Although I need no excuses to celebrate our love of Eames chairs and all mid-century modern furniture, I'm using Katie's trip to Copenhagen this week (follow her on Instagram for a swoonfest!) as my justification. These chairs are to die for, and until I have a bigger apartment and/or the guts to toss out my perfectly plush velvet living room for a plastic one, I'll have to settle for living out my chair fantasies in other ways.
This DIY project is quick, fun and satisfying. Iron-on transfers might have a bad rep for being used on tacky homemade bar crawl t-shirts, but I promise you that doesn't need to be the case. If you lack the facilities — or let's be real, the patience — to screen print, this method is for you.
Step one: Prepare your transfer paper
Read the instructions that come with the iron on transfer paper that you purchased. If you have an inkjet printer at home (chances are you do), make sure it's optimized for that. I used Avery T-shirt transfers for inkjet printers for white or light-colored fabric (available here). You don't need to worry about flipping the design since there is no text in it, but do read the instructions to make sure the print comes out nicely.
Step two: cut out the pattern pieces.
Next, carefully trim around each chair in your print. You don't have to be perfect, but try to avoid sharp corners and be careful not to cut off any pieces of the chairs (I made that mistake by trying to cut too close with the first chair I cut out).
Step three: Arrange your pattern pieces
Carefully arrange your pattern pieces on the tote facing right side up (so you can have a sense of how the finished piece will look). You can arrange them however you'd like, but I used the the original pattern as a guide since the tote bag has similar proportions to the my 8.5" x 11" printout. When you're satisfied, flip the pattern pieces facing down.
Step four: Pressure and heat!
Follow the instructions on your iron on transfer paper for best results. The best advice I got from my instructions was to apply a lot of pressure and heat using a dry iron set to cotton. My tote looks great! I also burnt a hole into my mint green table (aka bar cart). Was it worth it? I'm not sure the answer is yes, but if I'm looking at the bright side, I possibly gained another DIY project out of it.
Step five: The big reveal
After you feel confident that you've applied enough heat and pressure, peel the backing off slowly and evenly. If the image didn't transfer or is starting to pull back, put the paper down and iron some more.
Step six: Show your new bag some love
Instagram it, take it on a date to a coffee shop, stuff it full of your favorite books — you just put a whole lotta love into your new bag, so go celebrate!
BONUS ROUND: Midcentury chair love for the digitally inclined
If tote-making isn't your bag (I'm sorry, I just HAD to), we've got your back. This chair pattern looks pretty adorable on your iPhone or your desktop, too.
Illustration, photos & text © Theresa Berens, 2015. Downloads are for personal use only.