diy bag update with spray paint

If you are a fan of our Facebook page you saw my confession last week.

That’s right kids … I’m back from vacation for like a minute and I need to lickity split turn around and get ready for Haven. Holla!

For, my fabulous non-blogger readers, Haven is a blog conference this week.  That’s right.  It’s a conference … and it’s about blogging.  AND I LEAVE TOMORROW!

Can we just take a minute here?  And reflect that a year ago I hardly even knew of blogs.  Had no idea there was such a thing as a conference for bloggers, about blogging.  And that I will be attending one tomorrow is pretty crazytown!

So, I had a brief moment of angst when I was making the Facebook confession, but it pretty much served as a ‘the truth will set you free’ sort of a statement.

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I will still be the one without all the cute new clothes.  I’m not a shopper, I don’t claim to have cute taste when it comes to fashion and I’m not much of a stylist and that’s pretty much all there is to say about that.  😉

BUT … I just so happened to have DIYed my own cute {i think} tote bag.  Booyah!  I’m going to be looking for either support or truth serum from you on this one … is it cute, really? … is the question.

I tend to use and abuse handbags so I really didn’t have a functional, cute bag to tote around the conference all awesome like. So, I was going to bring this guy.

Ho hum, blah blah, booooorring.  Oh yeah, and totally rusty in spots for no apparent reason.

I got it for $4 on clearance at the Gap a number of years ago, let’s say 5 years.  It actually used to be tan … but after many years of stains and eventual bleaching in an attempt to keep it somewhat socially acceptable to keep using it, it is now a nice shade of off-whitish-cream-with-a-few-touches-of-rust.

It wasn’t awesome, that’s for sure.  But this baby is functional.  Just the right size to hold manila folders blog conference swag. :)

So, I took a recent furniture trend, and applied it to my rusty old tote.  The paint dipped look.

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I figured it would be:
1. Cheap
2. Easy
3. Serve to hide the unsightly stains on the bag.

And it proved to be all 3 of the above … until I proceeded to screw it all up, that is. Ugh.

For the cheap and easy upgrade just follow these simple steps.
1. Measure how far up the bag you want to paint.
2. Totally ignore the marks from your measurement and tape around the bag along the fabric line.
3.  Tape a plastic grocery bag over the part of the bag that you don’t want painted.
4. SECURE YOUR TAPE TO YOUR BAG.  I went around the whole thing a couple of times with my finger nail.  It worked like a charm.
5. Spray paint and voila!

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Now … for those of you also interested in screwing up this fine project and needing to buy more spray paint and redoing steps 2-5 above please read on.  :)

Everyone else please don’t forget to chime on in on the cuteness meter for this bag, it could go either way, folks.  :)  And I need to know STAT because I’m leaving tomorrow!!!
Now, onto my screw up, see that shiny spot there in the middle?  Yeah, that’s where this smarty pants decided she was going to iron on a wax paper image transfer.

I will bring to your attention 2 VERY KEY points here.

1.  Wax paper image transfers are NOT iron on, and
2.  Spray paint and your iron DO NOT mix.  :)

Yeah, I know, you can just call me ‘rocket scientist’. I was feeling like a bit of a door knob when I was trying to get the spray paint off my iron.  Sigh.

But, I had seen fun, customized tote bags and I thought it would be fun to have my blog name on my bag.  Seriously, I am HATING the idea now, but it was one of those ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ ideas.

I didn’t do any of the sensible things like research how to do a wax paper image transfer or take a second thought to realize I DON’T FRICKEN WANT MY BLOG NAME ON MY TOTE BAG!

I just went for it and it was a HUGE fail.  But alas.  I just repeated steps 2-5, because, in addition to the shiny painted spot, the iron proceeded to spread the paint haphazardly above my nice clean line.
Yes, that’s a piece of fabric in the top of that picture.  I was playing around with the idea of sewing a strip of fabric around the bag to cover the newly messed up paint and putting my blog name on the strip of fabric when I came to the realization that I DON’T FRICKEN WANT MY BLOG NAME ON MY TOTE BAG!  :)

So, after the repeat of a few steps I’m left with this beauty.  At least, I think she’s cute.  Kinda?  Better than before?  Just a bag with weird metallic green spray paint on it that’s kinda scratchy to the touch?  But, whatev.  I’m not planning on using it as a pillow.  :)

I can’t decide if it’s eclectically modern with a unique flair or West Virginia hood rat with a white trash flair.  I am going to use that term whenever possible now, Whitney.  :)
Pin ItSo … do tell, which is it?

Oh, and for those of you who weren’t around in November … like all of you … you can read more about my affinity for big bags and what madness I carry around in them here.

Update: After using the bag for a day I decided to do what any normal DIYer would do with a spray painted tote bag … I sanded it. lol It successfully got rid of a lot of the grittiness (which I think is just from the weird metallic paint I used), however, I am still not planning to use it as a pillow.  😉

I am sharing this project here and at: BNOTP, DIY Show Off, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Today’s Creative and Sugar Bee Crafts.


  1. says

    I’m sure this is why we are blog friends. I would do all of the things you did. And in the end, not be sure if it worked. I’m not sure about your bag–sorry I’m so little help! I think it’s good? (insert shrugging shoulders) I have very little fashion sense myself. I think I fall on the “white trash flair” side of the line most of the time! :-) I think it doesn’t really matter anyway because you’re going to Haven! (insert envy here) And everyone is going to love you and not notice your bag because they’ll be paying attention to you! Hope you have a great and productive trip.

  2. says

    I love that you just went for it. And screwed it up and then went for it some more. Thats what DIY is all about right, makin it work :) I think this bag is so almost there. What if you throw a few cute buttons (like a little triangle trio) about 1/2 way up the white, near one of the handle bottoms and you got yourself a rockin lil bag. Own it baby.

  3. says

    Let me just say that you are way ahead of me in the getting ready for Haven. I don’t even have a tote bag! I do love the two tone bag you will be sporting and I will be looking for it and you at Haven! Cheers!

  4. says

    I’m voting cute. And now you don’t need your blog name on the tote … because everyone know what it looks like now!



    P.S. Kelly should pull a Scarlett O’Hara (and a Sound of Music) and create some new clothes out of her new beautiful drapes …

  5. says

    I’m going with cute :)

    It’s 110% improvement and now it looks like it’s a stylish bag with that “lived-in look.”

    I mean who wants that “I totally bought this for HAVEN because I so wanted to impress you” look? 😉

    Can’t wait to hear about Haven!
    Bon Voyage, my friend!

    ~ Dana

  6. says

    Ok so I was already mad that I can’t go to Haven, but now I’m seriously UPSET that I can’t go and meet the chick who watches the bachelorette {and then makes hilarious jokes that probably only I understand b/c no one else watches it} and drinks busch light and boxed wine!! And go ahead and use that term…it’s pretty fun to say, no?! :) BTW, I was literally laughing out loud during last night’s episode…Mr. Swag himself didn’t win the ‘trophy’. And I was SO glad.

    But anyway, your updated bag is a definite improvement and I would totally rock it, if I were you. I can’t wait to hear all about the conference!

  7. says

    I think it’s fabulous & I like it better with the paint line up higher on the bag. You did a great job in spite of the detour down the wrong path…

    and a project is NOT a fail when the end result looks that fabulous!!!


  8. says

    Really like the”:denim” variation look about it – at first I thought you sewed it like that – I’m going with modern eclectic – after all, the cool thing is to wear New Jean with holes – why not carry a cool bag with a little rust spot? Like I say, it adds character :)

  9. andrea cammarata says

    picture perfect!!!! you won’t have to say who you are…they will all know!!! hugs and happy times at haven!

  10. Kristy Rohm says

    Have a ball in Haven with your awesome “West Virginia hood rat with a white trash flair” bag!!! It doesn’t matter as long as you like it…I love the color blocking!!!!

  11. says

    I SO love this look. Have fun at the conference! I am an online shopper mostly. I would much rather be creating something, like spray painting that canvas bag, than going through racks and racks of clothing. Then my bathroom serves as my own private changing room. I know which brands of clothing fit me well, and which ones come in tall. I am tall, like really tall.
    I recently purchased a giant tote bag from Goodwill for about $5, I was planning to spray paint it too! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • says

      Hi Cathy! I do think any paint will make fabric feel stiffer but mine did soften over time. If you don’t use a spray paint you can mix a regular paint with fabric medium beforehand, I’ve never tried it and have heard mixed results. I hope that helps!


Let me know what you think!