Sometimes I’m Crafty: Nautical Tote

In one short week I will be digging my toes into the blissful sands of St. Thomas with two of my favorite women in the world.  The downside to sand, of course, is that it stays with you.  Months after I return to my winter wonderland (or whatever Chicago weather happens to be next week) I will find it in my suitcase, bathing suits, and cheap tourist trap souvenirs.

It may win a few battles, but I will not let the sand win the war: purses.

There are lots of adorable beach totes available to haul your towel, sunscreen, and trashy reading materials down to the shore but I find they tend to fall into at least one of two categories: too expensive for the beach or too cheeky for my taste. (Speaking of cheeky, let’s take a moment to discuss these beach towels from Target.)

After searching the internet and discount chains for a bag I liked enough to use but didn’t like enough to ruin, I decided to make my own.  That’s right, fellas, I may not be domestic enough to cook or clean for you, but I’m domestic enough to make your mother a pretty present and pretend it’s from you.  Now if that’s not a turn on I don’t know what is.

Project: Nautical-inspired Beach Tote

What you need: 

  • Tote
  • Fabric Paint
  • Brush
  • Masking Tape
  • Cardboard

First, slide your cardboard into your tote.  If you’re like I was a child, you’re now asking, “Uh, but Mom why?” (Boy did my mom put up with a lot of crap.) Well, kids, this is to make sure that your paint doesn’t bleed through from one side to the other.

Then, tape your design onto the bag.  I like things to be a little quirky and off center, so I chose zig zags instead of the traditional nautical straight lines.
Make your corners as neat as you are able to do given your person-specific need to be anal retentive and uniform throughout its design.  I did what I could but, like so many things in life, went the laissez-faire route for the most part.
Next, paint!  I chose a matte finish Marine Blue to go with the nautical vibe I wanted.  I also bought a matte finish red color for accent, but when I got to the end of the project I decided red would be too much.  Like in writing and accessories, most people stop one moment too late.
(Some of the best advice I’ve ever received is to take off the last piece of jewelry you put on before you walk out the door and delete the last paragraph you wrote in any story or essay. Does it change the meaning or intent? No? Good. Now stop.)
Finally, and carefully, remove the tape.  Work backwards from the direction you originally laid the tape down to have more control over the results.  Let the tote dry for 2 – 4 hours depending on the amount of paint you used and directions on the bottle.  Keep it in a flat, dry place away from curious animals and children (though for some of you they may be equal).
Personally, I think the inexact lines that my anal retentive tendencies didn’t care about give the bag a little character. I could still add the thin red stripe under each blue one, but I think I prefer just the two colors. What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Sometimes I’m Crafty: Nautical Tote

  1. That’s so cute! I’m thinking of having a craft project day. Some fabric painting of some kind might have to be added to the project list!

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