August 1, 2011

Personalized Lunchboxes

 Aren't these personalized lunchboxes cute?  Thanks to some freezer paper stencils and a little bit of acrylic paint, I was able to turn some plain lunchbags into something special just for my kids.

Last year, I ordered the kids' lunchbox sets from and it worked out great for us.  The prices were quite reasonable compared to others I'd seen and they held up really well.

I really liked the plastic Food Containers in the set I'd ordered ~ it was so easy to pack a variety of foods in their lunches and their sandwiches didn't get smushed.  I also really liked the  Insulated Cooler Bags that went with the containers.  The containers fit in it perfectly, with plenty of room for an ice pack, container of yogurt, water bottle, etc.  I could even fit three of the plastic containers packed with snacks in one bag when we went out somewhere for the day.

The only problem was that the lunch bags only came in plain colors.  The kids thought they were just too boring compared to the fancier lunchboxes covered with their favorite characters.  They used their plain ones last year, but kept asking for character ones as we were starting our school shopping this week.  I wasn't about to give up the convenience of the handy containers and bags, so it was freezer paper stencils to the rescue!!  (See some other stencil projects HERE and HERE)

Cute dolphin instead of just a plain blue lunch bag!

Here's what I did (you'll see my pictures will alternate between the two different lunchboxes I did, I was working on this project in bits and pieces and didn't take all the pictures I needed on the first try):

1.  I found a font and clip art that I liked on my computer.  (Because the lunch boxes aren't quite as stable to work with as fabric, you'll want letters and images that aren't really detailed). I enlarged it to the size I needed, cut a piece of freezer paper to 8.5" x 11"then printed it directly on the paper side of the freezer paper. 

2.  Using a pair of fine-tipped scissors and an exacto-knife, I cut out my stencil.  (Those of you with handy cutting machines can probably eliminate a couple steps here!)

 3.  With my iron on a medium heat, no steam, I ironed the stencil onto the lunchbox with the waxy side DOWN.  Make sure the edges are securely adhered.

I put a few books inside the lunch box so there would be a hard surface to work on.

Here I could just open up the top flap to iron the stencil on

 4. Using my acrylic paint, I painted in the stencil.  Don't put a lot of paint on your brush and paint from the paper in towards the center so the paint won't bleed under the stencil.

See how I'm painting from the outside in?

The stencil did pucker up in a few places

So I just held it down with a fingertip as I painted.
5.  Continue filling in your stencil, adding a second coat if necessary, until you have the coverage you desire.

6.  I'm never patient enough to wait for the paint to dry, so I just carefully pull off the stencil when I'm finished painting.

7.  And there you have it!  A name or image that's personalized for your child!

No more plain lunchboxes for us!  (Now that my youngest is starting kindergarten, I just ordered her a lunchbox of her own ~ she chose hot pink and a butterfly for the front!)

I was really pleased with how well they turned out and plan to do some more freezer paper stenciling on some pencil cases and binders!


  1. How neat! I'm sure the kids will love them!

    1. Jim From Sources How fun! I definitely need to remember this for next summer. I LOVE how it's cute enough to display, and since it's displayable, you feel more guilted {er... more encouraged} into actually getting things done! Source

  2. I found you through TCB. Thank you for the easy step-by-step tutorial on this! I'm going to follow it to make a tote bag for my Mom's bday present. Cheers!

  3. These look brilliant and the idea is ideal for my daughter as she doesn't have a 'common' name it's difficult to get personalised items for her.

    One question though - is the acrylic paint waterproof? As I'd like to make a school bag for my daughter but we live in England and it rains. A lot.

  4. Mama J said...

    These look brilliant and the idea is ideal for my daughter as she doesn't have a 'common' name it's difficult to get personalised items for her.

    One question though - is the acrylic paint waterproof? As I'd like to make a school bag for my daughter but we live in England and it rains. A lot.

    Yes, the acrylic paint should be waterproof and hold up fine with rain (and washings). The lunchboxes we have are made out of the polyester (denier?) fabric, like most bookbags and dufflebags. The only time you might have a problem with the acrylic paint not sticking on well would be if the surface was a slick/smooth plastic.

    Hope this helps! :)

  5. Oh these are so cute! My kids love anything that is personalized! I actually tried to do something similar with the Silhouette heat transfer but ended up burning a hole in the lunch bag trying to get it to stick! I'll have to give your version a try - I have never used the freezer paper before. Thanks so much for linking up to The Creative Spark. I really appreciate the help getting it up and running!
    P.S. I really enjoy your blog - I don't always comment but am always looking around! :)

  6. Such a cute back to school project!! I love it :)

  7. Thank you very much for the reply. It does help a lot and I will definitely be giving this a go for my daughter. Already ordered some freezer paper!

  8. Very neat! I will have to remember this one when my youngest starts kindergarten next year. The biggin's eat school lunch.

  9. LOVE this! So simple and personalizing things is too fun. Not to mention the fact that you have great taste in girl names ;)


  10. These are so cute! I love this idea and will have to share it with my boyfriend. We have a lunch bag like this that we have to carry with us for some of his medicines. I think that he'll like this idea, so everyone knows what it's for. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. I love how these turned out. Thanks for sharing! I have a few lunchboxes that I may try it on before school starts next week. It'll be nice to have the lunchboxes recognizable for when they are forgotten on the bus or at school. That always happens at least a few times every year with my boys.

    I wanted to let you know that I shared this on my Shout Out Sunday this week. Thanks again!

  12. Those are darling! Perfect for back to school! We would love for you to share this at our link party and come enter our free digital scrapbooking software giveaway!

    The Sisters @ Six Sister's Stuff

  13. freezer paper stencils to the rescue is brilliant for this! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  14. Love this one, too! Feel free to link up as many creative ideas as you want this week to our "Crafts for Under Twenty-Somethings" Thursdays this week!


  15. i love this post and will be using it soon!

    only one question. the boxes look just like the ziplock brand they have out now and they are only about $2 for a pk of two and you can find coupons to pair them with. why don't you buy the ziplock brand and use the extra money to buy the fancy character boxes?

  16. crystal said...

    i love this post and will be using it soon!

    only one question. the boxes look just like the ziplock brand they have out now and they are only about $2 for a pk of two and you can find coupons to pair them with. why don't you buy the ziplock brand and use the extra money to buy the fancy character boxes?

    Thanks, Crystal! The size of the plastic boxes is very similar to the Ziploc ones, but these are a heavier plastic. I'd tried the Ziploc ones and liked packing with them, but they tended to crack on me and didn't hold up if I threw them in the dishwasher. These withstood a lot more wear and tear and were fine in the dishwasher, so they ended up being cheaper in the long run.

  17. This is awesome!! I shared it on the Glitter FB page :)

  18. I have the pink one- guess what I'm doing this weekend! Thanks for sharing-


  19. Featuring YOU over on my blog today! :) Great idea!


  20. Laura! Just found your post today (via Pinterest)! This is spectacular. Thank you for the fabulous tutorial. I'll be sharing with my fans and sending them back here to your blog :) Many thanks for this!

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