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5 DIY gifts with printable templates

Jenn Kirk is a graphic designer by trade, but enjoys escaping the computer by developing hands-on DIY projects, especially the messy kind that involves her four and six-year-old boys. Recent transplants from coastal California, the Kirks...

DIY gifts from the heart

While jewelry and gift cards to favorite stores can be exciting, some of the most memorable gifts I have been given are of the handmade variety.

Lucky number tote bag

DIY gifts from the heart

Dress up a plain tote by hand-stenciling your lucky number in a vintage-style font.

For this DIY craft you will need:

  • Blank 13 by 14-inch canvas tote bag
  • Desktop inkjet printer
  • Scissors
  • Freezer paper
  • Fabric paint in color of your choice
  • Sponge brush
  • Piece of cardboard or brown paper grocery bag cut to fit inside of tote
  • Number template


Step 1: Cut a sheet of freezer paper to 8.5 by 11 inches to fit in your printer. Load inkjet printer with this paper so that you are printing on the dull side. (Warning: Do not run freezer paper through a laser printer.)

Step 2: Print out PDF of the number.

Step 3: Trim out the number with a craft knife. Use a self-healing mat or flattened corrugated box to protect your work surface. If working on numbers 0, 6, 8 or 9, make sure to carefully cut out and reserve the inside of the number. You will need this to fill in the "hole" inside your number.

DIY gifts from the heart

Step 4: Center the number template on the tote and iron on at a low setting. Iron any inside pieces for 0, 6, 8 or 9

Step 5: Insert a piece of cardboard into the tote to keep paint from seeping through to the other side.

Step 6: Dip sponge brush into fabric paint and stencil, making sure to dab and brush from the outside in -- you want to avoid pushing paint under the template past the edges.

DIY gifts from the heart

Step 7: Allow to air-dry or use a hairdryer to speed up drying. Carefully remove the freezer paper to reveal stencil design. Now the bag is ready to give!


DIY gifts from the heart

Up next: Watercolor paper orchid

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