DIY Painted and Embellished Handbags
If you can do it to shoes, why not do it to bags? You can paint, embellish, and alter shoulder bags, clutches, handbags, portfolios and briefcases. Here is just a sampling of the ones we’ve done. For information on how to prep, paint and seal your bags, and stitch or glue on embellishments, go to our How-To page.
Take one little black shoulder bag with lots of little blocked off and textured areas, add paint, glitter, lace, ribbon, trim, chain, a vintage watch face and a big tassel — and you’ve got Steampunk Time. For the details on how we made this and which products we used, read our blog post about it.
Margot snagged a yellowed leather tote at a thrift store and gave it a radical makeover. She painted the entire tote black, then color-blocked the front in Pearl Blue, Pearl Violet, Burgundy and Citrine. The straps she painted Metallic Olive Green. Then she took a large stencil of cherry blossoms and traced the flowers in using a white paint pen. The last step in painting was just like doing paint-by-number. Final touches? A stacked embellishment she’d made and a carefree chiffon scarf. Who says totes can’t be feminine?
Bustier handbags like the one we started with can usually be found cheaply on ebay, and they lend themselves beautifully to revamping. This one, which is manmade leather, was painted with Neopaque Black, embellished with stretch lace and velvet cord glued down with The Ultimate, and topped off with a new strap (it’s a choke chain from our local pet store), a bright red tassel and a strand of skull beads. The crystal skull motif in the center was fused onto black cotton fabric, then cut out and glued to the painted bag with The Ultimate. Oh yes, we stole the silver cutlass from a friend’s pirate outfit and stitched it to the front!
Sometimes you get a great effect only painting certain areas of a shoe or bag. Destiny chose to paint the two diagonal panels with Sunset Gold, a complementary color to the original purple of this wrist bag. Then she handpainted a tiger-stripe design diagonally in the opposite direction using Neopaque Black. (To learn how to paint tiger stripes, read our blog post about it.) Last of all, Destiny used E6000 glue to adhere a fiery Paula Radke dichroic lozenge over the magnetic clasp and really make her design POP!
The label on the Lumiere paint we love so much (and which we ARE NOT paid for promoting!) says it works on straw, so Margot had to test it. She took a dark brown straw bag and applied Citrine and Sunset Gold with alternating swipes of the brush. Then she cut off the old strap and covered the stubs with a fabric-and-trim collage, glued down with The Ultimate. Last of all she attached a new strap using decorative cord from a discount home dec store and added a delightfully oversized tassel from the same shop.
This is a vintage purse we inherited from a friend’s mother, which we first painted Neopaque Black all over. Then we used several gleaming colors of Lumiere and a wedge-shaped cosmetic sponge to create a wonderful go-with-almost anything effect. For the full story of how to create bags like this, read Margot’s blog post about it.