How to print your own tote bag

How to print your own tote bag

Learn how to print your own tote bag or shopping bag at home, using transfer paper and a household iron. A simple and efficient method.

The first reason I’m using tote bags, it’s because I like to go shopping with my own bags instead of using the plastic bags from the stores. I have that thinking…. less plastic bags, less pollution. The other reason it’s that I’ve always liked doing handmade things and have them personalized as I wish.

Most of the time I also create my own custom bags, since I also sell them. But for this particular example I had to buy one as I run out of fabric and I wanted to make this particular tutorial. The idea is simple, it doesn’t matter if you make your own tote bag or you buy one. The point it’s to personalize it on your taste as you want…. just because you can or…. why not ?


  • Tote bag / shopping bag ( from fabric )
  • Transfer paper
  • Household iron
  • Scissors
  • Flat wooden surface
Printing a tote bag at home using a household iron

First Step

First thing you will need it’s your tote bag. You can either buy a plane tote bag, or if you are like me you create your own. No matter what option you pick, the rest of the steps are exactly the same. First of all you pick the graphics you want to print, and always make sure the image has a high resolution so the printed image will look good. The next part it will be in picking up the transfer paper depending of the color your tote bag is. There are different kinds for light colors and others for dark colors.

Depending on the paper you are suing, you may have to print the image normally, or mirrored. Always pay attention on the instructions you have for that particular product you are using. In this example I used light / white transfer paper. So in my case the image had to be printed mirrored. Once you decided on what you prefere, then you can print your image and let’s carry on to the next step.

Printing The Bag

Once you printed your image, lay your tote bag on a flat wooden surface. This offered me the best results so far. Always iron your tote bag first so you have a nice clean surface to bond the printed image on. Cut the image you just printed as you see in the example video. I always like leaving edges of about 5 millimeters around the image.

Pick the desired spot on your tote bag where you want to have your image printed, and place the paper. Have your iron to the highest setting and make sure it’s heated up properly before you place it on the paper. Now you can start the transfer process. The idea is that you have to heat up the paper with the iron as uniform as you can, using as much pressure on the image.

Important is to always read the instructions of the paper you are using, as not all have the same time when it’s about the heat and the time you have to use. For the particular paper I’m using I need about 3 minutes of heat and pressure for the size of an A4 image. It’s a good thing to always check if the image bonded to the surface before you remove the paper. In case it didn’t sicked properly, you can always heat it up a little longer.

The Last Step

Now that you heated up and applied the necessarily pressure on the image, you are ready to remove the paper. First let the surface cool down properly and do not remove the paper when it’s still hot. The image may stick to the paper and you will mess up everything you just made. So when it cooled down properly, carefully remove the image. Personally I’m adding a baking or silicone paper on top and iron a little more for a perfect bond.

And here you have your own custom printed tote bag. Remember to always leave it for at least 24 hours before washing it. Later on if you ever want to iron your bag, always remember to protect the image with fabric on top, or iron your back backwards.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, even though it was really short. I’ll wait for you to come back for more. Please leave a comment if you have any requests or tutorial ideas.

Video tutorial – How to print your own tote bag

2 thoughts on “How to print your own tote bag”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top