DIY: Ombre canvas tote bag

Being stuck at home yesterday (hope everyone’s safe and dry!) means more time to do household chores and craft! I chose to craft first, heh. I saw a photo of a similar ombre tote bag featuring three colors: pink, blue and violet in instagram. It was just a photo though, so I decided to try and make a bag inspired by summery tones. In my first attempt, I was inspired by mint ice cream, and the sea.

What you’ll need:
– A canvas tote bag
– Acrylic paint
– Mixing surface. I used the plastic cover of a microwaveable container
– A foam roller brush (got mine from National, only Php30 I think)
– Masking tape or plain plastic tape (My paper tape ran out in the middle of my second tote so I used sparkly plastic tape from National)
– Lots of newspaper and a cardboard (optional) to protect the other side of the bag
– A palette knife for mixing the paint



Cover the areas that you want covered with the tape. For my first attempt, I just made a simple alternating stripey pattern. Place some newspapers inside the bag, and some cardboard if you have some, to protect the other side of the bag from paint stains that would probably seep through. Keep in mind that it has to be flat, or you’ll have a hard time rolling your brush on top of the bag and it will result in uneven coloring.


Cover the top and bottom of the bag too, if you wish.

Prepare your paint mixture. Since we’re going to make an ombre effect, start with the lightest shade. I opted to add more color instead of adding white paint since I planned on making it darker at the bottom. You could also start with the darkest shade and then add white after every few stripes. Mix it thoroughly using the palette knife. Work quickly since acrylic’s prone to drying up quickly too! But you can make it last longer by adding a few drops of water and remixing it every now and then.


Roll your roller brush into the paint, you can use the palette knife to spread clumpy paint.


Start rolling! Roll from left to right, top to bottom, but stop in the middle area of the bag, since you’ll be adding the other color to the right side.



When you’re halfway near the bottom, time to change the color. Add more paint (what I did) or more white, if you went for the dark to light ombre route. When you’re near the bottom, change the color again by adding paint or white.


After you’re done with the first color, do the same with the other color. Do it from the right side of the bag to the left. When you reach the part where they’re supposed to blend, use your fingers to blend them. I think having a spray bottle with water would work too, but I didn’t have one, so finger-blend it is. Like what you did with the first color, add a darker shade when you’re in the middle, and another darker shade when you’re near the bottom.


When you’re satisfied with the colors, remove the tape!




Inspired by our glorious sunsets, I made another one, this time with the colors from light pink morphing to a dusky peach. I arranged the tape in a criss-cross pattern, and colored from left to right from one edge of the bag to the other end. Then I built up the intensity of the hue by adding more orange this time.


Have fun trying out various patterns: Chevrons, mimic embroidery stitches, cut the tape into waves and enjoy making your unique ombre tote bag!


7 thoughts on “DIY: Ombre canvas tote bag

    • I’m not really sure! Haha but I think it’s permanent when it’s dried. I painted my shoes with it (tutorial in this blog: DIY galaxy chucks), and kahit nababasa di pa naman ako nagkakalat so far ng messy colored footprints. But then again, that’s canvas, and this bag’s canvas too. I haven’t washed both so I can’t say, eep. For the shirts, though, maybe it’s better to use fabric paint? The one that you iron after? I used fabric paint on a cotton shirt and didn’t iron it since we didn’t have an iron, haha, but so far, so good. πŸ™‚ Try it first in an old shirt, then wash it immediately so you can see if it runs. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

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