DIY Farmers’ Market Tote Bag: Eat Local!

Our local farmers’ market is held every Saturday morning from April through Thanksgiving and it is fabulous!  We love checking it out (when we don’t feel like sleeping in!) and grabbing some local grub….everything is just so much fresher and tastier than the produce from the grocery store.

Usually before we go, I rummage through the pantry and grab one or two reusable bags from Target or ones that we’ve snagged for free over the years to haul our finds back home.  But let’s be honest….those aren’t very cute.  Since I’m all about cuteness, and because I’m completely obsessed with my Silhouette Cameo, I decided to use up some extra supplies that have just been collecting dust and made my own DIY Farmers’ Market Tote Bag: Eat Local!

Now I’m able to browse the booths with a 100% Christine-original tote, and if somebody inquires about it and asks where I got it, I can utter four of my favorite words: “Thanks, I *made* it.” :)

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

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DIY Farmers’ Market Tote Bag: Eat Local!

I love me my Silhouette Cameo and have made lots and lots of projects with it….but I hadn’t yet made anything with heat transfer vinyl (HTV)…..I know, say whaaat?!  Since I also had a three-pack of canvas tote bags just laying around, this seemed like the perfect project to give HTV a go!



My Design

I first created my design in Silhouette Studio.  I wanted something that said ‘Eat Local,’ but I didn’t want to just use regular text (how boring!)….so I created my own font!  Each word is made up of letters that are comprised of foods or other images associated with eating (like a spatula) or a farmers’ market (like a tractor).

The design is a little crazy and different (hey, like me!), but not so much that you can’t make out what it says….at least I hope not!  I don’t know how many times I showed it to my husband and asked him “Can you *really* tell that it says ‘EAT LOCAL’ or are you just saying that??  Do you mean it??  Seriously, you can tell??”  Needless to say, he got very annoyed with me during this stage of designing, but hey, that’s what wives are for. :)


Silhouette Studio HTV Cut Settings

Once I was pleased with my final design, I added some weeding lines to make the upcoming removal of excess vinyl much easier…..look for a tutorial on this in the near future!

Then, since I would be cutting this out in HTV as opposed to regular vinyl or another medium, I needed to mirror my image.  That way it will appear correct once applied since HTV is actually cut on the backside instead of the front.  I know….crafting gets complicated!

After several test cuts, the cut settings I ended up using for this were the default Heat Transfer Material (Smooth) settings, however, I bumped the speed down a couple notches since this design was very intricate with lots of tiny little cuts.  I also didn’t use a mat….I wanted to at first but I could NOT find cut settings that cooperated.  Oh well….it cut just fine without one.

  • Speed: 6
  • Thickness: 4
  • Blade: 2

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Loading the HTV into Silhouette Cameo

I then headed to my vinyl storage organizer and pulled out a 12″ x 24″ sheet of black HTV.  Like I mentioned, this gets cut on the BACK side, so I needed to load it into my Silhouette Cameo with the shiny side down.  The shiny side is actually the clear backing, which is what is used to transfer the HTV to the garment once cut….hooray for not needing transfer paper!

Oh, and can you tell I was a little paranoid about my sheet shifting while being cut??  That’s why I wanted to use a mat.  But who needs a cutting mat or roll feeder when you have canned goods! ;)

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Weeding Excess HTV

Once my HTV was loaded, I hit ‘Cut’ and let the magic happen!  Like I said, this was my first time using HTV, so I hovered over my Silhouette throughout this step like I was hovering over my newborn….not even exaggerating.

I eyed this thing like a hawk, and I was a little nervous at first….I couldn’t see ANYTHING being cut.  The blade was moving and the Silhouette was singing its familiar song (*skwerreeeeee, eeeeekkkkuhhhh, guurrrhhhh!*), but where were my cut lines??  I had to whip out my iPhone’s flashlight to see that cuts were in fact being made….phew!

Several minutes later, my design was finished being cut, so I unloaded my sheet and got to work weeding….and this HTV stuff sure ain’t easy on the eyes!!  Man oh man, is it hard to see to weed!

This step took me a couple hours, no joke.  It also didn’t help that I had a super intricate design, but I guess I like torturing myself all in the name of craftiness.  My craft tweezers and hook tool were lifesavers….and they made me feel like a dentist using tiny little tools for precision work.

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

The weeding lines made things a little easier at least!

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

One little bugger gave me lots of problems though….the artichoke!  I don’t like to eat them in real life and I don’t like weeding them in vinyl!  This sucker did not cut well for some reason and I was spending way too much time trying to salvage all those tiny leaves, so I ended up, a couple hours in, just cutting out a new piece….and wouldn’t you know this new one weeded perfectly in less than five seconds.  #figures

{Oh, sorry about the lighting change!  This step and all the rest took place after dinner and I lost my natural sunlight.  Boo.}

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Prepping My Tote Bag

Since I don’t have a super fancy heat press (ahhhh, maybe some day), I used my regular household iron.  And you know what’s funny (or maybe not so funny if you’re my husband)….I use this thing for crafting waaaay more than I use it to actually iron clothes!  Ha!

Anyway, back to the tutorial….  I first pre-heated my iron on the Cotton setting and then ran it over my tote bag.  This was to both smooth the bag out nice and flat, and to heat up the fabric a bit.

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Applying the HTV

Next up, I eye-balled the HTV‘s placement on the bag….if the eyes say it’s straight then it doesn’t matter what the ruler says!  That’s my motto, at least.

A nice thing about HTV compared to regular vinyl is you don’t need to mess with any transfer paper.  The clear backing is sticky and not the vinyl, so it makes it really easy to see your placement and readjust if needed.

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

I then grabbed a spare pillowcase and laid it across the HTV and bag and got to ironing!  Well, I didn’t actually iron iron.  What I mean is instead of continually sweeping the iron back and forth like you do when ironing clothes, I held/pushed it down in place for 10-15 seconds then moved it over a bit and repeated this process across the whole design.  I used it like a mini handheld heat press as opposed to a clothes iron.

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

After about a minute or so, I tested out the application by slooooowly peeling off the backing…and the HTV was sticking to the bag like glue!  For the most part at least.  There were a couple spots that started to peel away with the backing, so I just laid the backing and pillowcase back down and gave everything another pass with my iron.  That did the trick perfectly.

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been



My Final DIY Farmers’ Market Tote Bag: Eat Local!

And here it is!  The HTV worked perfectly, and I was really impressed by how intricate I was able to make some of the components.  It’s safe to say I’m hooked on HTV now!

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

And it’s rare that I actually have my husband available to take photos of me and my creations, so I felt like letting my inner-Heidi Klum out and had a mini photo shoot with my new bag!  Forgive me for all these wannabe Glamor Shots. ;)

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been

DIY Farmers' Market Tote Bag: Eat Local! | Where The Smiles Have Been


You Might Also Enjoy….

I’ve also made another canvas tote bag using craft paint instead of HTV.  Make sure you check out all the details on that too….and snag the FREE cut file!

Painted Canvas Bag Tutorial


Check Out More Silhouette Projects!

If you enjoyed this, make sure you check out my Project Gallery for the rest of my Silhouette creations (and lots of others!), and also join me over on Pinterest!

Follow Christine at Where The Smiles Have Been’s board Silhouette Cameo: Tips, Tricks, & Tutorials on Pinterest.

Thanks so much for stopping by!





{Oh, just a little reminder: This ‘Eat Local’ design AND all photos of the bag are COPYRIGHTED BY ME.  So DO NOT STEAL.  Sorry to get all serious but I’ve had this happen way more than I’d like….don’t make me turn into Mean Christine!}

About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky toddler and his mini-me infant brother, and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. I (try to) spend their nap times getting my craft on and I blog about my creations and adventures in parenting at Where The Smiles Have Been. My loves are all things DIY, especially Silhouette projects, wreaths, & personalized decor. And ice cream....definitely love me some ice cream.


  1. Hey there Christine, just wondering if you are selling the image or have you opened an online shop yet?

  2. lindsay waddell says:

    I am sorry if I am repeating what someone else said… Is there any way I can buy this file for ‘eat local’? I LOVE it!

  3. Christine:

    If you are not ready to sell the design, would you be interested In making a bag for sale? This is such a perfect gift for my sister.

    • Hi Debbie! I’m so glad you like this bag, but I’m sorry that I’m not selling any at the moment either. I just don’t have the time! Eventually I’ll get around to opening up a shop!

  4. Stacy MacDonald says:

    Any chance you would share your file??

  5. This is super cute! Thanks for the tips!

  6. Love your bag, I have to try making one as well.

  7. The design on this bag is amazing Christine! You will definitely be the envy of everyone at the farmer’s market.

  8. My first question was going to be if you sell this on Etsy, but I read the other comments first. Please, please let others in this thread know when you do because I want one!!

    By the way, is it washable without ruining the design?

    Thank you for sharing your DIY tote bag at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup !

    • Hey Brandi! I’m glad to hear you enjoy this….and that you’d like to buy one! I’m so flattered. ;) I plan to eventually sell these, hopefully this fall when my son starts school and I can get some time to set up an online shop. And yep, you can totally wash the tote bag! The HTV is washable, so if the bag gets dirty, you can just pop it in the washer!

  9. Love this! So cute! Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned to the Bloggers Brags Broad. I’ll be featuring this on Monday :)

  10. stephanie says:

    Hope you decide to sell the design one day. I would love to make something with it!

  11. I love this idea! I always grab my plain red Target bag and would love to make one of these instead! Can I also say that I loved your interpretation of the sound of your machine? Too funny!

  12. super cute! I definitely need one of these. Definitely pinning!

  13. Very nice :)

  14. I LOVE your tote!!! So adorable!! I got my silhouette Friday and I spent all weekend making shirts for my daughters with the heat transfer glitter vinyl!! I love it!!

    • I’ve still gotta try the glitter HTV, Sheena! I’ve heard it’s the easiest material to work with, so I’m antsy to give it a go! :)

  15. Are you going to see the Eat Local design? If yes, please tell me where I can buy it. Thank you!

    • Hey Becky! I don’t have any plans to sell the design right now, but I’m happy to hear you like it! :)

      • Kristeen says:

        Oh Bummer! I was going to ask the same question! I bet you could make a few pennies with it on ETSY. SO CUTE!

        • Haha, thanks Kristeen! I’m actually thinking about opening up an Etsy shop in the fall when my son starts school. Thanks for giving me a little push! :)

      • Hi Christine! It is almost farmers market season again. And I am still in love with this design…..I am just checking to see if you have decided to sell the design yet….please say yes! : )

  16. The weeding time was definitely worth it. This design is so cute!

    • Thanks so much Jamie! Yeah, it sure took a while to weed, but it all paid off….I’m very happy with how it turned out! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I think I simply must ask Santa for a Silhouette! Your bag looks quite professional. I love the font you created and using the canned goods to keep the sheet from sliding! It’s nice to learn tricks! So glad you are partying with us!

    • Thanks, Shirley! Yeah, the Silhouette is a pretty fun little gadget, and you can create some amazing stuff with it. Thanks for putting together the Summer Salads Party!


  1. […] just adored this DIY Farmers’Market Tote from Where the Smiles Have Been. It is so […]

  2. […] shows how to make an adorable tote bag with silhouette letters in her post DIY Farmers’ Market Tote Bag on her blog Where the Smiles Have […]

  3. […] love the DIY Eat Local Farmer’s Market bag that Where the Smiles Have Been shared with us. We’ve got plenty in our square foot garden […]

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