August 23, 2013

DIY Galaxy Backpack

Hey there!

I have an awesome "back to school" DIY for you guys today! You could probably tell by the title: this week I made a galaxy backpack. Now, this wasn't my own idea- I got it from LagunaBeachLove10's video on YouTube. Since I couldn't find any backpacks I really liked from Target or Walmart, I decided to make my own. Honestly, I wasn't expecting to like the backpack as much as I do. You don't have to be precise or perfect when creating the galaxy design (it's actually better to be spontaneous), which is why I loved making this bag so much! So, without any further ado, let's get started with the DIY!!


  • Black canvas backpack of your choice
  • Blankets and/or pillows
  • Apple Barrel acrylic paint in "White"
  • Apple Barrel acrylic paint in "Fuchsia"
  • Apple Barrel acrylic paint in "Purple Iris"
  • Apple Barrel  acrylic paint in "Bimini Blue"
  • Folk Art Extreme Glitter acrylic paint in "Silver"
  • Paper plates
  • Makeup wedges/ sponges
  • Napkins or paper towels
  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Trash bags, newspaper, or a drop cloth
  • Painters Opaque Paint Marker in "White" (optional)
  • Silver glitter paint (optional)
  • Paint brushes (optional)

I bought my backpack from Target for $35. It's just a basic black bag, but it's big enough to hold all my books and binders for class. Buy the off-brand/ cheap makeup sponges if you can find them (I bought the Equate brand and saved over $3!). I bought the Apple Barrel acrylic paints from Walmart for $0.57 each; the Folk Art silver glitter paint was $1.97. You could spend a bit more money and buy some nicer acrylic paints, but I didn't think it was totally necessary for this project. The cheaper paints worked just fine for me :) I bought some cheap paint brushes as well. If you already have some laying around your house, you could use those and save yourself some money. Also, I didn't end up using the paint marker I bought, but I may use it to add some stars once the paint dries. I'm still undecided.


  1. Cover your work area. This is a pretty messy project, so I would suggest laying down some newspaper or trash bags (you could also use a drop cloth if you happen to have one laying around).
  2. OPTIONAL: If you want, you can use a seam ripper and detach the label on your bag. I wanted to keep mine on, so I skipped this step.
  3. Stuff your bag. To ensure an even canvas, fill your backpack with some blankets, towels, or pillows. It just makes it easier to paint.
  4. Tape off the parts of the backpack that you don't want painted. I covered the straps, zipper pulls, the label, and handle. You don't have to use as much tape as I did on the back, just as long as the parts are covered that you want to keep unpainted. 

  6. If you want, find a reference picture. It helps tremendously if you look at pictures of galaxies while you paint. That way, you can get a feel for where the colors should go. As with any DIY, the design is completely up to you! I winged it for the most part, but I did have some random galaxy pictures pulled up on my phone while I worked.
  7. Pour some blue paint on a paper plate, and start painting your bag. If you want, you can add a bit of white paint to the blue to make it stand out a bit more. I originally started with just the blue, but I did add some white. Trust me, it makes a difference! Cover most of the bag in blue, leaving some black spaces for contrast. I like to dip the sponge in the paint, then dab off the excess on the edge of the plate. That way, you won't get any patches of paint in one spot. You want this to be blended and almost subtle at first (you can always add more color, but you can't really take color away). When paint the bag, I dab the sponge first, and then I blend the color by swiping the sponge around the area I want painted. Blend the blue into the black by using a clean sponge or your fingers.


  8. Begin adding purple to the bag. Concentrate the purple in fewer spots than the blue- remember to leave some blue and black spaces showing. I focused on placing the purple on the edges and corners of the bag. Again, it's totally up to you where you put the purple :)

  9. Add some pink. This step is optional, but I really think it adds to the final look when you mix blue, purple, and pink. Like I did with the blue, I added a small amount of white paint to the pink in order to make it stand out a bit more. I also used the pink by itself to get more of a variation. You could also add some yellow for a more interesting effect, but I didn't have any yellow paint on hand.
  10. Dab on some white paint in random areas. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE WHITE PAINT! It is really easy to overdo it at this point, but as long as you take your time, you'll be fine. I tore a piece of the sponge off so I had a smaller tool to work with. I added white to the areas that looked brighter- I didn't go near the black or purple, but focused on the areas that were mostly blue and pink.

  11. OPTIONAL: Add silver glitter paint. This paint reminded me of stars twinkling in the night sky! Plus, you can't go wrong with glitter, right? Anyways, I took another small piece of sponge and lightly dabbed/swiped this silver paint in random areas. I really had no rhyme or reason for this, I literally just went for it. I added some extra silver paint on top of the white to add more interest to the bag.

  12. Add some stars. There are several ways to do this- if you have patience (unlike me) you can take a small paint brush and add stars in and around the white areas. Again, try to be random when placing the stars. It'll look better at the end, I promise! I decided to use a drinking straw to create my stars. Simply dip the straw in some paint, and then blow on the other end to create a cluster of stars. I added more stars in the lighter areas of the bag, but I also placed some in the darker/ black areas as well.

  13. Touch up any areas, if needed. There was one spot on my bag that had a little too much white, so I added some purple and blue paint to the edges to soften it up. Like I said before, you can always add more color if you see a spot that needs it.
  14. Enjoy your one-of-a-kind galaxy bag! Don't forget to clean up the mess ;) The paints I bought come off surfaces (and your hands) with warm water, soap, and a little bit of scrubbing.

Finished Product

Overall, I really love how this bag turned out! While I was working on, I didn't think it was going to turn out well at all. This project doesn't look good until you finally finish adding all the layers and details, so just keep working and adding things until your happy with how your bag looks. If you wanted to, you could paint the back of the backpack and the straps; I just left the back plain because I didn't feel like covering the whole thing. I think it would look good either way.

If you make this bag, or any other galaxy-inspired piece, be sure to leave a picture in the comments! I would love to see your masterpiece :)

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Keri <3


8/25/2013 UPDATE!

I went back to Walmart today and picked up a black canvas bag. I had so much paint and supplies left over from this project, that I decided to use the same technique on this new bag. I think I'm going to use it as a travel makeup bag :)

Sorry this one is kind of blurry...

I took this one without a flash, and the colors seem to be the most accurate and true-to-life in this picture

For the whole scoop on this bag, check out this post on my beauty blog. Thanks again for reading :)

Keri <3


  1. The Galaxy canvas backpack is really look awesome. The uses of shaded color make it a bit different from other backpack.This will be surely the best choice among the school students. Thanks for sharing the post.

  2. THIS IS SO AWESOME! I'm going to try it on a pencil case >_<

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  5. Omg, I was trying to decide between this and another cute diy backpack idea and your travel makeup bag gave me a great idea to make both of them!!!

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