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Artistic shopping bag

Craft with Resene, from the Australian Women's Weekly

Less is best – plastic that is. So what better way to help the environment than to create your own fun, reusable calico shopping bag?

Paint your calico bag

What you'll need: Plain calico tote bag, or alternatively make your own, 1 roll book cover seal, scissors, pencil, marker pen, cutting mat, craft knife, A3 card, baking paper, Resene testpot paints.

I used: Resene Fountain Blue, Resene Norway, Resene Whimsical, Resene Tom Thumb, Resene Freelance, Resene Virtuoso, Resene Permanent Green, Resene Scandal, Resene Vista Blue, Resene Paper Doll, Resene Amulet, Resene testpot paintbrush.


Book cover seal is used here as a stencil/screen that will enable you to paint fun designs over a large area without colour seeping from one part of the design to another. But there are a few rules you need to follow. Keep your design simple and opt for larger shapes rather than fine details. You need to make sure there is enough cover seal between the shapes to stop different parts of the design from blending. Each piece of cover seal can only be used once as it loses its stickiness after use, so don’t remove it until you’ve painted the whole design. You’ll need to cut one piece of cover seal for the front of the bag and another for the back.

Think about the colour palette you wish to use. To make it easier to decide, refer to the Resene colour charts, as these show the colour combinations that will work well together.

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  1. Cut two pieces of cover seal to fit the front and back of your tote bag. Draw your design on the reverse (paper) side of the cover seal, in pencil first, then when you’re happy with the design, go over it with a marker pen.

  2. Place cover seal on a cutting mat and carefully cut out your design using a craft knife. Be careful not to cut into the outer edges of the cover seal as you want your final template to be in one piece. Leaves and flowers were the inspiration for my design – nothing too formal, so it didn’t matter if there were any mis-cuts.

  3. Lie the bag flat and slip a piece of card the same size as the bag inside it. Cut two pieces of baking paper the same size as the card and place these either side of the card. This will stop the paint bleeding through from one side of the bag to the other and also prevent the sides of the bag sticking together. (Remove card and paper after paint has dried.)

  4. Carefully remove the backing paper from one piece of cut-out cover seal. Try not to rip the seal. Place the seal, sticky side down, onto the bag, press all the edges down firmly so there are no air bubbles or bits that are lifting.

  5. Now you’re ready to paint! It’s best to dab on the Resene paints, pressing in a downward motion. This helps the edges of your cover seal to stay stuck down and the paint to avoid bleeding. Not overloading your brush with paint will also ensure a clean finish. Have a good scattering of Resene paint colours across your design.

  6. Allow to dry, then carefully peel off the cover seal. Turn bag over and repeat the process on the other side. Alternatively, you might prefer to have the design on one side only.

Marsha Smith, Craft Editor. April 2019

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Projects from The Australian Women's Weekly
View more project ideas from The Australian Women's Weekly magazine in the Resene weekend diy projects section.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.