These DIY Graphic Tote Bags are just painted freehand with black fabric paint. I find the cheapest place to get plain totes (not L.L. Bean quality, but the thinner ones), are at the grocery store (to replace paper bags), online in bulk, or at Michaels where they often go on sale.
For a huge archive of DIY totes, including high-end knockoffs and Japanese origami totes, go here: truebluemeandyou.tumblr.com/tagged/tote
I love this gift idea so much for personalized totes that in the past I posted this Buy or DIY Quote Totes and Printable DIY Iron On Tee Shirt Transfer Paper Printable for Tote Bags here.