Monday, August 2, 2010

A Better Bag

I saw this cute tote at Old Navy a few months ago and quickly snapped it up. It was on sale and I had a coupon to make it even cheaper, plus I’m a sucker for just plain (some would say boring, but I would say classic) looking stuff like this. But once I had it at home I kept thinking about how great it looked now that it was clean and new, but without any sort of pattern or detailing, it would start looking dirty and dingy pretty quickly once it was put to regular use. I needed to do something to spruce it up a bit.


Now remember also that this is Erin, the one who can’t sew and doesn’t have fabric stores nearby, so I needed a solution that would work for me. So this is what I came up with.


You’ll never believe what I used as a stencil…a doily. This is so easy and a good way to add intricate detail that isn’t overly time consuming or tedious.


You simply spray the back of the doily with some tacky spray, (I used photo spray adhesive, but any stencil spray would work perfectly as well,) and then place it on the bag. You can rearrange it a bit if necessary. Once you have it exactly the way that you want it, smooth the doily down so that it is completely flat. I also added a board book of my son’s on the inside to make sure that I would be stenciling on a hard flat surface.


You’ll need some fabric paint and stenciling sponges, and you simply work the paint into the holes. Be careful to blot the sponge when you’re doing this because like with any other stencils, you don’t want the paint to get under the doily and ruin the design. But the good thing about doilies is that the pattern is very irregular, so if you do get a few good globs, you will probably be the only one who knows the difference.


Once I went over the big holes with my stencil sponge, I got a small stiff paint brush and went over the little holes that are around the edges of the doily. You could do this part with the sponge, but I don’t have an incredibly steady hand and was worried that I might go over the edge of the doily a bit. Or you could just not fill those holes in at all. Again, no one will know the difference but you.


Once you are finished, you simply peel back the stencil carefully while the paint is still wet, and look at those fun little details!! 2010_04_21_8366

I ended up with 2 designs on one side and just 1 on the other. I guess I’m still a sucker for the minimal. But this is a little bit dressier minimal, right? :)


I am linking this project to these fantastic blogs. Please take a moment to scroll around and see all of the talent and great ideas that are shared by some great women.

Also, an adorable blog called Mandy's Yellow Corner has featured Blues and Branches and did an interview with me yesterday! Check it out here, along with some fun news about my shop. Thanks Mandy!

Have a great week!


Nancy August 2, 2010 at 6:08 AM  

Cute idea. I love the way it turned out. Imagine-getting all that detail from a doily.

Amy August 2, 2010 at 7:13 AM  

Cute! Love this idea!

Jennifer Dawn August 2, 2010 at 7:18 AM  

Much better! Great idea!

Maria August 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM  

That's totally brilliant! Love your creative idea!

Unknown August 2, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

looks great! I love it!

Jami August 2, 2010 at 9:16 AM  

Love the lacey look from the doily! You must have some fun ideas for wrapping gifts, too! I hope you'll stop by my PRETTY PACKAGES PARTY and share some of your talent! Be sure to grab a button for a reminder!

Pati @ A Crafty Escape August 2, 2010 at 10:20 AM  

Love how you added just enough details to the bag to make it pop. The color combination ROCKS!

Lori August 2, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

Amazing. I love the way it turned out!

John Dearden August 2, 2010 at 12:11 PM  

I really like the design you put on the bag. This is a great idea and I could see you creating a line of these for a local boutique.

You have a lot of great ideas here. Keep it up.

janimal August 2, 2010 at 12:28 PM  

Oh that looks lovely. Great idea!

Jennifer August 2, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

Love it! So pretty.

Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple August 2, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

What a great idea!!! You're so creative!

Ms. Emmy N August 2, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

What a great idea!! It's gorgeous!! August 2, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

This is a really great idea!!! What a fun way to make something go from ordinary to unique!! AND, you can do this in any color so you can match it with a particular outfit that might not have a cool matching purse yet! lol
God bless
crafting up some fun and adventure!

Lacy August 3, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

This is such a cute idea, thanks for sharing!

Mad in Crafts August 3, 2010 at 7:22 PM  

Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills party!

Michelle @ Sweet Something Design August 3, 2010 at 10:12 PM  

Great job Erin! Love the color!

Julie Bagamary August 4, 2010 at 7:08 AM  

What a bargin and a nice embellishment to personalize it.

Jen August 4, 2010 at 11:16 AM  

What a neat idea! Never would have thought to use a doily as a stencil! Love it!
I'm a new follower!

Anonymous August 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM  

I love this idea! I hope you don't mind that I posted a link to your project on my blog? I thought this was such an awesome idea I just had to let everyone know! Thanks for sharing!

Tricia August 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM How I love this!

Nancy August 5, 2010 at 11:49 PM  

Darling idea - even better that it's turquoise!!! :) Nancy

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking August 6, 2010 at 12:01 AM  

What a great idea... it adds such charm to the tote!

Tiffany August 6, 2010 at 11:47 AM  

The bag looks great, Erin! Awesome idea.

Susan August 6, 2010 at 9:43 PM  

How creative to use the paper doily as a stencil! I love the turquoise
color you chose!

Anke August 7, 2010 at 7:45 AM  

Great idea! It made a big difference and looks really good.

Unknown August 7, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

Whoa, that looks incredible. Love it!!!

Annie's Online Store August 9, 2010 at 3:00 PM  

wow - i would call it killing two birds with one stone, the pattern on the bag is very stylish and has made a simple looking bag so cool, no one would guess you did it at home

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