21 Ways to Make and Decorate Totebags

canvas-tote phg

21 Ways to Make and Decorate Tote Bags | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you been enjoying all of the awesome tote bag tutorials this week? Today we’ve rounded up even more sewing tutorials, decorating ideas, and an amazing crocheted tote bag.

How To Sew Totebags:

canvas-tote phg

Who can resist an adorable lined tote bag with a monogram. Can you believe this beauty is all DIY! Jaime of That’s My Letter whipped up a classic monogrammed canvas tote.


Drop cloths aren’t just for catching paint anymore! Heather of The Sewing Loft shows how to make an Easy Canvas Tote Bag out of painter drop cloths!

Fox book bag

What does the fox say? He’d say he’s head over heels in love with this tote bag. Perfect for back to school, Heather shows how to sew or iron on this fox applique with sweet embroidery details.


Sandra from Sawdust Girl is famous for her amazing woodworking so it should be no surprise that she has a fabulous tutorial for Reversible Reusable Ruffled Grocery Bags.


It’s okay to cheat a little. Grab a store bought tote and dress it up that plain tote bag with piping. This tutorial also shows a cheat for the non-sewer!

decorate tote with old shirt

Old shirt + another store bought tote = Adorable! Customizing a Totebag With an Old Shirt in an hour.
This goes straight on my Christmas to-do list!


I know, it’s hard to discard that favorite t-shirt. Now you don’t have to! Repurpose that favorite tee into a library totebag? Jessica from Mad in Crafts shares how easy it is in her step-by-step tutorial.

tote bag from tee shirt

What’s better than repurposing one t-shirt? Of course, recycling two shirts! On Creative Green Living, Carissa shares another t-shirt-to-totebag tutorial using two shirts. One makes a stylish liner.


No-Sew Totebags: [Read more…]

DIY Painted Pool Sign



Hey everyone!  Katie again from Addicted 2 DIY.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s been two months now since we finished building our dream pool.  If you’ve ever wondered what you can learn (and save) by contracting your pool out yourself, I’ve got all of the handy details on my blog.  Now that we have our own pool to make fun family memories in, I thought a fun sign would be a great addition.  I designed this sign based off of one we had by our pool when I was a kid.  According to my mom, this one looks way nicer.  She wouldn’t lie to me, right?

To help you make your own sign, I’m also including the free SVG file I created for you to download.  Please use it for personal use only.

Here’s what you’ll need for your own sign:

  •  1×2 plywood project board (2’x4′)
  • 3 – 3/4″ x 3′ square poplar dowels
  • 1 1/2″ brad nails
  • brad nailer
  • wood glue
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • orbital sander
  • 24″ clamps
  • wood filler
  • paint colors of your choice
  • paint roller and/or paintbrush
  • adhesive vinyl
  • transfer paper
  • electronic cutting machine (I have a Silhouette CAMEO)
  • Welcome to Our OOL SVG file

Start by cutting your plywood down to 12″ x 20″.  If you don’t have the ability to do this, you can always ask the helpful employees at the home improvement store.  Cut the square dowels on a 45 degree angle to frame the plywood.  The inside measurements should be 12″ and 20″.


Frame the plywood with the dowels using wood glue.


Clamp the edges…

build-wood-sign clamp-trim-to-plywood

…and nail them to the plywood with your brad nailer.


Since the plywood is only 1/2″ thick, you’ll have to be careful not to nail the trim too high.  I had one nail go astray, but I was able to get it out with needle-nose pliers.  It’s nothing a little wood filler can’t fix later on.


When your entire piece is assembled, sand it with 220 grit sandpaper to get rid of any rough spots.  Paint the entire sign, front and back, with your base color.  I love using sample size jars of paint for projects like this.


Cut your message out on an electronic cutting machine.  Weed out the vinyl design and cover it with transfer tape.


Peel the backing off of the vinyl and carefully center it over the plywood face.  Smooth it with a scraping tool (or credit card.) Carefully peel off the transfer paper.

put-vinyl-on-wood-signGrab your second paint color and stencil the design with a paint brush or roller.  You can mask off the frame of the sign with painter’s tape or paper to protect it from any paint mishaps.  I opted to go slow and carefully paint inside the frame.


Once your design is completely stenciled, carefully peel the vinyl off of the face of the sign.


You can leave your sign as it, or distress it a bit.  Whatever you like!  I love distressing things, but I decided that I really liked a cleaner look for this sign.



I’m so happy with how it turned out!  I’m no graphic designer, so I spent several hours coming up with a design that was just right, but it was well worth it.  My kids think it’s hilarious!  Let’s just hope everyone that comes and visits us will follow the rules!  I’m thinking it will look great somewhere near our grotto/water slide.  Once we get that area landscaped, I’ll give it a more permanent location.  Now that this sign is done, I kind of want to make another one for the waterfall that says “Mt. Wannahockaloogie” from Finding Nemo.  We have a “Nemo” mosaic inside the grotto, so it would tie in perfectly.  I may be the only one that gets it, but that’s okay.


~learn more about Katie~

Stenciled and Dyed Scarves Tutorial

Stenciled and Dyed Scarves Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Stenciled and Dyed Scarves Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Once again I’ve created a DIY gift that I want to keep for myself! It’s true, I’ve fallen in love with these stenciled and dyed scarves that I created this week. In particular, I’m rather fond of the blue/gray and yellow ones. So, my question to you is, which looks better on me? (Because I might have to keep it.)

The blue/gray ombré scarf with the peacock feathers.

Stenciled and Dyed Scarves Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Or the sunny yellow scarf with paisleys. I always thought I didn’t look good in yellow, but I think the picture is proving my thoughts wrong.

Stenciled and Dyed Scarves Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

For this gift idea, you can either purchase colored scarves or buy white scarves and dye them. I prefer to do the latter because frankly I don’t usually like the scarf colors offered (at least the inexpensive ones.) But, that’s up to you and your time availability.  Let’s get on to the tutorial, shall we?

Materials for stenciling scarves: [Read more…]

Creating Vintage Painted Oars with 3M


How to Make Vintage Painted Oars | Pretty Handy Girl

Vintage painted oars are nostagic objects for me. They bring back memories of camp and watching crew teams rowing along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. So, when my sister wanted to find some oars to decorate the beach condo with, I jumped at the opportunity to make some. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know that my sister Caitlin (of Symmetry Designs in San Jose, CA) and I have been renovating Diane Chamberlain’s Topsail Beach condo. The condo is a great size (three bedrooms) and located ocean front. That’s where the pros ended. Sadly the condo was stuck in the 80’s: teal carpeting, orangey wood trim and cabinet doors that were falling off. We converged on the property back in September to start the renovation process.

Before the trip, I whipped out these fun painted oars. They were easy to make, you could sooo do this!


3M™ Safety Products:

  • 3MTekk Eye glasses
  • 3MTekk Ear plugs
  • 3MTekk Painter’s glove
  • 3MTekk Cool Valve dust mask

3M Advanced Abrasives:

  • 3M Sand paper for sander (80,120 & 180 grits)
  • 3M 220 Grit Sanding sponge
  • ScotchBlue™™ Painter’s Tape
  • 3M Sanding block
  • 1″ x 6″ pine boards
  • Jigsaw
  • Sander
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencil brush or sponge
  • White paint
  • Red Paint
  • Red Paint
  • Number stencils
  • Minwax Early American stain
  • Rags


Clamp your 1″ x 6″ board to a work surface. Trace out the oar shape onto your board. You can use rulers and rounded paint cans or plates to trace the curves.

Put on your safety glasses, ear plugs and grab the jig saw.

How to Make Vintage Painted Oars | Pretty Handy Girl [Read more…]

Outdoor Planter from an Ice Bucket #LowesCreator



Being a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blogger is one of my favorite jobs as a DIY blogger. I love walking the aisles of Lowe’s, with my provided gift card in hand, dreaming of finding mundane objects to transform into amazingly beautiful objects. For example, what do you get when you cross an ice bucket with a stove pipe connector?


[Read more…]

Stenciled Drop Cloth Table Runner


I love a functional gift that will last beyond the holidays! These stenciled table runners are just the ticket for anybody who likes to host parties or just make their table look festive.

AND you could win a $75 Gift Card from Lowe’s which would pay for most of the supplies! (see the bottom of the post for more details.) [Read more…]

Chalk Painted, Stenciled and Distressed Dumpster Table


Dear Beautiful Table, your scandinavian antique beauty has us mesmerized. What’s your story? Did a family of four sit around you and talk about the day’s adventures on the farm? Or were you an antique table brought over from Europe and passed down for generations?  Or were you simply an ugly table left by the dumpster of an apartment complex in Raleigh, NC? {insert record scratch sound bite here} Yup, would you believe that a few short weeks ago, this beauty was sprawled in pieces by a dumpster? All the pieces (including the leg bolts) were neatly in a plastic baggy and secured to the table. This is one of the best pieces of furniture I’ve ever found in the trash (well next to it to be exact.) I didn’t have to do any structural repairs, just reattached the legs. But, it looked like the below photo when I picked it up:

[Read more…]

Circle Diamond Pattern Light Fixture – Updating a Brass Light Fixture


I have been dying to share this tutorial with you! This project was inexpensive and it made such a big impact in our mudroom. It started with a few Habitat ReStore light fixtures and some NEW! Martha Stewart glass paint and ended up adding some major “WOW Factor” to our entry.

[Read more…]

Dye Sprayed Shirts Using ScotchBlue Tape {Video Tutorial}


How many of you are moms (raise your hands)? And how many of you moms out there have rambunctious kids home for the summer? So, y’all with your hands raised will likely recognize this:

That was my cute adorable bird salt shaker that was obviously the brunt of some serious fun my boys were having. Grrrrrr.

And so the time had come to get those boys outside. No matter that the temperature was 102F with a heat index warning. Enough is enough! There was the safety of small innocent birds to worry about.

I came up with a fun plan to let my boys make their own t-shirts with spray bottles filled with dye and some ScotchBlue painter’s tape. The results were beautiful and unique!

[Read more…]

Summer Calendar and Our Bucket List


I don’t know whether to be excited or dread that yesterday was the last day of school for my boys. I have some summer camps lined up for them, but frankly our summer schedule is all over the place. So much so that I need help remembering where the kids are going and when.

I thought it would be a good idea to display the schedule so the boys could see what was coming up (to avoid the inevitable anxiety from different camps for different weeks.) To give them a little control over the schedule, we sat down and brainstormed our bucket list for the summer. Ice cream, swimming, and Carowinds are only a few of their bucket list items. I thought it was especially sweet that they wanted to spend time with our longtime sitter one or two days ;-).

While I was contemplating this displayable schedule, I received a box of goodies from Plaid. The boys were home when it arrived, so naturally they hovered like eager vultures as I opened it. And of course they immediately wanted to make something with the supplies. Sometimes timing is a serendipitous thing.

I set up the kitchen table with all the supplies and a plastic cover over the table. When I looked up, my oldest son had disappeared! I found him like this:

[Read more…]

Stencil Myself a New Door Mat


I picked up this plain vanilla door mat a while ago at a thrift store. I knew I wanted to transform it into something stencil-tacular. But, I couldn’t decided on the right pattern.

While at SNAP I was introduced to Royal Studio Design stencils and won a free stencil to take home. This Chez Sheik design immediately jumped out at me. The moroccan look is very beautiful, don’t you think? [Read more…]

Coffee Lover’s Snowflake Gift Set using Martha Stewart Craft Stencils and Paints


Looking for a gift for those hard to buy people on your list? Or simply an inexpensive gift for your child’s teachers? I found the perfect gift while grocery shopping. Our local Kroger had Illy ground coffee and tumbler sets on clearance. Naturally I shoved everyone aside and grabbed as many as I could (not really, but I would have!) For under $8 each, it was a real sweet deal.

I thought the gift sets needed a little somethin’ special to give them holiday flair (or maybe I was feeling guilty that the gifts were just too easy and inexpensive.) With a little Martha Stewart multi-surface craft paint and Martha Stewart decorative snowflake stencils, I turned them into extra special holiday gifts.


  • Tumbler and ground coffee
  • Martha Stewart craft supplies:
    • Multi-Surface Craft Paints:
      • Mother of Pearl
      • Wedding Cake
      • Summer Haze
      • Metallic Sterling
    • Holiday stencils
    • Holiday adhesive stencils
    • Roller tops
    • Specialty sponges
  • 3M ScotchBlue painter’s tape
  • Paint brush
  • Fabric
  • Baby wipes or wet rag


Decorating the Tumbler:

Clean the tumblers with soap and water. Let them dry.

Tape off the areas of the stencil that you aren’t using. Add more tape to the outside edge of the stencil to hold it in place on the tumbler.

Wrap the stencil around the tumbler.

Dip a specialty sponge into the Martha Stewart  multi-surface craft paint. Dab off any excess paint.

Pounce lightly and straight onto the stencil. (If you come at it from an angle some of the paint may seep under the stencil or move the stencil.)

Gently remove the stencil and reposition it in another location on the tumbler. (Be careful not to overlap the first snowflake.)

Fill in areas between the larger snowflakes with small self-adhesive stencils.

The specialty sponge is too big for these smaller stencils, but you can use a paint brush to paint inside the stencil.

Repeat until you are happy with your decorated tumbler.


Snowflake Gift Bags:

Squeeze some craft paint into a Martha Stewart roller top (best invention EVER!)

Tape the stencil onto your fabric.

Gently roll the roller top back and forth over the stencil until the desired amount of paint comes out.

Remove the stencil and let the paint dry.

Repeat the snowflake design randomly throughout the fabric.

Sew a little box bottom drawstring gift bag, using the snowflake fabric. I think the snowflake themed coffee gift set will be a big hit! (Holiday decoration, thrifty, re-useable, and come on…who doesn’t LOVE coffee?!)

This was a very easy craft to create. You could decorate with any stencils you like. Think how cute a stenciled monogram would look on the tumbler.

I will probably include a note mentioning that the tumbler design will last longer if washed on the top rack of the dishwasher.






Disclosure: I was provided the craft materials and a small payment in exchange for writing this tutorial. The ideas, tutorials, and opinions are my own.
Sharing with:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

The Perfect Color for a Craig’s List Dresser

I am in love with those adorable french provincial dressers. The flourishy handles are what really get my heart pounding.When I saw this dresser on Craig’s List for $35 dollars, I pounced!

 Disclaimer: I stole this picture from the previous owner’s Craig’s List Ad.

Oooo baby, don’t you just love that faux gold outlined accents and off white laminate top. Yes, I said laminate. But I wasn’t afraid of it. For $35 who cares if it gets messed up. If you never take the risk, you’ll never learn anything new, right?!

The drawers were still in good shape, but a little loose around the joints, so I squirted my new favorite Gorilla Glue into the joints and clamped lassoed them up!

Then I used newspaper to protect any of the areas I didn’t want sprayed.

After sanding all the surfaces to rough them up, I put a coat of primer on everything. Loving that crisp clean white, but the dresser told me to “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  So, I cooperated and continued on to another color.

Next, I sprayed Rustoleum Heirloom White and distressed the surface with a wood stain.

The drawer pulls got their own treatment of automotive primer followed by Oil Rubbed Bronze paint. Thank goodness they were happy with their new color because – I’m telling you – that dresser was certainly acting like a diva! She was still demanding a new color.

I have seen many Nantucket Fog makeovers and decided to make a run to Ace Hardware to pick up a small sample of that blue gray color. And I grabbed a can of artistic glaze.

After two coats of the Nantucket Fog glaze, that little dresser still wanted something else. Sheesh! So I pulled out some leftover blue paint from my dormer window shutters.

Finally, she shut up! It’s a good thing too, because I LOVE this color. I love it so much that I hauled my tired hiney back over to Ace to match the color just for you.

Does anyone else get starry eyed and entranced by all these fabulous colors?

The closest match is Buxom Blue from Benjamin Moore. Not too far off from Nantucket Fog, but you know those divas they want what they want!

Now, all important divas need something to wear that gets them noticed. Thus, I decoupaged some wrapping paper on the side (tutorial is here.)

And then because I liked the pattern so much, I blew it up and added it to two corners of the dresser top (tutorial for adding a sharpie stencil.)

I added some beachy blue glaze over the wrapping paper and the top graphic.

And I have to tell you that – halleluiah – I finally figured out the proper technique when using the valspar glazes (the tutorial is here.)

I finished up with three coats of a semi-gloss polyurethane.

And here is that stunningly beautiful diva of a dresser. Transformed from Cinderella to the Belle of the ball!

Isn’t it amazing what a little oil rubbed bronze can do!
 Hard to believe this was wrapping paper in a previous life!
 Peek-a-boo I see a cute stencil.

Now, I have to convince Pretty Handsome Guy that our master bedroom furniture doesn’t have to be all matchy matchy!

 Because I LOVE our Pottery Barn Sleigh Bed. 
But not the matching dresser.
 I love the new-old dresser! What do you think?

Any helpful hints on using Jedi mind tricks on unsuspecting Pretty Handsome Guy?

Update: Thank you to my readers that pointed out that I installed the handles upside down. They have been fixed now ;-).