When it comes to personalized DIYs, monograms take the cake… and jackets… and jewelry. You get the picture :) Monograms are simple but excellent for repping your name, loud and proud. Today we’re going to show you a way to stitch your initials sans needle and thread. With some basic supplies and beginner painting techniques, you can faux cross-stitch a tote bag. Talk about DIY hack to the max.



— tote bag

— acrylic paint


— scrap cardboard

— scissors

— ruler

— masking tape

— pencil

— pen


— graph paper



1. Cut out a 1/2-inch square from the corner of the scrap cardboard. This will serve as a guide to create straight “x”s on your tote.

2. Plan out your monogram on the graph paper. Add lines along the side of your letter. This will serve as a guide when you paint it on the tote.

3. Use painter’s tape to create lines along the sides of your tote that mimic the lines alongside your image on the graph paper. Then, mark your starting point with the pencil.

4. Paint the first x. Continue to follow the pattern on your graph paper, making x’s on your tote bag using the cardboard as a guide.


The 1/2-inch square cutout will serve as a painting guide. It is equivalent to one square on the graph paper, making it super easy to copy your design onto the bag. Simply slide the cardboard along the tote as you paint each x.


Plan out your monogram on your graph paper. You can use half-x shapes to create slanted edges. Draw straight lines along the sides of the letter. These will serve as a guide when you’re painting. To mimic these lines, tape off 1/2 inch on each side of the bag. This edge will make it super easy to follow your pattern. Remember, each square on the graph paper is equivalent to 1/2 inch. Start painting in the left-hand corner. Then move the cardboard along the bag following the pattern (and number of “x”s) on the graph paper.


Add some gems for a little extra bling!


Don’t worry if a few of the x shapes are a bit wonky. It will be hard to notice, we promise! Just have fun with it and get lost in the “stitching.”

What projects are you going to faux-stitch this summer? Share them with us using the hashtags #britstagram and #iamcreative.

(Styled photos by Haruka Sakaguchi of The Denizen Co.)