The Wedding Files: Gocco Guest Totes / Out-of-Town Bags

Goccomania continues! You may know aaaaall about using Gocco on paper for, stuff like, oh, wedding invitations - but did you know that Gocco works on fabric too?

Once you have a Gocco, you start saying things to yourself like "Gocco _______? Why not?!" and then you find yourself goccoing the strangest things. Like coasters. You might even print your own face and your husband's face onto a coaster. You MIGHT. But you might also endeavor to gocco more useful things, like these tote bags.

Tote Bag in Action

The world of Gocco for fabric is, to my mind, a little more complicated but also probably more versatile than the world of Gocco for paper. First, you supposedly need a larger-mesh screen, although I accidentally burned and used a hi-mesh screen and it worked out just fine. Second, you need different inks. The Gocco fabric inks are just the right consistency, and they're water-based, so cleanup is easier than with the paper inks, but they come in very few colors and turned out to be pain to mix (everything we mixed seemed to end up the color of dried blood, yech). Luckily, other inks for screen printing (such as Versatex, which I used), work well enough with this method (stamping). Versatex comes in every color under the sun, so when I wanted magenta it was as easy as buying their magenta ink. Some people find it is difficult to get even coverage with non-Gocco inks, which tend to be thinner in consistency. I just exposed the ink we used to the air for a few hours before starting, to thicken it up, and we had relatively few coverage problems.

Some people use the Gocco just to burn the screen, and then essentially screen print the image onto fabric. I'm not coordinated enough for that (as I discovered when Carrie and I attempted it). And anyway we only needed one image on the bag, not a repeated one, so we thought if we folded the bags in just the right way, we could stamp the image onto the fabric just like we did with paper.

Tote Bags

Tote bags are relatively cheap and easy to find online. I'm picky, so I wanted something in 100% cotton in just the shape I like (rectangular bottom, pls). We used these Harvard Square Cotton Book Totes from this random uniforms website, where they were about 1/3 of the cost of some other places.

We used the same bike design as we used for our invitations, with lyrics to The Beatles' song "Two of Us," which was our "recessional" song, handwritten around the bike.

Guest Totes_20090829_0363

On the back I printed our wedding date. We skipped putting our names on them, so our friends could use them afterward without them screaming "WEDDING FAVOR!!!"

Tote Bag Date

After everything is printed, you can't forget to set the ink with a hot iron. That's what makes the inks waterproof, so the bags can be washed.

Of all our wedding projects, I was most pleased with these. We made enough for out-of-town bags for all our guests in the hotel, and stuffed them with goodies from our food coop, plus the MOST AMAZING GRANOLA BARS EVER from my friend the OTHER Carrie M's company, Sunday Dinner. (want to try 'em? Contact Sunday dinner at And best of all, we made an extra or two to use for our own farmers' market excursions!

Tote Bag in Action 2

ps - yes, we're back from our too-short minimoon in Montauk. It was really really nice, but only 36 hours long because Chris had to get back to teach on Tuesday :-(. But now we are free to plan our real honeymoon - three weeks in Southeast Asia in December / January!

Posted by jess at September 20, 2009 5:50 PM | TrackBack

oh man... that's just what I need. I kept hearing 'gocco' here and 'gocco' there, but didn't realize what an amazing little machine it is. Now I really want/need to get one so I can stop torturing myself with cutting out my own templates and messing up the details. Any chance you can tell me what exactly I need (for fabric, and I do have some Dharma fabric inks), because when I looked @ eBay, there are all kinds of kits with different stuff and I have no idea what it's all for...

Posted by: olya at September 20, 2009 7:13 PM

In all the celebrating, I neglected to mention how much I love the bag! It could easily have been another cheap canvas bag I'll never use, but instead it's cute, seems durable, and is a great size. (I hate it when a bag holds more groceries than I can actually carry). And those were indeed good granola bars!

Posted by: Jolt at September 20, 2009 8:40 PM

i love the bicycle bag....such a wonderful and useful wedding favor. can you please post pictures of the coasters? pretty please?

Posted by: mamie at September 20, 2009 9:31 PM

I love everything about your wedding!!
If the hubby and I ever actually have one, will you be my wedding planner? :0) Oh, and also Carrie? K thanx, bai!

Posted by: Wanett at September 20, 2009 9:50 PM

What a fabulous favor! I'd love one, and don't even know you or your husband -- I think that's the sign of a job well-done! I'd even trade the expensive vases I have from a friends wedding :)

Posted by: KERaven at September 20, 2009 10:09 PM

These bags are the coolest thing ever. I've used mine several times and am only limited by the fact that I like it so much I don't want to use it anywhere it risks getting stained or too dirty.

Your wedding was fabulous Jess, and all your attention to details made it that much better.

ps-thanks for the granola bar plug, that sure was nice of you.

Posted by: The OTHER Carrie M at September 20, 2009 10:54 PM

What beautiful favours - many congratulations on your wedding.

Posted by: Sarah at September 21, 2009 1:58 AM

Congratulations on your wedding!! The bags are so cute, and guests will definitely use them again :-)

Posted by: Diana at September 21, 2009 10:32 AM

Hey! Amazingly pretty and well-chosen design, there. My fiance and I spent 6 months in SE Asia and feel very strongly that we know some SUPER COOL and cheap places to stay, eat, etc. I miss it there so much. Please don't hesitate to ask me if you want some good ideas on some "must sees" especially if you'll be in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia.

And congratulations!

Posted by: Jessica Kaufman at September 21, 2009 7:40 PM

What a great wedding favor. And, a sweet design. Love the date.

Posted by: Robin at September 27, 2009 12:59 PM

Everything about your wedding is so cool. I wish you guys all the luck! These totes are awesome.

Posted by: Angela at September 30, 2009 2:58 PM

Everything about your wedding is so cool. I wish you guys all the luck! These totes are awesome.

Posted by: Angela at September 30, 2009 2:59 PM

I just bought some of that ink, yay! I've been needing an alternative to the minimal colors of printing ink's offered. When I heard it was being discontinued I bought a bunch of stuff, I have the print stamping kit etc. Works pretty well!

Posted by: pixie at November 14, 2009 9:11 PM

Hi! I was looking for out of town tote bags for our guests at our upcoming March wedding when I found this page! We used bikes on our invites too just like that! And my bridesmaids color is sangria/magenta!!
Did you makes these yourself? I am not sure how to go about it if I want to try to? What site did you order your bags from-I want mine the same shape and f100% cotton too! Would love to hear back from you! Eve:-)

Posted by: Eve at January 29, 2010 4:34 PM

I opine that to get the loans from banks you should have a good motivation. But, one time I've received a secured loan, because I was willing to buy a house.

Posted by: loans at July 19, 2010 6:26 AM

can't but admire your creative genius! those bags look really cute))

Posted by: M.Hunter at August 4, 2010 3:21 AM

I've used mine several times and am only limited by the fact that I like it so much I don't want to use it anywhere it risks getting stained or too dirty.

Posted by: ClubPenguinCheats at August 25, 2010 11:28 PM

Wow! I meant wow as in wow! I am very impressed by this bag shown here. It is simple yet handy and kinda of trendy.

Posted by: stretch marks at December 3, 2010 7:17 PM

Cool! I'm impressed, it looked like sewed - not printed. I hope it doesn't erased easily.

Posted by: skin moles at December 7, 2010 5:08 PM

you should have a good motivation. But, one time I've received a secured loan, because I was willing to buy a house.

Posted by: online forklift courses at December 15, 2010 12:03 PM

I think you’re really a different person who give such an unusual opinion.I wonder if you are also a ?Maybe you can consider about With on hand,Wow,really extraordinary .So cool!

Posted by: cheap sunglasses at April 1, 2012 2:48 AM

Do you want to add rich texture to your garden? Do you want to display trophies or other awards in a manner befitting their importance? Coach Factory

Posted by: Coach Factory at October 26, 2012 4:38 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Pretty please enter the code as seen in the image above to post your comment.