What’s the best way to spend those first cozy days of the new year? How about a little DIY? It’s a good excuse to gather with friends, it’ll distract your brain from the cleanse you’re likely starting, and, in this case, hook you up with a brand new eco-friendly tote to hit the farmer’s market with.

We love painting things gold – like, all things. If you set us free with a can of gold paint on a quiet week like this one, we’d likely go goldenfinger on you and metallicize everything in sight. Gold coffee cups, gold drapes, gold refrigerator – whee!  We’re putting all that overly crafty energy to good use with these gold-leaf stencils. This DIY tote idea from the latest Purely Elizabeth ISSU is the perfect way to gather with girlfriends this weekend. Get creative and stencil a message that matches your focus for the year!

Gold-leaf Tote DIY

Cut Out Your Stencil:

I started by cutting out my “it’s DIY time baby” stencil design out of freezer paper using the new Cricut Explore. The font I used is called Manus. If you don’t have a cutting machine, you can print out the design and use an X-acto knife to cut it out by hand.

Iron Your Tote Bag:

Super important – be sure to iron your tote before you get started so that you have a nice smooth surface to apply your design.

Apply Your Stencil:

Iron your freezer-paper stencil to your tote. Be sure to put the waxy side down and use your iron lightly to secure the stencil to the fabric of your tote bag.

Apply the Adhesive:

I used a foam brush and an up-and-down pouncing motion to apply the glue. It’s the exact same technique you’d use if you were applying paint, but because it’s difficult to see where the glue has been applied, you need to be extra careful not to miss any spots, otherwise it will show up in your final design.

Allow the Glue to Dry:

Follow the instructions on your glue and allow it to dry to a tacky finish. Then remove the stencil by carefully peeling it away. It should come off easily.

Apply the Gold Leaf:

Here’s where it starts to get fun! I’m using flakes of leafing so I just grabbed a handful. If you have sheets, you can lay them down more carefully one at a time to cover your entire design.

Press the Leaf Down:

I start by using my hands and gently patting the gold leaf down into the fabric.

Brush Away the Excess:

Using a brush with medium-firm bristles, start brushing away any excess leaf and you’ll see your design start to come out. I move the brush in all different directions to brush away the leafing anywhere there isn’t adhesive.

Pick Up the Excess Leaf:

And be sure to save it! I popped it back in my bag of flakes to use for another project. Once I’ve gotten off the majority of the excess I go back through with the brush again over the top of the entire design.

Pat Off the Excess:

You can treat it just like glitter – pat it off onto a piece of scrap paper and then funnel it back into the container.

Clean Up with a Lint Roller:

Even after all the brushing and patting, to remove the tiny final flakes there is no better tool than your common lint roller!

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