DIY printed tote bag using the sun | How About Orange

May 22, 2013

DIY printed tote bag using the sun


I added a design to a blank tote bag using light-sensitive Inkodye and a stencil cut from freezer paper.


Inkodye is a water-based dye that works on natural materials like fabric and wood, and develops its color in the sun. It dyes fabrics permanently, and I like it better than fabric paint since it soaks into the fabric and keeps it soft and flexible, unlike fabric paints that can be stiff and sit on the surface of a textile. Plus, it's really fun watching the color develop!


To make a similar tote, you can create your own design or download the Big Fun stencil I made.

Print the design and trace it onto the dull side of plastic-coated freezer paper, available at grocery stores. Or, save yourself a step and print directly on freezer paper cut to fit through your printer. Tape a piece of freezer paper, shiny side down, to a sheet of copy paper and print on it. It will come out a bit curly and lightly fused to the carrier sheet if you use a laser printer like I did, but it should peel off easily.


Cut out the letters and shapes. Remember that any empty hole will get filled with color, and no dye will go where the pieces of paper sit.

With an iron set to the appropriate temperature for your fabric (likely the cotton setting), iron the paper pieces to the tote, shiny side down. The iron will very slightly melt the plastic coating, sticking the paper to the canvas. Give the pieces an initial quick, light press to make sure they're where you want them. If not, peel them up and reposition. Then press down firmly with the iron and make sure all the edges are sealed so no dye will seep under them. Once they're stuck down, the pieces are really stuck, and will probably tear if you try to peel them off.

If there are any areas you're worried about getting dye— you know, if you tend to lose your mind a little and start painting outside the lines— mask those off with painter's tape. Place a piece of freezer paper inside the tote to prevent any dye from soaking through to the back side.


Then, in a dimly lit room, brush on Inkodye with a foam brush. Or any kind of brush or roller will do the job! Try for even coverage. The fabric doesn't have to be completely saturated; you just need a nice even coat on the surface of the textile.

(You can mix Inkodye with water to make it go further, if you like. A 1:1 ratio of dye to water will still yield maximum vibrance. Add more water to make pastels, or mix colors as you would paint.)


Blot off any excess dye with a paper towel.


Place the tote in the sun. The color will start to develop instantly! Here's the tote after 30 seconds, a minute or two, and fully exposed after 10 minutes.


Peel off the paper, my favorite part.


If you like, you can wash the tote with laundry detergent to remove any excess dye. Or just let it air dry and call it a day.


35 comments:

cyncoco said...

That's fantastic! Thanks for introducing me to inkodye! I was only just thinking of reupholstering my dining chairs with a custom screenprint but this looks so much better.

Laura said...

This sounds like fun.

Grandma G said...

Looks like big fun, to me!

Sorry,
Mum

Laura said...

I love this! So much! I need to try it immediately. Would make for a really fun gift, too. Thanks for the tutorial!

Heather P. said...

I've never heard of this stuff - but now I want to buy a crapload of tote bags and try it out!

Denise said...

Love this! Want to try it! Jessica you discover the greatest products :) Thanks for sharing!!

Stitchinscience said...

Does it need to be really sunny for this to work? We seem to be in perpetual gloom here in the UK this spring, and are anxiously waiting for the sun.

julia I mintlametta said...

this DIY is real big fun! thanks and all the best julia

Raquel Úria said...

Sooo cute!

Holli said...

This looks great! Thanks!

annie dee said...

Very cool. And love that brilliant orange!

TJ said...

I've been wanting to try inkodye for ages. I LOVE the nice clean lines you've got in this project!

janine said...

it's great!
can someone tell me where i can find freezer paper in Europe?
janine

Jessica Jones said...

Stitchinscience, I read on the Inkdodye website that "light from overcast weather... will take longer but will work if there is enough light present." I thought I read somewhere else on there that on a cloudy day, it exposure time might be like 30 minutes or more. You can look around the FAQs there. http://help.lumi.co/

Jessica Jones said...

Janine, I don't know if there is freezer paper in Europe, I'm sorry! See if butchers wrap meat in white paper there... something shiny and plastic coated on one side with a regular paper surface on the other.

Leah said...

a little shoutout to Heathers or am I the only one who thought that? :) really adorable and easy bag!

Tun und Träumen said...

@Janine: I found it at amazon "Quilters freezer paper"
Hope, thats some help :-)
@Jessica: Thanks so much for sharing, I'll definitly trying out inkodye!
Many greetings from Susann

Jessica Jones said...

Great tip, thanks!

Kat Miller said...

There's no way mine would turn out so neat & crisp. None!

Sarah @ *Tadaam! said...

Can't wait to try Inkodye ! Is the special washing product they sell with the inks really necessary ?

Jessica Jones said...

No, you can use regular detergent. Maybe there's some advantage to theirs but I haven't tried any of it.

Anne-Marie said...

Such a fun and easy tutorial! =)

Lei said...

I love how fun and simple your tutorial is... I really could not pass it up and I shared it on my site craftingwith.me

Emily Q said...

That's awesome! You painted it very well :-)

ssylvvia said...

wow, good idea. I think that we can do it but we are so lazy

Stacy said...

it's looking very attractive you have painted it very well, i want to say it's really an admirable work, great creativity you performed, thanks for sharing this easy tutorial for making such kind of beautiful tote bag

cucicucicoo: ecological living said...

I'd never heard of this type of dye, but it looks so versatile! I love what you've done with it, in other posts, too! :) Lisa

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the tote bag?

Jessica Jones said...

A local Tom Thumb craft store. You can find them at Michael's or Hobby Lobby, I bet. Or Amazon.com, or search Etsy for blank canvas totes.

Ally said...

Great tutorial! I am wondering where you got the inkodye. I have been to two craft stores with no luck. Do you have to order it online? Thanks!

Jessica Jones said...

Yes, you can order online here:
http://lumi.co/

Ruby said...

Hi, thanks for the tutorial! I'm from Singapore as well and wonder where I can get freezer paper locally? TIA.

Jessica Jones said...

Ruby, I'm not sure!

Debbie said...

Can you tell me what I would need to do to make a stencil for furniture using this paint? Thank you for any help you can offer. I think it is a great idea.
Regards
Debbie
daubin56@yahoo.com

Jessica Jones said...

Hi Debbie,
You'd need to have unfinished wood so the dye will color the natural material. It's not paint, so it won't cover over any stain or varnish. And you'd need to be able to expose all the areas of the furniture evenly to light. Here's a project I did with wood:
http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2011/08/picture-frame-project-with-inkodye.html

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