Friday, 20 July 2012

DIY Dip Dye Illustrated Tote Bag

Canvas tote bags are so useful for so many things, I use mine for library trips at Uni as they're surprisingly strong and can carry many a heavy photography book. They're also brilliant for supermarket shopping - you can take your own bags and stop using the nasty plastic ones which is saving the environment too! But I'm so bored with plain beige canvas totes I decided to jazz mine up a little. Dip dye is the latest trend and its everywhere. So why not dip dye a bag yourself at home for half the price?

What You Need...

I'm using Bahama Blue and Powder Pink
Table Salt
Black Fabric Pen

How to Dip Dye Your Tote Bag...

Mix your dyes as the packet instructs in two separate buckets. Dylon require you mix your powder dye in hot water with 5 tablespoons of salt. Firstly dip the bottom half of your bag into the blue dye bath... let is rest for a few moments then pull the bag out a little so the dye is just touching the bottom section of the bag. You want to create an ombre effect. The areas left in dye the longest will be the most saturated in colour.
Keep the dye bath water moving every so often and higher or lower your bag so the layers 'blend' into one another. The whole process took about half an hour.
When your bag has reached your desired shades of blue - wring out the dye (wearing gloves) and wash your bag in clean cold water to rinse off the blue dye. Wring out excess water.

Now it's time to dip the opposite end of your bag into the pink dye! You can let the two colours meet in the middle or leave a white space. Repeat steps above - leaving the bag straps and top of the bag submerged in the dye for longer. Again this process took 30 minutes or so. 
After this time I decided to add a jug of the blue dye into the pink dye! This made a lovely purple colour (as you can see in the photo above) and I just left the very top part of the bag including straps in this purple dye for 10 minutes. 
You can just stick to two colours - but if you choose wisely your two fabric dyes will mix to create a third colour! I then rinsed out all the dye out in cold water before throwing my bag into the washing machine.

I dyed three bags in total. Two with a double dip dye effect and one in a tie dye style. You can keep your bag as it is but I quite like the idea of adding my own personal illustration on top of the dip dye. For this you need to either sketch out your design or print one out. 

I'm using this drawing from Natalie Ferstendik - one of my favourite artists. I traced the image onto an A4 sheet of paper and then popped it into the tote bag so I can see the design through the material.
Tape everything down with masking tape so it doesn't budge. Use a fabric pen to trace on your illustration...

Your design should be set and the Sharpie dries really quickly - but I gave my illustration a quick iron to seal everything. Here are my final bags! You can really let your imagination run wild with how to illustrate them. Don't think you have to stick to one image, you could draw on a pattern all over the bag front and back!

I'll always be keeping one of these in my handbag for times when its needed and I'd be happy to pull these out and show them off. They make great gifts too for friends or family and they have that personal touch that makes each one unique. Which is your favourite?


I post new DIYs every Friday. Click here to see a full list of my past DIY tutorials.



  1. They're brilliant! I love the tie-dyed dream catcher one! xx

  2. This is fab! They look like the kind of bag you could buy in a shop! The dream catcher one is my favourite :)

    Frances xx

  3. I love this! I really want to dip dye some stuff, when I finally find dye someone I think I might go mental and buy loads x

  4. gooooood job:))

  5. Wow!! Your ideas are really amazing :)

  6. I love these! You should so sell them xxx

  7. You could definitely sell these! You're so good at DIY! xxx

  8. i love your DIYs! definitely do-able and perfect for an eco-friendly shopping tote!


  9. Love them! you are such an artist! I can't pick one, like the three :)

  10. This is so cute and creative, I love it! xx

  11. I love doing this I also do it :) Love DIY'S!

  12. you're so talented and creative, I love your DIY's but would never dream of attempting something like this myself haha! xxx

  13. This is amazing! Wish i was this creative aha xx

  14. you are so creative, it looks so cool! I really like your blog, I've just found it and it's great! would you like to follow us each other? I can also follow you on bloglovin and twitter!

  15. They all look amazing, so much better and more personal doing it yourself :)
    I think the dreamcatcher one is my favourite! xx

  16. wooow this DIY is simply amazing! Definitely trying it out xo

    The Young Bridget Jones

  17. love the elephant one! you have made such a unique look with your DIY's xo

  18. I wanted to leave you a comment to let you know that I love your blog and look forward to every post - my absolute favourite being these DIY Fridays. You are so creative! xx

  19. I just love that dream catcher bag! ♥

  20. This is such a lovely idea!
    Definately want to try the dreamcatcher one! :)
    I am a new follower, love your blog!

  21. Wow! This is great! All your DIY projects are!!:D

  22. Good to see such nice tote bags with beautiful customization. Tote bags are a symbol of stylish gesture and smart personality. Popularity of tote bag is increasing day by day. As it is a nice product, some customization can take the style/smartness to a new level. Wanna know more.

    Custom Tote Bags

  23. I love this fabulous work!

    This is Director of Danae Ltd. who supply DYLON product in South KOREA.
    And I would like to show your beautiful art work to the people through our official blog. ( )

    Would you allow me to use your pictures for introducing your gorgeous knowhow to the people in South Korea?
    These will be translated in Korean language, as well.
    Also, the Link to your blog will be printed just beside your pictures.

    I hope to hear a good news from you soon.

    Kind Regards,
    Jung Kwan, KIM


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