Crafty ideas to personalize backpacks

Eight brilliant ways your child can trick out his schoolbag to make it all his own.

1. The Google-Eyed Monster

Creepy or crazy? You decide.

WHAT TO DO: Cut out eyes and teeth from iron-on vinyl, position, and iron according to package instructions (an adult’s job; make sure the fabric is pulled very tight). Cut features out of thick green felt and hot-glue in place (an adult’s job). Draw on pupils with permanent marker.

2. Do the Polka

Dot, dot, dot on her favorite hues!

WHAT TO DO: Gather three to five different-size foam pouncers (available at craft stores) and at least three colors of craft paint, squirted onto paper. Dip the largest pouncer in paint, dab on paper to remove excess, then pounce it onto the bag. Repeat with other sizes (largest to smallest); let dry.

3. Patch It Up!

When it comes to patches, pins, and buttons, more is more!

WHAT TO DO: Help your child pin the patches in place and arrange until he likes the mix. Glue or iron (an adult’s job) them on according to package instructions. Then attach any buttons and pins.

4. Pom-Pom Party

This perky trim is as funky and bright as your child’s personality.

WHAT TO DO: Cut several 18-inch lengths of pom-pom trim. Glue into place (we used Fabri-Tac), leaving a short overhang on each side. Let dry, then cut the ends.

5. Starstruck Encourage your kid to connect the dots into his own constellations.

WHAT TO DO: Use a white paint pen to draw the biggest stars or comets first, then fill in with smaller dots. Connect a few into real or imagined constellations.

TIP: Stuff the backpack full of pillows or towels to get a taut surface before you start any of these projects. Oven mitts work nicely inside the front pockets!



What’s a backpack without flair? Mix, match, and swap these adorable add-ons!

6. Fluffy Monster!

Start with a faux-fur puff (we found ours on Etsy). Loop twine through a lobster swivel clasp, thread both ends onto a needle, and push through the center of the puff; tie off. Glue on features made from felt, pipe cleaners, and Kawaii cabochons (resin charms; also on Etsy).

7. Mega Tassel

Bundle thirty 12-inch lengths of trim (like yarn, shoelace, or twill tape). Tie another piece around the middle; knot a lobster swivel clasp onto it; add glue to the knot; wrap to cover. Fold the bundle in half; wrap a piece of trim around it a few times near the top; tie off.

8. Friendship Charms

Flatten air-dry clay to 1/2 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to make a shape; cut it in half. Press an eye pin (find it in the jewelry section of craft stores) into each half; let dry. Paint it; let dry; coat with gloss varnish; let dry again. Add clasps to eye pins with jump rings (also in the jewelry section).



Backpacks: $75 to $80 each,

Patches: Totally Rad, ghost, burger, keyboard, houses, mountains, Surf's Up, and shield, $6 each; Cookie, toast, pizza, and LOL, $2 to $6 each; shop/patchnation. Stars, pie, penguin, racket, and peace, from $2.50 each;

Pins: Banana and dinosaur, $10 each; Thumbs-up and Cube Puzzle, $12 each; Pizza, ribbon, pencil and envelope set, and airplane, $12 each;

Buttons: $3 for four;