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DIY Red, White, and Blue Striped Tote Bag

Meghan Quinones |

Create a festive red, white, and blue striped tote bag in a snap! It’s the perfect Memorial Day accessory!

Blank cotton tote bags are the best since they are just waiting to the decorated and customized. With Memorial Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to whip up a quick bag in less than 20 minutes! All you need is some paint, a paint brush, and some painter’s tape.
This project comes together so quickly. It would make a fun afternoon project for you and your kiddos. Since this is more of an abstract take on an American Flag, once Memorial Day passes it can still be used to tote your books, work gear, or make its way to the local farmer’s market!

Check out the full project tutorial below to see how you can make your very own DIY red, white, and blue striped tote bag!


Step 1: To get started you will need fabric paint to add to your bag. This will allow you to wash it if it gets soiled or stained. If you don’t plan on washing your tote bag, you can use regular acrylic paint and use the method for manually washing your bag. If you can’t find paint color in your preferred choice, you can turn acrylic paint into fabric paint by using a fabric medium. To use the fabric medium, you simply mix 1 part fabric medium with 2 parts acrylic paint.

Step 2: Place a sheet of paper inside of the bag. This will help prevent any paint from seeping through to the other side of the tote bag.

Step 3: To add stripes to your tote bag, you are going to need painter’s tape. Tear off a piece of tape that is longer than your bag so the tape hangs off of both sides. Add the tape towards the top of your bag. Use your hands to smooth and press down the tape. You want to make sure it’s nice and adhered. If there are any gaps, paint can seep through. This will result in an uneven line.

Step 4: Leave a space (about one inch) then place another piece of painter’s tape below it. This will be your first stripe. Again, leave a space and then place another piece of painter’s tape to create another stripe. You’re going to continue this process until you’ve added all of your lines. You’ll make the line at the bottom thicker than the other lines.

Step 5: Add a generous amount of red paint to your foam paint brush. Begin adding paint to the first exposed stripe at the top of the bag. Continue filling in with paint. When you get to the ends of the bag, you’ll want to peel up the tape and place your hand underneath the side. Gently add paint to the side, making sure to only get paint on the front part of the tote bag.

Step 6: After the entire section is filled in with paint, slowly remove the painter’s tape to reveal a nice straight line.

Step 7: Continue following the above steps to add paint to the remaining stripes. Reminder that the last section (the largest section) will be painted in with blue paint.

Step 8: When you get to the last section on your tote bag, add a generous amount of blue paint and begin painting. Again, when you get to the ends, you’ll want to peel up the tape and place your hand underneath the side. Gently add paint to the side, making sure to only get paint on the front part of the tote bag.

Step 9: After the last section is fully painted, slowly remove the painter’s tape.

Step 10: Finally, remove the paper from the inside of your tote bag and toss it out.

You now have a cotton tote bag that looks like an American Flag. If you want to take it one step further, you could actually add stars to the blue section using a fabric marker, patches, or even vinyl! This bag is a great accessory for a Memorial Day party or picnic. It’s the perfect size to load up some picnic goodies like sandwiches, fruit, chips, and some bubbly! Enjoy!