- A cotton tote bag. You can make your own or buy a blank one. I picked up mine at Hobby Lobby.
- Black Fabric paint – I used Jaquard textile paint.*
- Wide paint brush
- White flour
- Mixing bowl
- Something to spread the flour paste. I started with a squeege, but end up using my hands most of the time.
- Piece of cardboard about the size of the inside of your bag. This is going to help all that paint and flour not bleed onto the other side of the bag.
A flat surface where you can leave the bag for a couple of days to dry. Nearby water is helpful since you will need to rinse the bag and wash off paint and flour paste. My location of choice is a folding table in the basement. Not too fancy, but it gets the job done.
Low. If you can stir, pour, crumple fabric, and cover fabric with paint, then you are good. Actually you are more than good, because you can use those basis skills to make a nifty tote!
The actual working time is less than an hour, but there are three long drying periods:
- Dry the flour on side one of the bag
- Dry the flour on side two of the bag
- Dry the paint.
I did this project over 4 days to let everything dry completely.
- Make your flour paste from 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour. Go check out my for more details on the consistency of the paste.
- Insert your piece of cardboard into the bag and start spreading the paste all over the side and one handle. I found my hands worked best for this, especially for all of the small crevices of a premade tote.
- Let it dry and repeat on the other side. If you try to put wet flour on both sides at the same time, you will end up with a mess sticking to the table. It won’t be pretty. To speed up the drying, I tented the bag to let air circulate once the bag had started to stiffen.
- Once it is all dry…and I mean reallly dry….it is time for crumpling. Now, when you fold the bag, you should be able to hear and see the flour crack. If it doesn’t, just let it dry longer. Then, crinkle, crackle and smoosh the bag to make lots of breaks and cracks in the paint. Don’t be gentle. Those cracks are where the paint is going to seep in You want a lot of contrast to show through to get that graphic feel. Don’t forget the handles!
- Now you are ready for paint. Go for more about paint consistency and tips. Cover one side of your bag with black paint. If you don’t care about your table, towel or cloth underneath, go ahead and cover both sides with paint. Be sure to work that paint into all of the cracks. You want to be able to see some of it coming through onto the inside of the bag.
- Once that paint is dry, you need to get rid of the excess flour. So, jam that bag into a bucket of hot water and let it soak for about 15 min. You should see the flour pulling away from the bag in some areas. Now, this part gets messy (well, really the whole process is pretty messy — flour, paint, water….but that is 1/2 the fun, right? 🙂 ). So, start scraping, swishing and picking that flour off. It doesn’t take as long as you may think. By letting it soak for a bit, the flour is pretty much ready to peel off the bag.
- Once the flour is out, rinse the bag again for good measure and let it dry. I had to rinse mine a second time to get extra flour out of the fabric. But once it is dry, voila! Tote ready to use and enjoy!