How to Decorate Your Own Drawstring Backpacks

How to Decorate Your Own Drawstring BackpacksDrawstring backpacks work well for day hikes, or for kids who can carry some but not all of their gear. Scout groups and church youth groups sometimes will purchase or make drawstring backpacks. Canvas, denim and even recycled windbreaker jackets work well for making drawstring backpacks. Fabric paint can be used to personalize them.


Difficulty: Moderate

Decorating a Drawstring Backpack

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fabric paint
  • Shoebox or sheet of cardboard
  • Masking tape
Step 1
Prepare the drawstring bag according to the instructions on the fabric paint you've chosen. Most brands simply will require that the bag be washed and dried, without fabric softener, while others will want the bag to be treated with muratic acid or vinegar before applying the color.
Step 2
Place the shoebox inside of the drawstring backpack, then tie the drawstring. This will keep the paint from one side from soaking through to the other. An alternative would be to place a sheet of cardboard into the drawstring bag and lay it flat on a table.
Step 3
Press a length of masking tape onto the bag, to create a frame. If children are painting their own bags, they sometimes have a tendency to get paint everywhere and designating a framed area can help ensure that the finished bags look nicer.
Step 4
Sketch a pencil or chalk design on the bag, to guide the painting. Fabric paint will cover both pencil and chalk.
Step 5
Apply fabric paint to the bag using craft sponges or paintbrushes. Craft sponges work well for covering large areas while paintbrushes enable a more precise application.
Step 6
Allow each color to dry before applying another, to avoid creating mottled colors. Fabric paints don't always mix well.
Step 7
Check the paint manufacturer's instructions once again, for aftercare and laundering suggestions. Some will require you to iron the final design, so that the image sets, while others are complete as soon as the paint dries. There may also be specific recommendations, like avoiding the dryer or washing in cold water.

Tips & Warnings

Bright, vibrant colors may be a smart decision on the trail.

Article Written By Lisa Russell

Lisa Russell has been a freelance writer since 1998. She's been published in "Rethinking Everything Magazine," "Playdate" and "Home Educator's Family Times." She has a professional background in education, cosmetology and the restaurant industry. Russell studied early childhood education at Antelope Valley College, and is pursuing a degree in law.

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