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10 Ways to Make Your Backpack Stand Out

Make heads turn up and down the school hallways — in a good way — with these crafty backpack hacks.

Erica Silverstein

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Don’t waste valuable recess time searching for your backpack in a jumble of identical bags in the back of your classroom. Give your trusty book bag a decorative makeover so it never gets lost in a crowd. Whether you go bonkers for bling or want to express your personality with the ultimate school-day accessory, we’ve got you covered with these 10 ways to make your backpack stand out in a crowd.

1. Backpack Charms and Keychains


Red Ted Art

You need absolutely zero artistic talent to personalize your book bag with backpack charms and keychains. Just pick your faves and clip them to zipper pulls or the grab handle at the top. Display a cool-to-be-kind keychain or a keychain guaranteed to spread good vibes. Make a stylish tassel or beaded charm for your zipper pull. Or for a fun before-school project, craft your own fuzzy monster backpack charms for your bag and your besties.

2. Backpack Pins

Give your school bag that personal touch with pieces of flair — a.k.a. pins. Curate a collection of Snoopy pins or clip on funny phrases to make the hallway a brighter place after that tough test. Raid grandma’s house for old political pins she forgot to throw out, or show your home team pride. Just don’t poke your finger in your haste to prettify your backpack.

3. Patches

Another easy way to add personality to your pack is with patches. You can pick them up in souvenir shops on your travels, or order themed patches online. If you’re suffering from attachment issues, skip the sew-on patches and look for iron-ons or use adhesive like Badge Magic. Whether you commit to a color scheme or theme, or choose a random assortment that make you smile, your patched-up backpack will be totally you.

4. Reflective or Duct Tape


All for the Boys

Duct tape is a jack-of-all-trades superhero. It can fix nearly any problem — but did you know it can also add wow factor to your backpack? All For The Boys shows you how to transform a plain backpack by cutting and pasting duct tape squares and triangles. You don’t need to be an Etsy superstar to create this one-of-a-kind school day look.

5. Markers and Paint

Are you always doodling in the margins of your notebooks in class? Consider taking your art to your school bag. YouTuber Ann Le makes a white backpack pop with craft paint and a Sharpie, and you can, too. Your canvas tote makes an excellent canvas for artistic flights of fancy.

6. Stencils


The Crafted Life

So you love that painted look, but you’re not confident in your freehand abilities. A pack of stencils to the rescue! The Crafted Life recommends the adhesive kind that stays in place while you paint your preferred designs onto your backpack. Go for an abstract design, your favorite animal (real or imaginary), or a big ol’ monogram to proclaim this backpack is your backpack — and yours alone.

7. Tie-Dye


Artsy Fartsy Mama

Another painterly option for novice artists is the tie-dye backpack. Sorry, kids, this won’t work on your already colored bag from L.L. Bean or JanSport. Pick up a white canvas backpack and a pack of tie-dye, and follow Artsy Fartsy Mama’s instructions for colorizing the bag. You can add iron-on vinyl designs or lettering for extra personalization.

8. Pom Poms


Design Improvised

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a family in possession of a glue gun can glam up a backpack in myriad ways. For a colorful yet fluffy style, go to town with a variety pack of pom poms. The differing sizes and colors will add texture to your bag, and you’ll definitely make heads turn as you sashay down the school bus aisle.

9. Fabric Scraps


Scritch and Scratch

An earth-friendly way to shine up a boring bag is to decorate it with fabric scraps. Raid the back of your closets for old clothing or linens with fun patterns or leftover fabric from a previous art project. Scratch and Stitch shows you how to affix the scraps with iron-on adhesive and sew fabric sleeves to cover the backpack straps. She also uses studs to add bling for extra hallway attention.

10. Critter Crafts

An attractive design might be too subtle for some standout scholars. If you want to transform your bag into a fantastic creature, you and your back-pet (we just coined that word) will make quite the entrance on the first day of school. A mohawked monster shows those bigger kids you’re not to be messed with, while a whimsical unicorn proclaims the sky’s the limit for your high-flying achievements.