BAG TUTORIAL: Painted Galaxy Bag

I've been in love with the galaxy trend for a few years now. With the success of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey, I felt compelled to finally paint a galaxy onto something. I bought a purple hobo bag from a thrift store, several years ago. It was sitting around and I couldn't decided what to paint on it. It finally dawned on me the other day that the deep purple color was perfect for a galaxy treatment. This painting technique is simple. No bleach or dyes, just great fabric paints. This would be great for little kids to adults. It's a bit messy, but fun. This same technique and paints can be used on clothing, shoes, pillows, hats, and any fabric item you can think of. You can make your galaxy with various shades of one color, to several colors for a rainbow galaxy. Ok, onto the tutorial!

Some inspiration for a different style of galaxy.

  • 1 Plain bag in a dark color - Mine is a dark purple faux leather hobo bag, from a thrift store. Black, navy, purple and maroon are ideal colors. The bag style and fabric are up to you.
  • Tulip Soft fabric paints - For my galaxy, I used black, white, and red in velveteen, grape in matte, and azure blue and platinum (silver) in metallics. If you want a different colored galaxy, chose colors that coordinate with that need
  • 3-4 Small sponge brushes - For adding and blending most of the paint on the bag
  • 1 Small stiff brush or a toothbrush - This is for splattering paint to create stars
  • A cup of water - This is for watering down the paint if needed
  • Paper towels - For blotting paint to blend it better
  • Wax paper or old newspapers - To protect your work surface during splattering
  • A foam plate - I used this as a palette, to mix paint colors and dab paint with the sponge brushes
  • 1 Thin liner brush (OPTIONAL) - For adding details, like prominent stars, comets, planets, a TARDIS...


1) My bag had floppy bows hanging from the rings that gather the bag. I used a pair of scissors to remove those, which instantly made the bag look better. It was a little dirty. I dipped a foam brush into a little water, washed off the dirt, and dried the bag with a paper towel. You want to make sure the bag is clean, so the paint will stick well. If your bag has any attached details you'd like to remove, this is time to remove them with scissors or a seam ripper (depending on which is more appropriate for removal).

2) I painted one side completely at a time. These next few photos are the back of the bag. I went through all the steps on the front 1st, so I knew how to show you best.

Squeeze some black paint onto the plate. Start with just a little. You can add more to the plate if needed, but you can't put excess back into the bottle. Dip the sponge brush into the paint on the plate. Squish the brush down down beside the paint blob, to make sure the brush is evenly loaded at the end. Dab the paint onto the bag in curves, turning your brush as you paint, so the paint is evenly applied and blended. You'll be able to see the curves I'm talking about better in the next colors. Sponge brushes can sometimes leave harsh edges. You want soft edges, so blend well. You don't want to completely cover the bag with black paint. Let some of the dark bag color peek out. The black serves as a base for the colors, like in the galaxy photos above. My bag has side folds and pleats, so I had to make sure the paint was consistent across all of the fabric.

3) Repeat the same thing with the blue and a different brush. You can see the curves a bit better here. Try to connect them, so it looks like they are flowing together.

4) For the purple, I added a couple drops of black to the purple paint on the plate. I mixed them together with a new sponge brush. I made these curves skinnier than the others, trying to match them up with the dark purple of the bag. Otherwise the application was the same as the other two colors. (ignore the red. I was getting ahead of myself before taking photos of the finished purple.

5) For the red, I added a couple drops of black to the purple paint on the plate. I mixed them together with a new sponge brush. I worked in sections with the red, using a paper towel to dull down the intensity by removing and blending the paint. This softened it more and made it blend better with the other colors. I used the same curve concept, so the colors flowed together like a galaxy does.

6) This is the front of the bag, but the back got splattered stars too. Lay the wax paper or newspaper onto your work surface. Squeeze some platinum paint onto the plate. Wet your stiff brush and mix the water from the brush into the platinum paint. Over top of the bag, rub the brush end across one of your pointer fingers. This will flick paint down onto the bag in a fanned out splatter, creating stars. Work in sections, adding more paint as needed. Repeat with the white. I found that the platinum made larger stars and streaks than the white. They are different formulas, so perhaps that is why.

(OPTIONAL) Using the liner brush and the white paint, create more prominent stars. You can also use the paint colors to create comets, space ships, planets or asteroids. I found the two stars I added actually detracted from the beauty of the bag, so I didn't repeat this part on the back.

REPEAT STEPS 2-6 ON THE OTHER BAG SIDE. Make sure to paint the edges, bottom, straps and any other bag details with the same painted galaxy method. I didn't paint the zipper since it's at the top and is the same dark purple as the original bag.




That's all for this tutorial. It goes pretty quick. You don't have to let the paint dry in between layers, as you're blending the colors together a bit. This paint dries pretty fast and the layers are thin. The stars took the longest to dry. Let the 1st completed side dry before flipping the bag over to complete the other side. Keep this in mind if your bag isn't semi-flat like mine. Have fun with it! Happy Makery!


  1. Hey thnx for the post..even i have few old bags which i dont wanna discard since they wherevery expensive..i was thinking of psinting on them ..but due to lack of time i could not do it...


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