Remember when you were in school and seen as a bad thing if we wrote on our backpacks? Parents would scold us for ruining a perfectly good schoolbag with doodles and graffiti. But honestly, if you could buy a backpack with your favorite character painted on it or random designs, why is it so bad to design your backpack yourself? In fact, times have definitely changed, and today’s kids even have the option of buying kits that allow them to customize their backpacks themselves. A Lands’ End backpack is built to last, and if you want your kids to like it, as much as you do, why not help them with these six creative ways to decorate their school backpacks this year?
Adding pins and patches to backpacks dates back to the '60s and '70s. Collecting patches or pins from vacation destinations or scouting activities is a great way for kids to keep memories of their accomplishments or places they’ve visited. On your next family vacation over the summer, see if you can pick up a souvenir patch to commemorate your trip. Recommend the idea of adding it to your kids’ backpacks, and see what they say. Pins may be easier to find than patches, but if you’re lucky enough to find patches, simply apply them to the backpack, place a cloth over the top, and press the iron against it on high heat (no steam) for 30 seconds. It’s as easy as that!
Starting with a blank canvas and using a completely solid-colored backpack with no designs or writing on it is great for giving kids the freedom to decorate as they please. But sometimes, kids might need a little help or motivation to get them started. Giving them a personalized backpack with their initials sewn on or an emblem or emoji that represents their favorite sport or hobby could provide a great headstart. They may find that the personalization is all they need, or they may be inspired by the color of the thread or theme of the emoji before drawing on or painting more images. Monogrammed backpacks are also great for helping kids quickly find theirs amongst a sea of other backpacks at school or after-school activities.
If you’re considering adding paint embellishments to a backpack, it’s important to realize that some paints work better on fabric than others. For this reason, you’ll want to go with either acrylic or fabric paint. But before painting, it’s best to ensure the backpack is either brand-new or completely clean since any oils or dirt will make the paint rub off or prevent it from sticking. Another tip is to set the paint with heat from a hairdryer afterward, so it dries before dripping or spreading to other parts of the fabric. As eager as your kids might be to go crazy with the paintbrush, start with a small area at first so they can get the hang of working with paint on fabric.
Permanent markers come in various colors, and they allow for easy application of designs and slogans. They’re perfect for writing since they allow for the precise application of ink. However, Sharpie markers should be reserved for older kids, as the little kids often fail to realize that permanent is permanent. You’ll likely want to help them decorate kindergarten or toddler backpacks for that specific reason and to ensure they don’t get any marker on their clothes.
Younger kids tend to enjoy little stuffed animals that they can clip onto their backpack straps or zippers. You may have seen little kids with clusters of little stuffed toys attached. They’re likely easy to find at your local toy store. But if not, just do an internet search for “clip-on backpack toys.” You’ll likely find a variety, including glittery toys, plush toys, light-up toys, and more. There are even clip-on hand sanitizers, which can be convenient.
Sometimes drawstring bags work better as backpacks than traditional, heavier backpacks — especially for summer camps and swimming lessons. That’s because they’re so lightweight that they won’t weigh your kids down. Plus, they dry super easily when exposed to wet swimsuits or leaky water bottles. While their quality won’t be as reliable as a traditional elementary or middle school backpack for kids, there are a variety of draw-on drawstring bags on the market that work well for light use. Little kids especially can have lots of fun coloring them.
A sense of uniqueness is important in kids. Helping them decorate their backpack allows them to express their individuality while also encouraging them to tap into their creative side.