Last summer when my family all descended on my sister’s house for a family get-together on the cheap (free room and board!) it was really dang hot. Like so hot that you’d get nauseous from the heat walking from a building to the car. And then when you got into the car, you knew what it was like to be a turkey on Thanksgiving.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

And my family being who we are, couldn’t stay put to beat the heat. No, we ran from one place to the next sweating our rears off in the process. And it turned out that the under ten set were the smartest of our bunch. Yes, the children opted to stay home rather than deal with the humid, sticky, awfulness.

During our around-town antics the strap on my gigantic purse I carry that holds everything I or anybody around me could ever possibly need, had strap break clean off. I’m guessing I must have thrown in one Spiderman action figure too many. The Spidey that broke the camel’s back, as it were.

This conveniently happened while my mother and I were inside Hobby Lobby. In the same aisle as the canvas bags. Now if that ain’t fate telling me to ditch that heavy bag, I don’t know what is! And my mother said as much with wide eyes.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

So I got this little canvas cross-body bag big enough to hold my wallet. I got it because it was super cheap and I figured it was just a temporary fix. But as I carried it around for a few days I realized that it was really nice when running all over town to not be weighed down with a big, heavy bag.

Inspired, I took the bag with me on every trip after. And guess what? It turns out the children can hold onto their own dang superheroes and when we’re at the zoo, all I really need is my phone and some spending cash, which makes the bag perfect. BUT, my youngest nephew wanted to cover the bag in glitter to make it more suitable for my personality but we ran out of time. So I decided that before I pack up for vacation I’d do something to my bag to make it a little more “me” and a little less “blah”.

There are two ways you can work this out. First, let’s cover the no fancy tools required methods:

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Either print out your own saying, image, coloring book page, or whatnot that you’ll want on your bag or print the hello text here.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Turn the page over and trace the letters on the backside of the paper using an iron-on transfer pencil (sold in sewing sections of craft and superstores).

Place the fully traced sheet down onto your bag and use a hot iron to transfer the image onto your bag. Use fabric markers or paints to fill in the parts of the image that require it.

Allow to dry and then set per the directions on your markers or paint, most require heat setting with a hot iron.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Now that’s what I had started to do for my bag when someone who just so happened to give me a Silhouette for Christmas said, “you’re just doing that for the internet, right? You’ll really use your Silhouette won’t you?” me: “of course, silly!”

So I turned my image into a Silhouette cut file and cut the pattern out of self-adhesive vinyl.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Now I’m still pretty new with my Silhouette, mostly because I often just don’t think to use it. But after cutting out my file I realized that this was going to be a royal pain in the neck to transfer over to my bag. So I  hopped online and went to The Thinking Closet where Lauren is always doing something with her Silhouette and learned about this stuff sold by Silhouette called transfer paper. Oh, I get it. I ordered some up and shelved my project until my package arrived in the mail. BUT, know that she actually used clear contact paper which is technically a lot cheaper, but I went name brand for this go since I’m a total newbie.

In the end, I’m so, so glad I waited. Because I’ve done this sort of thing before and I’m trying to work out kinks, cutting a new stencil because my first one adhered to itself and it’s never any fun. To be honest, it might be a big part of why I don’t often use my fancy, gifted cutting machine.

All you do is peel away the paper from the transfer paper and adhere it to the front of your stencil. Now I totally had no clue what was going on and with the first cut piece, I wadded up the wrong part and found the piece I had left had no sticky at all. See in the pic,  you use the piece with the grid marks, which really help you set things up nice and straight.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Peel away the backing from the vinyl and give a good dose of spray adhesive. This is optional but ensures that you have a nice, clean edge on all of your cuts.

Start to apply the vinyl to your bag and smooth as needed. Use a credit card, a Silhouette scraper, or Mod Podge Squeegee (what I used) to press out all of the air bubbles. Pay special attention to the little bits, like the circle piece of vinyl inside of the O. Scrape that sucker down until you think you don’t need to anymore, and then give it another pass just to be safe.

Slowly peel away your transfer paper. if you have little bits of the vinyl trying to come up with it, press the paper back down, use your scraper and rub, rub, rub. When you try now it should stay firmly in place.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Using a brush and acrylic paints daub color onto the words one at a time, using an up and down motion. Just tap, tap, tap the paint onto the stencil.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

Allow the paint to completely dry and then peel away your vinyl. The spray adhesive is going to give it more stick so be patient with the process. Use a pair of tweezers to help remove the little bitty pieces.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Bag and Free Printable

For the most part, I got pretty clean edges, but if you’re unhappy with a letter or two, use your paint to touch up as needed. Up close my howdy is kind of fuzzy but from a distance, you can’t really tell.

DIY Carry Canvas Crossbody Tutorial and Free Printable

And there it is. I’m thinking about doing the other side with words that mean goodbye. I think that could be a lot of fun. But considering I should be packing for my trip, I guess it will have to wait until next time.

Hoping you all have a fantastic week!