Screen Printed Tote Bags

Introduction: Screen Printed Tote Bags

Adults and children will love this hands-on activity that provides the opportunity to fill a screen with paint, and reveal a design on a tote bag. Children can take part by using the foam brush to paint on the canvas.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You Will Need:

1. Heat Transfer Vinyl (We used our Silhouette Cameo to cut a shape, but if you do not have this equipment, tracing and cutting out a shape will also work.)

2. A canvas or reusable tote

3. A screen printing frame

4. Foam Brushes

5. Acrylic screen printing ink (Speedball is a common brand)

6. An iron

7. Newspaper

8. Cardboard

Step 2: Create Decal on Silhouette Cutter

Cut out your decal. When cutting, only cut through the matte side of the heat transfer material. Leave the glossy side intact. After the cutting is done, remove the design and discard it.

Step 3: Iron Design to Screen

Lay the remains of your heat transfer material on your screen, sticky side down. Place a t-shirt or thin towel on top so that the iron doesn’t burn the heat transfer material. Iron until the heat transfer material sticks to the screen.

Step 4: Prepare the Screen

Gently pull away the plastic sheeting. Tape off the rest of the screen using painter’s tape, leaving no gaps. Now you have a screen ready to paint.

Step 5: Prepare the Tote

Lay a piece of cardboard inside your tote (this will prevent the paint from sticking inside the bag). Lay the screen on top of the tote.

Step 6: Paint!

Dab paint on one side of the design. Using a foam brush, push the paint over the design being sure to get each corner. Gently lift the screen up, and your design will appear on the tote. Allow 2 hours to dry.

Be the First to Share


    • Heart Contest

      Heart Contest
    • Fiber Arts Contest

      Fiber Arts Contest
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest

    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I like the idea. Is it easy to pull off the heat transfer vinyl from the screen afterwards?


    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm so glad that you like the idea!

    Since we do this at the library, we usually just leave the vinyl on the screen and re-use it at the next program.

    I have had a basic design (outline of Illinois with a heart in it) that had a loose edge and I was able to peel it off easily. I think you would run into difficulty with more complex designs.