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Styrofoam Print Canvas Bags

Across Scotland, Wales and Ireland you will get charged 5p for a carrier bag. This happens not only in big supermarkets but in little convenience stores, high street stores like primark and even in take-out restaurants like McDonald's. If you want/need a bag, you have to pay (Its being implemented in England from Oct 2015)

So i decided to make lovely decorated bags for when we do a bit of light shopping (I don't recommend these for holding your chips in though).

I forgot just how fun printing was from my school days and to be honest it was alot easier than i remember (but then i was using Styrofoam this time over lino in class).

To make you'll need
Pre-made canvas bags (or you could make your own)
A sheet or two of Styrofoam
a pencil to score the sheets
a plastic tray, sheet of cardboard or a plate
acrylic paint
a sponge
a place-mat or thick cardboard sheet

The size of the design is completely up to you, as is the actual design its self. I opted to half my A4 sheet giving me a smaller design space and wanted a simple image to be transferred. I saw this little robot online and just fell in love so i wanted to re-create it :)

To make the print, i simply drew the picture on the Styrofoam. Leaning hard enough to score the foam but not pierce all the way through. The circles were a little bit harder to get nice and round without ripping the Styrofoam so keep that in mind when your planning your design.

I think it still looks quite cool though :)

Next you need to prepare your bag.

Make sure its a somewhat smooth surface. I know some of the bags that come in wrappers can be really wrinkled and that can alter the finished design so if it is a little on the crinkly side, its best to give it an iron before you add the print (remember to let the fabric cool down first too).

Once your ready to print, Slide the place-mat or cardboard inside the bag to stop the paint leaking through to the back and put a splodge of paint on the tray or plate.

We used an empty cereal box 

Dip the end of the sponge in the paint and gently brush the foam with the sponge till its completely covered. Then carefully lay the print on the bag and press it down all over the back to make sure the image transfers evenly.

See what i mean about the lines in the bag? Lesson learnt for next time!

Once you've printed the design CAREFULLY set it to the side to dry. Leave the cardboard or place-mat inside until the image has completely dried.

Provided you don't damage the sheet of Styrofoam, you can re-use it over and over to make as many bags as you like. I made a set of 4 as Agent M wanted to make one to send to his Auntie and his Granny in England. You can even print it onto paper for a fun picture to stick on the fridge if your really love the design :)

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