the iron into that spot again.
If you’ve done the ironing correctly, the vinyl sticks really well to the project! It should be totally flexible, so it can conform to the shape of your bag without folding or bending weird. And now it’s been two weeks since I did this project, and the vinyl is still stuck on just as well as it was when I first made it!
We take the bag to our farmer’s market each week, and it’s perfect!
Plus, just in case something spills in the bag, the heat transfer material is washable! So as long as you start with a canvas bag that is washable, you can wash your project even after you’ve added the graphic. Just turn the bag (or shirt, or whatever you use the material on) inside out and wash and dry it on a gentle cycle!
And remember, there is a great promotion going on right now for Silhouette’s heat transfer material! All of their heat transfer materials are buy one get one free!!! That’s insane! You can mix and match any of their heat transfer products, including the heat transfer starter kit, the smooth material, the flocked material, and the printable material (as in, print your own design and just iron it right onto your project!!!)
Or if you’ve been thinking of getting a cutting machine, now is a great time because the discounts on these bundles are HUGE! Visit http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/heat anytime between now and June 15th, and use the code FUNCTIONAL at checkout to get any of the great deals you see below!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to the products I use and recommend for your convenience. Your price won’t change, but these links will share a small commission that assists in the maintenance of this site. Silhouette’s affiliate program is what lets me offer you guys great giveaways and awesome discounts on their products!