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Learn how to apply iron-on vinyl to a backpack to customize it any way you want. A Cricut backpack is a perfect gift idea or for The Blue Ribbon Project.
I am so honored to be a part of this Cricut campaign since the cause is something near and dear to my heart.
At any given time there are roughly 450,000 kids in the foster care system. Often these kids are removed from their homes very quickly due to an emergency situation that doesn’t leave time to pack their things.
Sometimes they show up in a foster home shaken and scared with only the clothes they were wearing or maybe a trash bag of a few things.
My husband and I were certified foster parents years ago and fostered a few different amazing little boys. One came straight from the hospital after being born with nothing. We had to scramble to get all the things we would need for a newborn very quickly.
To hear the stories of what these kids have seen and lived through is heartbreaking and sometimes it’s so hard to know how to help. Fortunately, there are a lot of great non-profits out there that coordinate giving them Christmas gifts to giving them emergency kit backpacks so they have something to call their own.
Today I have the privilege of working with Cricut to show you how to easily apply iron-on vinyl to a backpack and what to fill it with, in order to donate it to The Blue Ribbon Project. Hopefully, these personalized backpacks can add a little bit of comfort and gives these children something to call their own.
Backpacks of Love Information
This would be a great family, Girl/Boy Scout, bible study, friend group or student club service project! Have everyone donate 6-12 of the same item (like toothbrush or toothpaste) and you can put together multiple backpacks easily. Or simply ask for cash donations and purchase all of the items!
If you can’t supply all of the items listed, you don’t need too. Do what you can, every little bit helps. The nonprofit will add other donated items that they have received to your donated backpack.
Make sure to print out the age donation list of backpack you are donating and check off the items you are including in the backpack. The volunteers will add additional items that were not included.
Once your backpack is full make sure to put the printed wish list inside!
Materials Needed for Cricut Backpack
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- Cricut cutting machine – Explore Air or Cricut Maker
- Cricut iron-on vinyl
- Cricut EasyPress Mini and mat
- Backpack – these are the ones I used
- List for donation items – you can print out all the different age group lists here
How to Design a Backpack
The first thing you’ll want to do is find images in Cricut Design Space to decorate the backpack with.
My customized backpacks are for a 7-8 year old girl and 12-13 year old boy. I asked my friends and followers what those age kids are in to get an idea of what I should apply to the backpack.
I guess for young girls, unicorns are still the in thing, so I searched “unicorn” in Design Space and found some designs that I liked. You can find my project by clicking here.
The tween boy backpack was a bit tougher but I decided to make a sports backpack with a few gaming images too. You can access my design space project here.
I like using the templates (button on the left side). Click on Backpack and then you can change the color at the top of the screen so you can see how your design will look.
Once you have all the images the size you want them, save the project, and then click on Make It.
On the next screen make sure to toggle the Mirror setting to ON for all of the mats.
Choose iron-on setting on the drop-down menu of the next screen or on the dial of your machine. If you are cutting more than one type of iron on vinyl, make sure to change the settings in between the mats.
Place your iron-on with the shiny side DOWN on a mat and load your mat. Then click cut, once the light starts blinking.
Weed out all the extra vinyl of your images. Make sure to check out my post on how to cut and weed iron-on vinyl if you need additional help with these steps.
Make sure to watch the full video tutorial on applying vinyl to a backpack at the top or the side of how I made the pink unicorn backpack.
Applying Iron On Vinyl to a Backpack
I wanted to make sure I had as much space as possible to add images, so I used a seam ripper and pulled off the brand patch. Just rip and pull out the thread on the inside and it should come right off.
The secret to getting iron-on vinyl to stick to backpacks is making sure the fabric is taut. I placed an EasyPress mat inside my bag along with a few books to make sure it had a hard flat surface.
The iron on vinyl did melt a little onto my mat with the first backpack I did, so I made sure to add a piece of cardstock between my backpack flap and mat to protect it.
I also folded a small mat in half and put it inside the front pocket and then a piece of wood behind it.
I checked the heat guide and turned my EasyPress Mini on to medium (second line) by pushing the on button twice.
I pressed the backpack for a few seconds where my largest image was going to go. Then I placed in on and pressed it on while using a continuous motion.
When working with Cricut iron on vinyl, I always find it best to let it cool before peeling off the plastic backing. While I waited I added the weeded out images to other parts of the backpack and pressed those.
Then I went back and peeled off the cooled plastic.
For the layers, I pressed the first layer for about 5-8 seconds, let it cool and then peeled it off. Then I pressed the second layer for the full 25-30 seconds with continuous motion.
I applied all the single layers and first layers one at a time and let them cool while I was adding the other ones. Then I went back and peeled them off.
As a side note, for some reason, I had problems with the yellow iron on vinyl I tried to apply. I have no idea why by that was the only color that came giving me problems and wouldn’t adhere! We all have those days!
Everything else adhered easily and I was able to make both custom backpacks in about 15 minutes or so.
Now I’m going to add the donation list that was provided by The Blue Ribbon Project and mail them in!
It is true what they say, not everyone can be a foster parent, but everyone can help! I hope you think about giving back through this program if you can.
If you are wanting to help out right now, they are closed down until April 10th due to the spreading virus so wait to ship them out or drop them off (if you’re in MD) until after that date.
If you’d like to save this Cricut backpack tutorial for later, simply hover over the top left of the image below and PIN It now!
Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!