DIY Painted Backpack: How to Paint Your Backpack for a Fresh New Look

Sarah Vanderkooy
by Sarah Vanderkooy
5 Materials
30 Minutes

Making this DIY painted backpack is a great way to refresh an old backpack. The design possibilities are endless, and this tutorial shows you how easy and quick it is to paint your own backpack. Let's get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Plain canvas backpack
  • Assorted fabric paint
  • Assorted paintbrushes
  • Toothpicks
  • Pencil

3 Great things about fabric paint

First of all, fabric paint comes in so many fantastic colors, and because you can buy it in small squeeze bottles you can stock up with as many colors as you like.

Second, in addition to regular fabric paint, you can buy glittery fabric paint for sparkle, metallic fabric paint for shine, and puffy fabric paint to get some texture and dimension.

Third, once applied, fabric paint dries without curing and holds up well to a little rain or spilled water.

Black canvas bag for painting

What kind of backpack works best?

A plain, unadorned backpack will work best for this project. Use one that is either canvas or at least has some portion of cotton in it. Think of your backpack as a big blank canvas!

Filling backpack with binders

1. Prepare your backpack

To prepare your backpack for this revamp, make sure it’s clean and dry. You’ll need a flat surface to sketch and paint on, so fill your backpack with binders before getting to work on revamping it.  

Sketching a design lightly with a pencil

2. Create your design

Use a pencil to lightly sketch your design on the backpack.

How to paint on a backpack

3. How to paint on a backpack

Once you’ve got your design on the backpack, you are ready to start painting. Work slowly and carefully with your fabric paint because fabric paint will adhere quickly and does not come off.

Backpack painting ideas

Backpack painting ideas

You can use the fabric paint in a variety of ways. Decant it to a small bowl or paint palette so you can dip your brush in it for larger areas that you want to paint.

If you are using paintbrushes, you can use a variety of paintbrush sizes for different effects. Or, you can squeeze the fabric paint directly from the paint bottle nozzle for thin lines or dots of paint.

You can also use puffy paint to add some texture to your DIY painted backpack. The possibilities are huge, so let your imagination run wild!

How to paint your own backpack

Puffy paint tip: If you want to fill an area with puffy paint, outline the shape first with the puffy paint. Then squirt some puffy paint inside the outline and use a toothpick to spread it out to fill your space.

DIY painted backpack

DIY painted backpack tutorial

Just look out how your plain old backpack has been revamped and upstyled! Since the design is only limited by your own imagination, you can make these suitable for kids or adults of any age.

You can even let your kids make their own DIY painted backpack – what a great activity that would be on a rainy day!

Leave a comment to let me know how your painted backpack worked out and what design you chose.

Suggested materials:
  • Plain canvas backpack
  • Assorted fabric paint
  • Assorted paint brushes
See all materials

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