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with Leah

I'm Leah--wife, mother, editor, writer, photographer, and rickrack apologist. There's craftiness in my DNA, but between the kids and my work and the house and the television and my blogs (http://www.agirlandaboy and, among others), I have to keep my projects quick and easy if I hope to finish them before my boys (born December 2008 and July 2012) graduate from college. You're a working mom and you're busy too, but if you still want to get your craft on, join me here for some fun projects!

Year of the Horse: DIY Sharpie Tote

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Chinese New Year is next week (January 31, to be exact) and 2014’s celebrations will be ringing in the Year of the Horse. Here’s a quickie craft to get you through the year and beyond.


What you’ll need:

–plain canvas tote in any size you like
–printout of simple horse clip art
–Sharpie marker

You can never have too many reusable shopping bags, and since a good one will never go out of use or style, that’s why totes are totes (har) my canvas (har har) of choice. (You could use this same technique on a T-shirt or a pillow cover or pillowcase too, although another reason I chose a tote is because it won’t go through the wash very often, so the design is less likely to fade over time.)

This is so simple. All you need is a tote, a print-out of your design, scissors, tape, and a Sharpie marker.


I searched online for “horse silhouette” and printed out the design I liked best. Thing to remember: Don’t pick anything that has too many tiny details, because (1) you’re going to have to cut it out and (2) you’re going to be tracing it with a Sharpie, which will bleed a little on your fabric, making super-fine lines impossible. Otherwise, there are tons of designs to choose from, everything from classic to cartoon, simple to stylized.

After you’ve carefully cut out your horse, tape it in place on your (prewashed, ironed-flat) tote. (I had one left over from last year’s Mother’s Day Silhouette Totes, but you can still find them in all sizes and shapes and prices on Amazon.) When you have the horse where you want it, simply trace the outline with your Sharpie. I used black, but you can choose whatever color floats your boat. Red is lucky for Chinese New Year, and a bright red horse silhouette would look outstanding. You should totally do that.


I was originally going to color in the whole horse silhouette with my black Sharpie, but then I really liked how it looked with just the outline. I didn’t want to be too boring, though, so I added the triangle border in gold metallic Sharpie (which turned out to look more like taupe, but whatever), and the result is, I think, a simple but striking symbol of the new year.



Just think: If you make one of these every Chinese New Year, in only twelve years you’ll have the full set!

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