Hello! Kelly here today, to share how to make this fun DIY get-away tote with fabric ink. Have you tried fabric ink yet? Have you tried the gold? It’s glorious! Let’s get started.

You Will Need:






Step One: Create the Design

(1) Set up design in Silhouette Studio®.

I always like to set up a representation of my design in full color on my Studio work page to put everything in perspective. For this, the Fill Color panel is your friend! All I did was I drew an 18 in. x 13 in. black rectangle to represent my bag and then went on with my other designs from there.

ss layout on screen


(2) Edit your design(s).

I tweaked the design with these palm trees as a silhouette against the sunset by making my sun quite large and reducing the palm trees to fit completely inside the sun outline. With the black bag, the trees don’t need a second paint color.

NOTE: The sun is 7 in. high and about 10 in. wide. The palm trees are about 6.3 in. high and about 5.6 in. wide.

I also found this cute wave border to add a little more color to the bag, duplicating some of the pieces to add the right amount of color where it’s needed.

(3) Add text.

I needed a phrase, so I used this letter set to spell out “get away”. Letter sets are not a font, but a set of letters and punctuation that can be individually moved and duplicated as necessary.

I thought the words “get away” sounded a little stand-offish, so I welded a little arrow to the letter Y in an effort to convey the feeling of motion and travel. All I did was take an arrow from this boy icons set, resize it to 1.2 in. high x 0.45 in. wide, and then rotate it to about 60 degrees and positioned it appropriately.

ss arrow


To weld the arrow to the letter Y, simply:

(1) Select the arrow and the letter Y.

(2) Right-click (or CMND + Click on a Mac®).

(3) Choose Weld from the pop-up menu.

Or go to the Modify Window and choose Weld.

ss weld arrow

Once you’ve arranged things and filled them with color, your work page might look something like the first picture (shown above).

Step Two: Prepare to Cut as Stencil

Fabric ink is pretty darn cool. I love it every time I use it. You just have to think negative thoughts while working in Studio. 😉 Stencils are the opposite of most vinyl projects, because we’re interested in the negative space the design leaves behind, not the design we make out of the media.


Here’s how to turn these sun shape into a stencil:

(1) Create the rectangle so you leave at least an inch around all edges of the design.

You’ll be painting on top of the rectangle and don’t want the mask to be too skinny. Don’t worry about my messy work page below; we’ll clean the designs up in a minute.


ss rectangles for masks

Note: The shortest rectangle dimension cannot exceed 9 inches because the stencil vinyl is only 9 inches wide.

(2) Move the palm trees so their bottom edge is just below the bottom edge of the sun.

The sun is currently two shapes, but we basically just want one large hole for the sun in our stencil.

ss subtract - before

(3) Select both shapes, go to the Modify Window, and choose Subtract.


This tool acts like a cookie cutter and will use the top shape to cut out from what’s under it. After subtracting, you’ll see some loose inner shapes so group them.


To group shapes together: 

(1) Select all of the sun and palm-tree shapes

(2) Right-click and select “Group.”

ss subtract - after


I then used my knife tool to slice off most of the excess waves that extend far beyond the edge of the bag. This helped turn the waves shape into a usable stencil.


To make the waves stencil:

(1) Select the Knife Tool.

NOTE: Make sure to select “Treat unfilled shapes as > Solid” for this application (shown below).

ss slice with knife


(2) Group the three long waves together. (For help grouping, see process above.)

(3) Center waves within the rectangle you drew for them by selecting  “Center” in the Align panel.

(4) Select the rectangle with the waves and Group them once more.


Do the same thing to the short-wave segments and with the sun and palm trees so each is centered within a rectangle.

ss cut stencil vinyl



Step Three: Cut Stencils


Now we’re ready to cut our stencils. You can use a cutting mat if you want to, but you can also run your vinyl through your Silhouette without a mat in the CAMEO or Portrait. (You must use the cutting mat if using Curio to cut vinyl, and designs in this project will have to be resized a little smaller.)

On the CAMEO:

(1) Turn the roller-adjustment knob towards you, twist and slide the white rollers so they go in to the notches one in from the left-most notches.

(2) Push the roller-adjustment knob straight up again. This lets you run 9-in. vinyl through the machine. The Portrait is already set up to do so.

NOTE: You might find the tips and images helpful in this post about cutting vinyl without a mat when using the roll feeder.


In the Design Page Settings panel:

(1) Set your page height to 9 in. and the width to 13 in, then choose Landscape view.

(2) Choose “None” for the Cutting Mat.

Because the sun and palm trees take up the whole width of the stencil vinyl, you can ungroup and delete the outer rectangle you created for it. Just center the sun on to the entire cutting area through the Align Panel > “Center to Page.” But you do want to keep the rectangles for the waves, which you’ll cut after the sun.

ss set up to cut


(The red rectangle pictured above represents the allowed cutting area based on the chosen page settings.)


In the Cut Settings Panel:  

(1) Select your Material Type as “Vinyl” (not stencil material).

I always adjust my vinyl setting to Blade 2, Speed 8, Thickness 9 because it works better for me than the current default. You should always perform test cuts on new materials you haven’t tried before to see if your settings will work.

(2) Once you’ve set your blade correctly and have loaded the vinyl, click Send to Silhouette.

To load your stencil vinyl directly into your Silhouette:

(1) Make sure the white rollers securely grip both edges of the vinyl.

(2) Line up edge of media with horizontal metal bar.

vinyl loaded into machine

(3) Select “Load Media” (not load cut mat).

TIP: If you are unsure which is the stencil vinyl and which is the transfer tape, the vinyl is smooth and usually on a white backing, while the transfer tape has a slightly textured surface and is generally on a brown backing.


After your Silhouette has finished cutting:

(1) Use a hook tool to weed away the inner portions of the designs.

(2) Pick out and discard the waves and the sun pieces, leaving the outer borders and palm trees as a mask for the fabric ink.




Step Four: Apply Stencils and Fabric Ink

We are ready to paint!

To apply the stencils to your fabric:

(1) Use transfer tape trimmed large enough to cover all the weeded centers and place it over the weeded designs.

transfer tape on stencil


When you lift the stencil vinyl off the backing, the transfer tape holds all the loose inner pieces in place.

(2) Position and press the stencil vinyl onto your tote bag.

NOTE: It’s helpful to place a piece of cardboard inside the bag to keep the ink from bleeding through and to give some rigidity.

(3) Use the Silhouette Scraper Tool to press the vinyl on to the bag, then carefully peel off the transfer tape.

stencil mask in place



I usually use the scraper tool again on the vinyl against the fabric, just to be sure of a tight grip.

To use fabric ink:

(1) Use a foam applicator to apply the fabric ink onto the exposed fabric inside the mask.

The stencil vinyl keeps the ink from going anywhere it shouldn’t. This gold is really shiny and opaque, so it is great to work with!

apply ink


(2) Paint the gold sun first and let it dry completely.

(3) Carefully remove the stencil vinyl.

remove stencil

Look at those crisp clean lines!

Now you can apply the stencils for the waves in the same way and add the fabric ink in cyan and green.

apply ink 2


Because the lines are fairly close together, you have to be a little more careful when working with multiple colors on the same stencil. The cyan and green fabric inks are fairly opaque as well, so they also look good on this black bag.

Step Five: Embellish

I could have made another stencil for the words and used fabric ink again, but I always like to add a little variety. I chose to use gold glitter heat transfer because, you know, glitter makes everything better! Some sparkly rhinestones added the perfect finishing touch. Get away!

add sparkle