Painting on bags

Thought I’d do a blog post about my painting on bags, which to be honest sells much better than my traditional painting and drawings.

A quick intro into how it all started. Back in the mists of time, when I was at senior school, there was a craze to paint your canvas haversack backpack cover. The usual subject matter was music album covers (the day’s of vinyl records!). I didn’t do much with my haversack, but I do recall others doing this.

Jump forward many years (2015), and my wife buys me a small tan haversack. Don’t recall why she bought it, but do recall her joking that I could paint on it. Well I took that as a challenge and the school bags painting came to mind. I painted a bag with a military theme, which I sold via Etsy.

Since then I’ve painted quite a few bags, with a variety of themes, some as commissions. I’ve also had the fun of looking for new sources of ex-military bags. I like using ex-military bags, as they were made to last, plus it is also reusing a resource that may just be scrapped.

However, I do also purchase more modern bags for painting on, as and when required.

If you would like to see some examples of the bags I have painted, you can view them all on my Blogger blog Or view what current bags I have for sale on Etsy

Enough of the rambling, lets talk about what you came here to read, painting on bags.

Painting on canvas, cotton or cloth bags

My go to paints and medium are acrylics, usually Daler Rowney System 3 or Winsor & Newton Galeria acrylics. But any good quality acrylic paint will do.

What is important is to use the acrylics with a fabric medium. This ensures that the acrylic paint will adhere to the material after heat has been applied (more about that later). My go to medium is Liquitex Professional Fabric Medium. I usually mix it 50:50 with the paint.

Most designs that I do, do not require lots of paint, so a 118ml bottle of fabric medium goes a long way.

Once your painting is complete, you need to apply heat for all to be sealed in. I generally cover the painted area with a tea towel and then iron it with a hot iron for 1 minute.

Your other option is to buy dedicated fabric paints, such as Dylon Fabric Paint or Nerchau Textile Paint, which are two brands that I have used on occasion.

I just find them quite expensive compared to buying normal acrylics mixed with a separate fabric medium.

One thing to consider when painting on canvas, cotton or cloth bags, is that the weave of the fabric will dictate how much detail you will be able to paint.

Paint black bear silhouette on heavy canvas.

Painting on Leather, Faux Leather or UPVC bags

For painting on these materials you need a specific type of paint. The one that I use and can strongly recommend is the Angelus range of paints. These paints are a delight to use, easy to use in thin layers and just work!

Painting military emblem using Angelus paints on upvc style material

So there you have it, a few suggestions that I hope will help if you are thinking of doing something similar in the future?

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