Reusable bags these days are more and more becoming a trending alternative to single-use plastic bags. Giulia Mauri shows you how to decorate an ordinary blank canvas bag to make it into something special to be carried around the high street with pride. It’s an ideal project to be done with children from the age of 3 onwards that will literally help you reduce your carbon footprint!

1. Gather all of the materials. Blank canvas bags can be purchased online for as little at 60p each. There are so many different sizes and models; with short or long handles and canvas thickness varies as well. If you are handy with a sewing machine you could indeed sew your own too.

2. As for the fabric paint, it’s available in so many different colours, but to minimise the cost of this project, you could just buy primary (red, blue and yellow) and create secondary colours (purple, orange, green) by mixing them together. You’ll also need a medium size paintbrush, a couple of dishes to mix the colours in.

3. Prepare the area you are going to be working in. Newspapers or an oilcloth would be ideal. If you are choosing to decorate with your children’s footprints you definitely want to carry out this project in the bathroom to avoid rainbow prints all over your lovely house.

4. Begin by painting rainbow stripes on your child’s hand or foot. This process needs to be done fairly quickly to avoid the colour drying out. For an educational twist ask your child to pick the orders of which they would like the colours to be on the print beforehand. If they are a little bit older you could get them to stir the colours in the pot as well.

5. When the hand/foot has completely been painted you are ready for the printing! Position the hand just above the canvas and then gently rest it on the fabric of the bag and press it against it. (Tip: You want to make sure that even the paint in the concave part of the hand is touching the canvas as well otherwise you’ll end up with a gap).

6. Wash or wipe the hand or foot before painting the other one. To fix the print permanently on your bag, turn it inside out once dry and iron it using a high heat setting.

Giulia Mauri is a local artist, illustrator and early years and prep school teacher. She runs art workshops and is the author of the upcoming book: “Miss Giulia is in the house! – Art and Craft Projects for Children of all Ages”. To find out more about Giulia or to invite her to run a workshop in your local school please visit her web site: