How to Decorate a Canvas Tote Bag

Canvas tote bags are a must-have addition to everyone's wardrobe. Stylish, practical, reusable, versatile, cost-efficient and convenient, there isn't much that a tote can't do. Whether you're after a simple and reliable tote to take to class, a slogan or characterful tote for your weekend adventures, or a tote that lets you make a bold political statement when you nip to the shops, it's available to you.
But what if, despite the range of totes available, you still haven't found that perfect tote? Or perhaps you're an artist, who would rather go in and make a design in your own distinctive style? Well, the great news is that you can decorate and personalise your own canvas tote. 
To decorate a canvas tote, you can use: 
  1. Tote Bag Painting Kit
  2. Tie-Dye 
  3. Embroidered Additions 
  4. Iron On Patches
  5. Pins and Badges

 1. Tote Bag Painting Kit

With a tote bag painting kit you have full creative freedom, and can create a one-of-a-kind tote with your ideal design. All you need is a Tom'sTotes Create Your Own Tote Kit which comes with a premium tote bag, 10 brushes, a palette for paint mixing, and 18 acrylic paints. To use it, trace your design (lightly) with a pencil and then paint! Use one colour at a time, and allow the brush to fan out for extra texture. 



I remember tote bag weather☀️ ##tote ##totebag ##totebagpainting ##dateideas

♬ original sound - Matt Ifield

2. Tie-Dye 

Throw it back to the 60's and 70's with the ultimate do it yourself: tie-dye. You can tie-dye your canvas tote at home in just a few steps: soak the tote in water and wring out excess water; place on a flat surface and smooth it out; form an arrow shape; separate tote with a band into sections; apply dye to sections; put in zip seal bag for 8 hours and wash, dry and iron tote. 

The result? A colourful and vibrant tote with an original psychedelic design. 

You can even tie-dye over a canvas tote with a design on if you want to give it even more character. We think Thimble the Space Turtle and Gregory "Good Vibes" would look extra stylish with an added tie-dye flare. 

3. Embroidered 

A canvas tote, as its name suggests, lends itself as a great canvas for your latest embroidery project. Although embroidering requires a higher skill level and more tools than our other suggestions, the final result is truly unique and, quite frankly, really really cool. 

As with the tie-dye, you could tackle an existing tote with the thread and needle and add colour or extra decorative elements to spice up your tote. 


@tomstotes Reply to @shortslavicmilf lovecrafts knitting actually came to me with the idea to embroider our tote bags! What do we think? #totebag #embroidery ♬ original sound - reimu and iketeru enjoyer

4. Iron On Patches

Strapped for time or lacking artistic flair? Iron on patches make a quick and characterful addition to your canvas tote. There are endless patch choices online (or in your local independent gift shop) so, whether you want to add a meaningful quote or the face of your favourite television character, there'll be a patch for you. 

5. Pins and Badges

If you don't trust your own design skills, pins and badges make another fantastic and original addition to a canvas tote. Much like iron on patches, there are heaps of designs available that will help you to express yourself - or execute your artistic vision. 

how to decorate a canvas tote bag

You could even rotate your pins and badges like you do your wardrobe: Halloween and autumnal pins in October can become Christmas and winter pins in December. 


 We are Tom's Totes. Our mission is to make plastic bags completely out of fashion, and to make sustainable lifestyle choices stylish. Support independent artists and join our mission to ditch plastic with our collection of biodegradable tote bags, prints/postcards and paint kits online. For more tote tips, check out our blog page