DIY Geeky Backpack for Back-to-School (Easy)

Ahh, back-to-school time. Back in the day, this was my favorite time of year. The virgin notebooks ready to soak up daily knowledge, fresh pencils eager to be sharpened, and a brand new, sturdy backpack to carry it all.

Is it getting hot in here?

Anyway, back-to-school time was always so exciting for me. One of my favorite pre-school activities was customizing all of my school gear. Some years, I would use duct tape. Other years, I would use brown paper shopping bags. No matter the method, I always loved customizing my own stuff. It made me feel like I was putting my own unique stamp on the world. I would especially customize my supplies if I couldn’t find any that didn’t have my favorite fandom featured on it. This way, not only was I reppin’ my fandom, but I was also toting supplies that were one-of-a-kind.

Now that I’m not in school anymore, I don’t have to spend the time or money on school supply shopping. But, I do miss the crafting and customization process. So for this back-to-school season, I decided to try something I never did when I was in school: customized backpacks. I chose two designs; one is a Harry Potter-inspired design, and the other is a Captain Marvel-inspired design (which won the most votes in a poll I took amongst my friends). And, to add an extra surprise twist, I also compiled a video to show you guys the process. Below is a written tutorial of how the process went.

But, for now, enjoy a look into how mckelodeon crafts! 

Supplies List: 

  • Tulip Brand fabric paint (I used Crimson Red, Golden Yellow, and mixed black and white together to make gray.)
  • Tulip Brand black dimensional fabric paint
  • Aleene’s Fabric Glue
  • 1 sheet of black craft felt
  • 1 sheet of yellow craft felt
  • A Sharpie marker
  • Paintbrushes
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins

Step 1: Color-block the backpack 

Hey look! It’s me!

Paint on the base colors of your respective design. For the Captain Marvel one, I stared off with red fabric paint. Lots of red fabric paint. As for the Harry Potter backpack, the base color was a triangle of grey fabric paint.

Step 2: Add secondary color 

Hey look! My hands!

Using a lighter color, add this on to the backpack. If mistakes are made, it is easier to go over them with the darker fabric paint than with the lighter paint.

Step 3: Decorating touches

This is the step that will help differentiate and accessorize the two base colors. On the Captain Marvel backpack, the decorating touch was the black dimensional paint. For the Harry Potter backpack, it was several other accessories. For starters, the red and yellow highlighting on what will be known as the “vest” of the design.

Step 4: Felt pieces 

Hey look! My thumb!

Cut four separate felt pieces. The first two are going to be cut from yellow felt in a necktie style. Paint red stripes onto the felt to resemble a Gryffindor House tie.

Next, glue down black felt triangles on either side of the “vest” and “shirt” of the design. Make sure the point is facing inward and not outward. These pieces are going to act like the collar of a Hogwarts cloak.

 Once the fabric glue has dried, take the corners of each felt triangle and pull them back. Tack them down with fabric glue. This step gives the “cloak collar” a three-dimensional look.

Side note: I used Aleene’s Fabric Glue, which is a great product, but it isn’t tacky enough to keep the felt down. To secure the felt while the glue dries, use sewing pins.

Step 5: Outlining

Using black dimensional fabric paint (just like on the Captain Marvel backpack), outline the tie, the highlighting on the “vest,” and add a collar to the “shirt.” Let dry (refer to the image above).

Step 6: Impress your friends 

You are now ready to take on the first day of school! And the best part is that any age group can make and rock such nerdy designs, no matter if you’re in the third grade or college. Because nerdiness has no age limit.

Want even more nerdiness in your locker? Why not try out these DIY inspirational pencils, inspired by Gaby Burger’s design on

So get out there and make this the best year ever! And be confident in the knowledge that you will have the best-looking gear on campus.

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