To celebrate the sweet spring days ahead, I decided to create this watercolor canvas tote in the pastels of early daffodils, tulips and crocus. Combining watercolors with stronger yellows and pinks made pretty combinations reminiscent of the garden this time of year.
- Canvas Tote Bag (I used this extra large one)
- Pearlescent Watercolor Paint Set (my favorite!)
- Various Craft Paints
- Paintbrushes, water, patience and time
- Tape to block off the edge of the tote (optional)
Tape off any parts of your canvas tote that you don’t want paint on. I put a big piece of packing tape along the seam edge on the bottom of the canvas tote (See below). Then the fun begins! Choose two colors that are similar in shade. Dip your paintbrush into water, then into the watercolor to moisten the paint. Once the paint is loosened up, make a long line of your first color. Skip a space of 1-2 inches of canvas, then make your second color.
See the two strong colors and the blend between them? You can continue this technique all along your canvas tote for a very soft, sweet, pastel look. If the color ever becomes too strong, simply dilute it and drag the color to a new spot on your canvas.
Dots mixed with the lines of color was not the look I wanted though so I decided to move ahead with craft paints. Do you know how all the flowers in spring are pastel, but then there are those SUPER bold tulips and crocuses that want a little more attention? They seem to think they are blooming in the summer or something and come out with bright hues of magenta, lime, lemon and goldenrod. I wanted my spring canvas tote to reflect THOSE blooms too, so I started adding in deeper tones and blending them with water and additional watercolors. (Beware: this technique is not for the faint of heart — it is scary at first!)
The idea is to always keep blending, blending, blending. One note: If you do not want your canvas tote to start looking “muddy” choose a limited palette and stick to it! I used primarily yellows, pinks and orange/corals. I used a tiny bit of green and blue, but put them in a seperate part of the bag, allowed them to dry fully, THEN layered on top of them. If you mix all the colors of the rainbow while wet, everything will just turn a nice shade of BROWN.
Once the bag dries, everything will lighten. You might want to go back in several times and add more color layers. Allowing the bag to dry several times along the way is a good strategy for making sure you don’t go TOO far with bright colors and then hate the result. I painted this over 3 days, allowing the canvas tote to dry. Total painting time was probably only 30-45 minutes though.
Additional note: Using watercolors means this tote will NOT be washable. Use fabric paints for a washable canvas tote!