DIY beach tote with Mod Podge

You can decoupage a bag with your favorite fabric! I made a fun DIY beach tote for my summertime pool trips using a retro surfer-inspired fabric I found.I love having a big tote or two around this time of year. Summer adventures often seem to require a big tote bag, don’t they?

Inexpensive canvas totes from the craft store are fun to decorate for the summer. Did you know you can decoupage them with your favorite fabric? I made a fun tote for my summertime pool trips using a retro surfer-inspired fabric I found. I loved the scene depicted on the fabric and the mix of blues and red. Fun and beachy!

I could’ve just adhered a panel of this fabric to the tote . . . but I thought strips of the material could be more fun and interesting. Want to see how to make one?

How to Decorate a Canvas Tote with Fabric

how-to-decoupage-fabric-tote-1Supplies used:

  • Medium sized canvas tote
  • Light-weight fabric
  • Mod Podge Fabric
  • Brushes
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Cutting mat

how-to-decoupage-fabric-tote-2Prewash and dry both the tote and decorative fabric. Cut an approximate square of the fabric that will fit over the side of your tote. Brush a coat of Mod Podge over the section of fabric you plan to use.

how-to-decoupage-fabric-tote-3Hang the fabric till dry.

how-to-decoupage-fabric-tote-4Using a ruler and the cutting mat, clean and square up the fabric edges to be the exact size you need to cover the side of the tote. Cut approximately 1” strips from that square. The Mod Podge you applied before should make the fabric easy to cut without fraying.

how-to-decoupage-fabric-tote-5Brush a liberal coat of decoupage to the back of each strip and press each one down on the tote, allowing a little space between each strip. Lay the stripes down in order to recreate the pattern in the fabric. But to add a little variation, you can also gently stagger each strip so the scene does not line up perfectly. It’s up to you.

Once dry, brush another coat of Mod Podge on top of the strips, too.

After all the Mod Podge dries, the tote can be used, and washed if needed. (When I washed mine, the strips held to the tote, but some of the edges did peel back a little. I just added more decoupage to secure them down again.)

I love how the fabric looks on the tote!

DIY beach tote using Mod PodgeWhen you were a kid in art class, did you ever draw a picture and then cut it up into strips and reassemble the picture with the strips staggered to create a different/mottled look of the original drawing? I did . . . and that approach is what inspired this bag. I like how the stripes break up the Hawaiian scene a little so the effect is  varied and slightly abstract.

I’m having fun using this bag this summer . . . don’t you want to make one to take to the beach or pool?

Madigan madeAbout the Podger: You might call Shannon the Clark Kent of craft blogging. By day, she is a pharmacist and by night she shares simple ideas for crafts, décor and much more with her readers. She also craves chocolate, loves a thrifty find and tries (often unsuccessfully) to avoid glue gun burns. You can find Shannon on her blog, Madigan Made, and on FacebookTwitterGoogle + or Pinterest, too.

Mod Podge newsletter


  1. says

    Hi Shannon,
    What a cute idea! I really like the effect from cutting the fabric into strips. It almost looks like you handpainted the design.

  2. Sherry in Fl. says

    That is so cute & creative. I don’t know how you do your day job and this too/
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Sara/creativejewishmom says

    Love it, gotta get some fabric modge podge! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  4. says

    NOOOO WAYYYYYY! I did not know they had Mod Podge for fabric! I am SOOOOOO on this one! I love the way you stripped the pieces of the fabric to give it more interest.