How to Draw On a Tote Bag


Tote bags are stylish, reusable, strong and better for the environment than their non-disposable plastic alternative; there is no reason we shouldn't all be making the switch. After all, there is a tote out there for everyone — whether you want simple line art, adorable frogs or to make a bold political statement with your tote.

That being said, sometimes the perfect tote still isn't quite perfect enough — perhaps you feel like something is missing from the original design, or you want to add a personal touch. The good news is that, whether it's through art, badges, iron-on patches or tie-dye, you can customise your tote until it meets your idea of perfection. 

One of our favourite ways to customise a tote is by drawing on them. To draw on a tote, you will need a pencil and paint pens, or regular paint and a steady hand.

To draw on a tote with paint pens, 

  1. First, iron your tote and place on a flat surface. You can pin the corners down if needs be. 
  2. Sketch your design (lightly) onto the canvas tote with a pencil. You can trace a design if you don't feel confident about your own. 
  3. Next, activate your paint pens. To do this, you will need to give them a small shake and then press the nib down on a hard surface to encourage the ink to flow.  
  4. Once the pens are activated, you can draw over your pencil sketch and colour in your design. 
  5. Leave your tote to dry as per the paint pen's instructions, and then it's ready to go.

Instead of paint pens, you can also use regular acrylic paint. Our 'Create Your Own Tote Bag Painting Kit' is complete with a premium tote bag, 10 brushes, a palette for paint mixing, and 18 acrylic paints. 

To draw on a tote with regular acrylic paint,

  1. First, iron your tote and place on a flat surface. You can pin the corners down if needs be.
  2. Sketch your design (lightly) onto the canvas tote with a pencil. You can trace a design if you don't feel confident about your own. 
  3. Pick and prepare your acrylic paints and brushes.
  4. Paint on your design, building up layers as you go. 
  5. Wait until it dries. 

There are no rules here. Go nuts and add colour, words and design to an existing printed tote, or paint from scratch with a plain tote. The tote is your metaphorical oyster. 

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 bagsprints/postcards and paint kits online. 

For more top tote tips, check out our blog and news page