Let’s Craft: Geometric Stenciled Tote Bag


Today’s guest blogger is Jessica Jones, the creative brains behind How About Orange, a truly awesome craft blog.

She shared a tutorial for a trendy stenciled tote bag:

“Stenciling with freezer paper is an easy way to customize fabric. Add a little pop to a plain canvas tote by making your own bold, geometric pattern.

Carry library books or market purchases in style!”


  • Blank tote bag (Found in most craft stores for a couple dollars. Note that smoother fabrics with tighter weaves work better than rough textures for this project)
  • Freezer paper (Available in grocery stores)
  • Iron
  • Fabric paint (I like Tulip Soft Fabric Paint, but any fabric paint will work)
  • Foam brush
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife and cutting mat
  • Pencil
  • Ruler



Trim a piece of freezer paper to the size of your tote. Then, with a pencil, draw a pattern on the uncoated side of the freezer paper. For an interesting hand-drawn look, sketch out freehand squares and lines. For a more uniform pattern, make cardboard templates of the shapes you plan to repeat, then trace around them as you lay out your design.

Using a craft knife and cutting mat, cut out the geometric shapes drawn on the paper. Remember to save the centers of the rectangles!

Heat an iron to the setting allowed by your fabric. Position the freezer paper stencil on your tote bag, shiny side down, and iron it to the bag.

Take care to smooth out any bumps and wrinkles as you go. If a stubborn wrinkle appears, make a slit in the paper to let the air out, then press the paper down again -overlapping seams are fine.

Lay the centers of the rectangles back in place and iron those down, too. Be sure the edges of the cut-outs in your design are well-adhered to the fabric so no paint will bleed under them.

Place a sheet of cardboard or paper inside the tote to guard against paint soaking through to the back side. With a foam brush, apply fabric paint to the cut-out areas on your bag.

When the paint is dry, tear the stencil off the tote and your design is revealed!







Jessica Jones is a graphic and textile designer in the Chicago area. When she’s not designing fabrics or corporate identities, she writes How About Orange, a craft blog. The site features DIY projects, craft tutorials, free downloads, and decorating tips – a wealth of zesty inspiration.



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