The other day I saw a canvas bag that said “Farm Market” on it and I thought … why not create a similar bag for my monthly trips to our local flea market? The vendors always put your items into plastic grocery bags and I’m always afraid they’re going to rip while shopping. A canvas bag would eliminate this problem though. After toying with how to decorate it, I’m now ready to share how to stencil a canvas bag.
I have to be honest; I wasn’t sure I could pull this off.
I usually screw up the spacing of the lettering but I figured a way to fix this.
Here’s what I started with … a plain canvas bag from Hobby Lobby.
It cost me $4.99 and if you have a coupon, you can get it for even less.
I love rick rack and wanted to trim the top of the bag with it.
I was thrilled when I found this iron-on rick rack because it meant I didn’t have to sew.
I didn’t want to leave the back of the bag plain and thought a stretch of polka dots would look cute. I used a sage green stencil creme. I like the cremes better than the liquid paints because there’s no risk of the paint bleeding under the stencil. I used an adhesive stencil spray on the back of the stencil to adhere it to the bag while painting.
I hung the canvas bag up to dry before stenciling the front.
I waited for a couple hours which gave me time to watch a little football.
Once again, I sprayed the back of the stencil with adhesive spray to keep the template in place while working. I simply pressed it onto the canvas making sure the smaller cut-outs were in place.
Using stencil sponge brushes and creme stencil paints, I painted the sections of the stencil using a circular motion. You could be done at this point, but I wanted to give the image a little more dimension by adding shading.
You can add shading with the stencil in place, or remove it. I shaded the larger sections with the stencil on, then removed it to get the smaller areas like the berries. Use a darker shade of the same color you’re shading, or simply use raw umber for all shading like I did here. Be sure to shade the same side of the objects … for example, all the berries were shaded on the lower side. After dipping a small brush in the raw umber paint, dab off the excess on a paper towel. Working carefully, gently stroke the raw umber onto one edge of the area to be shaded. You can see the leaves and branches are already shaded in the above photo.
I shaded the bird and also added a wing. Hubby said the bird needed an eye.
So I gave him one. I also added faint veins to the leaves.
I wanted the artwork to look more like a painting and less like a stencil.
Happy with the bird and branches, I was nervous about the letters. If I screwed them up, the bag would be ruined. I had punch-out cardboard stencils for the letters, so I used the punch-outs to line up the letters and get them straight.
I kept the punched out letters in place, replacing each one after lining its stencil up in the same spot. This ensured that my letters would stay straight and evenly spaced. Using raw umber, I lightly brushed the paint in place while holding the stencil with my fingers so it wouldn’t move. Start with a light brush at first … you can always make it darker.
The top row of letters is shaded, the bottom is not. You can see how the shading makes the letters pop a bit more. I simply shaded the left and bottom sides of the letters with a thin stroke of heavier raw umber paint.
Whew! I didn’t screw up the lettering. I love my new flea market bag!
It has pockets on the sides to hold my phone, keys, or maybe some vintage prints.
And that’s how to stencil a canvas bag. I’m ready for a little vintage shopping now!
My new flea market bag can hold at least 3 white ironstone pitchers and I won’t need to worry about those plastic bags ripping and the pitchers breaking when they hit the ground. That hasn’t happened to me yet … but better to be safe than sorry.
You Might Also Enjoy …
How to Make a Felt Mitten Banner
How to Stencil Napkins
How to Paint Pine Cones