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Saturday, 9 March 2019

3 Ways to Glam Up Your Handmade Bag

eSheep Designs
Have you noticed the escalation of the handmade revolution over the past few years with the sale of tags and embellishments featuring the word "handmade"? For example, a search on Etsy for tags for handmade items gets over 1,400 results. Now, I have no idea what that same search would have generated five years ago, but I suspect it wouldn't have been anywhere near a thousand.

Especially for purses and bags, it's become normal for makers to apply leather or even metal tags to their finished items. It's a way to add an authentic designer look. Most tags feature just the generic "handmade" label, but for those willing to lay out the cash and buy a minimum quantity, it's possible to imprint your own brand on a metal tag.

I'm not one of those. The mocked up tags that you see above are likely as close as I'm ever going to get to having my own brand immortalized on anything other than fabric. (And honestly, I'm not even good at remembering to put my fabric labels on things that I make.)

That said, what if you want your finished item to say more than just "handmade by me"? When I finished my FrankenPurse, I was so happy with the result that I wanted to elevate it beyond handmade... and give it a designer vibe. So I challenged myself over the past month to come up with some innovative — and inexpensive — ways to add some glam to the bag.

I'm here to share three of them today. Let me know if they're designer worthy!

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Hang a Custom Tag

Do the logo tags that hang from designer purses appeal to you? Well, you can make your own version and be totally unique about it.

Always one to think about utility as well as fashion, I took my scraps of Tim Holtz timepieces fabric and came up with this.

DIY Designer Bag Tag by eSheep Designs
DIY "designer" bag tag!

It's for carrying around a loonie (our quintessentially Canadian one dollar coin) to "rent" a shopping cart. Here it is attached to my Frankenpurse as a zipper pull.

Seth Bag with DIY Designer Bag Tag by eSheep Designs
Bag tag zipper pull...

I actually have a keychain with a loonie sized token that I use for shopping carts, so when I found this broken flower clip sitting in a drawer just waiting to be repurposed, I tucked it inside the tag to change it up. Other things that would work? Medallions, buttons, photos...

Seth Bag with DIY Designer Bag Tag by eSheep Designs
Changing up the look...

Versatile, useful and decorative. What more can one ask for? And you can make a matching one for any purse with your leftover scraps.

How? I'll follow up soon with a tutorial. (I had another variation on the idea come to me after I made this one, so I'm waiting for everything to "gel".)

Trim with Chains

Do biker guys still carry their wallets on chains? I know nothing about the history of who first put a wallet on a chain, but you can borrow the idea and put a chain on a purse.

Actually, bags trimmed with chains are quite common. (Go ahead, google it.)

Customized Seth Bag by eSheep Designs
A little bit of chain adds a little bit of bling...

This is a remnant piece from a repurposed chain belt. I put a lobster clasp at one end to clip onto my strap ring. And at the other end?

Customized Seth Bag by eSheep Designs
Remote starter on a chain...

My car has a remote starter. However, since the vehicle otherwise starts/stops/opens via a proximity fob, I'm not used to handling physical keys or fobs. To use this remote, however, I need to press it and to press it, I need to find it. Therefore, this bit of bling was another addition for the sake of utility. (I know, I know... first world problems.)

For those who don't need to attach anything specific to a chain, connecting the other end to a zipper pull is an easy way to add this look. You could also, of course, sew a chain directly onto your bag at strategic locations.

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Add Faux Rivets & Jewels

Remember the BeDazzler? Well, this is so much better because it's super easy, super cheap and I'm not encouraging you to overdo it.

Take a look at what I picked up at a dollar store:

See? It's even called bling!

Miniature Purse & Purl Bee Penguin crafted by eSheep Designs
They're just stickers.

Notice anything else? They look exactly like rivets. Hot glue them onto a bag strap or strap anchor and you can instantly have the look without the hardware.

I originally picked them up to finish off my miniature purse, being carried here by my Purl Bee Penguin.

But don't they look like the genuine article here on my bag strap?

Customized Seth Bag by eSheep Designs
Come on, you can't tell that's not a rivet!

Instant upgrade in style, don't you think?

And here's what you can do with the other little gems. (Apart from putting them on miniature bags.)

Customized Seth Bag by eSheep Designs
Adding bling to a zipper pull...

I stuck two of the small round ones onto my heart shaped zipper pulls. A third square one was applied to my purse hook/hanger.

Guess you can call them bling for my bling.

Anyway, I hope I've inspired you to glam up your next handmade bag! (If you missed it, you might also want to check out my recent post on handy hacks for handmade bags.)

1 comment:

  1. Before I got brave enough to buy rivets, I used some hot fix dots that with the heat gun glued them like rivets to give the look too. I finally got brave and made a hole and got rivets and they were easy to put on bags, so I don't know what was stopping me before. I love using buttons too on bags and quilts. Of course I have my zipper pulls too. But that's about all the bling I like to use. I do have the handmade labels as you know, but I didn't want to put my name out there on everything either. Handmade looks nice and says it all. Plus would anyone want my name to show prominently on a bag? They prefer names that are more recognizable and carry status like Gucci, Birkin, Liz Claiborne. I will never be famous like those names, so why bother? Handmade works for me and looks nice at the same time. Besides I am a hobbyist and I am not trying to create a big business, but I so want to make enough extra money to support my crafty habits. Being an affiliate for a couple of places hasn't earned me a single penny and I may decide to remove any of that stuff off my blog this year if nothing happens there, because why promote for others if it doesn't work?


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