Personalized Bargain Backpacks

Our local DownEast has piles of name brand backpacks and luggage with names embroidered on that no one ever buys, because the who wants the wrong name stitched on their bag?


The larger backpack has wheels and a pull out handle–perfect to use as luggage for trips to grandma’s house. Even little travelers can wheel it along. Here’s a quick way to take advantage of these mis-named bags and personalize them with the names you want.

Step 1: Score some bags. These backpacks cost less than $15 for the two (together the retail price is just shy of $100).

Step 2: Using your electronic cutter, cut out correctly spelled names using heat transfer vinyl. Remember to mirror the name before cutting.

Step 3: Prep a piece of matching fabric. Cut to size, iron under edges, and stitch to prevent fraying.

Step 4: Iron name onto fabric piece.

Step 5: Use fabric glue to adhere the new name right over the top of the embroidered name. (You will still be able to see the embroidered stitching inside the front pocket.)

Step 6: Gift to your favorite kid(s) and watch their face light up when they notice it is just for them!

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  1. Unfortunately, predators take advantage of parents putting their children’s names on their clothes and personal items like backpacks. They approach the children and call them by name, being innocent and naive, the children assume the person knows them or their parents because they know their name, and trust them.

    Please, lets not make it easier for predators to prey upon our children.

    1. Thanks for your concern Heather. If you are worried about that then I don’t suggest doing it. Our kids love being able to take their “suitcases” with their name on it to Grandma’s house and I feel safe with the setting these bags are used in.

    2. I don’t normally post, but I wanted to keep a fire from spreading too far on this one. First, some statistics from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

      In 1999 (the last time a comprehensive study was done on missing children):

      *Approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing.
      *Most (almost 3/4) were run-away or just forgot to phone their parents.
      *More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members (e.g. custody battles).
      *Only an estimated 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These “stereotypical” kidnappings involved someone the child did not know or was an acquaintance. It is estimated that these generally occurred using force.

      A different study in Arizona (having the second highest rate of kidnapping in the World, behind Mexico City) found that most were attributed to the drug trade and were held for ransom… in other words, the children may not have known the kidnappers, but the kidnappers knew the children.

      Because the rare kidnapping of a child where they are lulled into trusting a complete stranger is retold so often, we tend to think it is common. I have never found documented cases where a name on a shirt was the only reason someone was a victim. It would seem to make more sense to stop with the hysteria about placing names on backpacks or on shirts or on jackets and start teaching our children martial arts.

      Seriously, I don’t want to offend anyone, and everyone should do what they think is best for their kids… However, statistically there are millions more ways your kids will be hurt than a stranger reading a name off of a bag. Lets live without fear and just teach children at a young age to trust that voice inside and question ANYONE and EVERYTHING when things don’t seem right.

  2. I don’t necessarily disagree. But a 5 year old isn’t fighting off anyone. And the thing about the names on clothes and personal belongings isn’t coming from rescued kids being interviewed about how they were tricked. It is coming from interviews with actual child predators who have been caught and put in prison. It’s great that the majority of kidnappings are not child predators, but that doesn’t mean that there is no risk. That some aren’t actually taken by predators. Why not take the precautions you can, especially when they are as easy as not putting your child’s name on something. By all means, teach them to be careful and distrustful. You can also give them the sense of a backpack being uniquely theirs by letting them help pick out the decals that you put on it.

  3. We love looking through their selection of lunchboxes as well. Having their name on their lunchbox sure makes it easier to find at school!

  4. This is a cool idea and they have a point too that predators may take advantage. How about putting initials instead. Not as cool but may be less dangerous. Of course, teaching your kids not to easily trust strangers is a must too.

  5. I LOVE this idea (you wouldn’t believe how many of these odd named bags I see on clearance for under $5.00), and the comments have been interesting to say the least. My two cents: another idea would be to just use pictures (a “bookworm”, hot dog, open reading book, etc) instead of letters, or you could even spell your child’s name in hieroglyphics!

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