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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Easy DIY Back to School Library Tote!

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I love the Library!

When you have four children (or more) trying to keep them al together while holding a baby can be a challenge. Add carrying a stack of books to that and it may as well be an Olympic sport!

What I try to do is turn our boring errands into a game. We all hold hands and pretend to be ducks in a row (yes, we quack!), or a pretend to be a line of train cars.

Also it REALLY helps for the older littles to be in charge of their own stuff. When they are able to carry their stack of books home (or to if you are returning them) from the library.

 It really isn't much, and you may already have everything, because this is an EASY tutorial! You probably have most or all of these items. Just in case you don't have them, for your convenience you can click on the pictures to buy it from Amazon.

You will need a printer/paper/ink, or a coloring page to trace.
This is the printer we use and LOVE:

Light colored tote bags like these:

Fabric paints like these:

A permanent marker:

Last but not least you want to have some paintbrushes:

So here is what we did...very simple, but there is beauty in simplicity!

First print a coloring page of you child's character of choice, or choose a page from a coloring book.
Then put the page inside of the bag and bring it to a sunny window. Put it on the window so you can see through the bag and trace the picture that is showing through the bag.

Are your arms tired from holding up that bag and paper? Well that is ok, the next part is for your kids to do! 

We used puffy fabric paint because it may WILL need to be washed. We just didn't like the lack of control and it was a little too "puffy" for us. So we used paintbrushes to smooth it out.

Then after is dried, the secret to making it look great is to go over the pencil lines with a permanent marker.

Azalea chose to do a pony character. This is her tote bag.

This is what they look like without the permanent marker

This is the finished bag with marker. 

We really had a great time making these! In addition to a library tote, it would be a great birthday gift for a child's friend. They would also make really great "car activity" bags. Just fill the up with fun things for the kids to do during road trips. Since the kids can make them, you can count it as art class if you are homeschooling!


  1. Awesome idea! I always forget about tracing as a technique... I think my kids would love to make a superhero version. And we love the library too.

    1. Thanks Amy! I know what you mean about tracing. This project came about when my husband was taking another daughter on a daddy daughter date, and I aways try to do an art project with the ones that are at home with me. At first my daughter wanted me to free hand strawberry shortcake! I think the tracing came out much better then it would have free hand.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Stephanie! I love easy things the kids can do for art projects.

  3. Those turned out so cute! I really love how easy it is.

  4. Great idea! So fun for kids to have their own personalized bags.

  5. Such a fun idea! Your girls did a great job on their bags!

  6. My daughter will love this! I never would have thought to put it in the window and trace the design. That's genius!
    4th Grade Dynamic Duo

  7. I just read all of your encouraging comments to the girls and they wanted me to say, " Thank you!!"

  8. What a fun idea! My daughter would love making one of these.