Last spring I was browsing the clearance section at the bookstore near my house and came across an incredibly boring backpack in the 90% off bin. I got a little bit excited about the idea of a cheap backpack for my oldest daughter heading off to kindergarten in the fall. She wasn't terribly impressed with it, but she didn't hate it. I tried to talk it up by showing her the purple butterfly on it and telling her we could add ribbons and bows to make it cute. It worked, and the backpack rang up at $1.59!
This last weekend, after the school supply list arrived, my daughter asked me when we were going to put ribbons on her backpack, so I took her shopping to pick out some trim and buttons. After browsing for some ideas for what seemed like forever, we finally found some really cute pink ruffle trim that gave me some inspiration to get started. My daughter also found some pretty cute sparkly dragonflies.
With some hot glue, I added the ribbons, lace and trim. (I singed the ends of the ribbons with a flame to melt them so they wouldn't unravel throughout the year of use. This doesn't work on cotton trims and ribbons) I was going to sew the trim on, but the hot glue worked so well and I thought it would ultimately look better than trying to shove my machine into tight spaces and making a mess. (Plus, if it comes loose, it'll be easy to fix.)
My little helper told me where she wanted her dragonflies and was very specific that she wanted some of them at an angle "so they look like they are flying around." I stitched them on with a needle and thread. Within an hour, an ugly nondescript backpack has turned into a girly, blingy one that she's pretty proud to carry. And I'm pretty happy that it's one of a kind and will never be confused with any other backpack in the whole school.