Random Craft: Welcome to London Stamped Tote Bag

I have a friend and her daughter visiting from New Zealand and I thought it would be nice to give them a little something to welcome them to London. I remembered that when I visited London after university I was given a “welcome to the UK pack” (thank you Richard) that was completely amazing. It consisted of treats from M&S, an Oyster card (a card you use to get around on the tube), a tube map, a prepaid Starbucks card, socks, tissues, an umbrella, a Time Out, a small guide to London…. every little thing I may have needed as a tourist was included in this pack. I thought it was completely brilliant. So I stole this idea to make a welcome pack for my friend. Here is a rough guide for how to do it yourself.

Instructions – Stamping the tote

Materials:

Tote – I bought plain canvas totes from Hobbycraft for about £2

Stamp/s

Masking tape

Craft knife

Fabric paint – You don’t need much, I bought a small bottle, again from Hobbycraft for about £3.

 

Instructions:

1. Measure out the area on the tote you want to place your design and use masking tape to mark it out. The masking tape it going to help you keep those areas you don’t want to stamp clean and paint free.

2. For the design above, I used masking tape to fill in the entire square section I was going to place my design.

3. Use a stencil to mark out the design on your masking tape. I was lucky enough to have a large wooden “M” which I used as a template. But if you don’t have this, print out a letter, cut it out and trace around it.

4. Using a craft knife, carefully cut around the traced letter on your masking tape. You are either going to peel away the masking tape letter or peel away the masking tape background.  Take care not to press too hard or you may cut through the material. Pull away the masking tape from the section you don’t want to stamp.

5. Using a paintbrush, brush a small amount of paint onto your stamp and stamp away!

6. Leave the paint to dry for a while before you pull off the rest of the masking tape to prevent smudging. Read the instructions on the paint bottle – some require you to iron the fabric that has been painted to set the paint.

7. Fill your tote.

Note – I chose to stamp in one colour – which really was pretty boring. You could consider painting the background black and then stamping in white, or any other colour combination that takes your fancy. You could also stamp in one colour and then use another colour to stamp over the top – if you choose a dark colour as the base and a light colour to go over the top, you could get a really interesting shadow effect. I would suggest testing these ideas on a piece of paper before you start though.

Instructions – Filling the tote

Contents of the bag: This is something that you can make as extravagant or inexpensive as you want. Things you may want to consider including for your welcome bag:

Transport information: street maps/ tube maps/ bus timetables (although smart phones may make this unnecessary)

Medical: plasters, small first aid kit

Treats: Traditional sweets/ chocolates/ alcohol – for these packs I took David along to the shops with me to source traditionally British sweets. I got Tunnocks caramel wafers, pickled onion Monster Munch, Hob Nobs and Pims (I’m sure there are a load of other things we could have got!)

Weather related items: Poncho, umbrella, suncream….

Collectables: Fridge magnets, small soft toys, stationary…

Eating out: Consider collecting Time Outs, reviews from newspapers, or even make a list of your favourite places to eat with instructions how to get there.