I made this tote as a Christmas gift for a cousin who likes Doctor Who, but I really like how it turned out and wish I had one for myself! Even without the TARDIS, it would still be a really cool outer space image. Or you could even put something random floating around in space instead of the TARDIS…like a cow, perhaps (haha). Here’s what I did. I made it all up as I went along, so I’m happy it worked out so well.
canvas tote bag (find at a craft store)
acrylic paints in blues, purples, black, and white
cardboard the size of the bag (to slip inside it while working)
(optional) TARDIS or other stamp
1. Wet the area of the tote bag that you plan to paint. I just used a paint brush to dab the water on. Slip a piece of cardboard in the bag so the paint won’t seep through onto the other side of the tote.
2. Get a cup of water and prepare your different paint colors. I used a dark and light blue, a dark and light purple, and black. using a wet paintbrush, dab paint all over the bag (the wet area). Using a different paintbrush, dab water all over the paint you apply. The water thins out the paint so you can spread it around and give it that cloudy, galaxy-like look. Just keep applying paint and water (I used a lot of water) until you like how it looks. Keep in mind it will be lighter when it dries – all that water is making the fabric look a lot darker than it is.
3. When the tote is dry, take it outside (this step is messy). Water down some white paint and do some splattering. Just dip a paintbrush in the white paints and flick it over the tote. Do this until you have a lovely, star-filled galaxy.
4. This step is optional…you can just leave the awesome space image as is if you like it that way or don’t care about Doctor Who (gasp!). I had this TARDIS carving I did for a letterpress class, so I used that. You can probably freestyle the simple TARDIS shape if you trust your painting skills. Another option would be to get a linoleum block and carving supplies and make your own stamp (really not worth the effort…if you can carve, you could probably just freestyle the picture directly onto the bag a lot more easily). Put paint on the stamp and press it onto the bag. This just left a light coating of paint when I did it, but it provided a nice guide…I just went back over it freestyle to make the image darker and more clear.
5. This step is also optional. Since I watered down the white paint for the stars, once it dried it was pretty faint. I went back over some of the stars with white paint (NOT watered down) to brighten them up. This also gives more dimension to the image – the brighter stars appear closer.
6. Enjoy your new tote (or give it as a gift like I’m doing)!
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments! I’ll be happy to answer!