It’s DIY that doesn’t actually look like DIY.
A little customization can go a long way to livening up a basic bag, whether it’s a $15 clutch or your grandmother’s old Louis Vuitton monogram shopper. The trick is choosing high-quality embellishments and then taking the time to execute your vision properly. Don’t just grab the first dingy old patch you find and hot glue it to last season’s crossbody. Take the time to search the Internet for the right supplies and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to get what you really want. Sure, you could tie any old charm to your bag and it would probably look just fine, but a hand-dyed fur pom-pom will look so much nicer, and even though $20 might seem like a lot to spend on a piece of pink fluff, in the big picture, it’s really a small price to pay for a full-blown bag makeover.
1. Replace your bag’s strap with a feminine piece of grosgrain ribbon.
Unclip the existing strap, or just tuck it inside the bag, then knot the ribbon to whatever hardware is attached to the bag. A single knot will look much nicer than a double knot, but you may want to add a couple stitches with a needle and matching thread to make sure it is secure.
Trim the excess ribbon and paint a thin strip of superglue along the edge to stop it from fraying. Do not apply the glue directly to the ribbon as it is easy to accidentally use too much. Either paint it on with a small brush or squeeze a dollop of glue onto some scrap cardboard and gently run the cut edge of the ribbon across the cardboard.
Finally, add some fun little bag charms to one side. You know, just because.
2. Monogram and then some!
Try this styling hack on our latest fashion tote
Monogrammed accessories are everywhere these days, but why stop with your initials? Use stickers, patches, and even pins to commemorate important events and activities in your life. The key is not to get too precious about where you place them on the bag. Set your bag on the table, throw your patches down, and see where they land. If you’re not totally satisfied, take a picture with your phone to document their placement — who knows, that first combo might grow on you — and try it again and again until you find an arrangement that really speaks to you.
This is a great way to cover everything from scratches and pen marks to water damage, and if you keep the layout of the patches loose and organic you’ll be to add more to your bag as new marks show up without throwing off the overall design.
3. Switch out those basic bucket-bag drawstrings for something colorful and fun.
You may need to cut off the original drawstrings in order to liberate your bag, but thems the breaks! Once you’ve gotten those out of there, measure them so you know how much cord (or ribbon or chain or whatever) you need to buy and make sure to get a little extra — you can always trim away the excess, but you can never add on.
Reusing the bag’s original drawstring toggles adds a certain level of polish to the finished product, but you need to make sure your new cord isn’t too thick to fit through or too thin for the toggles to stay in place.
Once you thread your cord through the toggles, trim it to the length you want, then add a tiny bit of superglue to the end and attach a cord end. Do not skip the cord end. Yes, it’s an extra step and sizing can be a little tricky, but your bag will look 10 times better with them than without them and you’ll never have to worry about fraying cords.
4. Wrap the handles with a printed scarf.
Wondering where to get a bag? Check this Celebrity Style Tote
Knot the corner of your scarf to the base of the handle to secure it and just start wrapping. Take note of the scarf’s center so that you know how much you need to have used by the time you get to the center of the handle. The more tightly and evenly you wrap the scarf, the nicer the bag will look. If you measure it out properly, you should have just enough left over to tie a second knot at the other end. At that point, you can either tuck the loose ends away or leave them out as part of the look.
5. Give your straps the Chanel treatment.
This sort of thing is easiest with removable straps, but you can also cut the straps off your bag and sew them back together once the chain is on. Just make sure the chain is large enough that you can thread the strap through before you cut. Acrylic chains are easier to adjust, but metal chains look more expensive, so if you decide to go the metal route, make sure you have pliers and something to cut the chain. Whichever way you decide to go, remember to thread the chain before you cut it. That way you won’t end up without enough chain to cover the whole strap.
6. Tie on a bandana.
This literally could not be any easier. Tie it in whatever way floats your boat. Bandanas are a big trend right now, but silk scarves work just as well.
Try the bandanna on this Genuine Black Leather Tote
7. Trompe l’oeil, or the French art of drawing fake things on real things.
Pour out your creativity on this envelope Clutch
Don’t try to make it perfect. The sketchy irregularity of the lines is part of the charm. Draw pockets, stitches, chains, bows, medallions, or even a whole new bag. If you’re nervous about messing up, sketch your design in pencil on a piece of tissue paper and then place it on the bag and trace over it with your paint pen. The ink will bleed through the paper, giving you a hazy, connect-the-dots version of your initial drawing. To avoid smudging, wait for the ink to fully dry, then trace over the entire design again with your paint pen.
8. Paint on a design of your own.
Acrylic craft paint works great on everything from leather to cotton to synthetics. Use painter’s tape to block out any geometric patterns or shapes you want to make, and to protect your hardware and other parts of the bag you don’t want getting painted. Painter’s tape is great because it is gentle on surfaces, but you may not get a perfectly sharp line, especially if your bag has a texture on it, so to minimize the risk of the paint seeping under the edge of the tape, make sure to apply it in thin coats.
Once your bag is dry, pull up the tape and see what you’ve got. If the colors have bled a little, it’s not the end of the world. That’s what happened with this bag and I just embraced it and added the wispy blue stripes and freehanded the thin yellow lines and I actually think it looks way better.
A note of caution though. Resist the urge to paint the whole bag. Instead, stick to painting a single panel on the front of the bag. Trust me. Your bag will look much more expensive and sophisticated if the paint is just used as an accent. And never paint the flap of the bag or the straps — those parts move too much and you want to reduce the risk of the paint chipping.
Paint it on our latest flap clutch for a customized lustrous look!
9. Create an urban glamping bag.
This one has summer music festival written all over it! Cover your bag with modern camping patches or, better yet, bust out your old Girl Scouts uniform and put some of those merit badges to good use. Replace regs zipper pulls with colorful friendship bracelets and add some fun, functional charms, like a compass, a whistle, or even a cute bottle opener.
10. Give any bag the rock ‘n’ roll treatment with a classic guitar straps.
Sew the strap in place or, if you’re looking for something a little less permanent, attach it with carabiners, key rings, or whatever else you like the look of. Guitar straps are great for larger bags, like this one, but they also look totally cool on smaller crossbodies.
-Via Cosmopolitan By Charles Manning published on Apr 17, 2015. Images by Kathleen Kamphausen
To read original blog, go to Click Here