If, like me, you are a bit of an altered book artist, you are always looking for new projects. I just happened on this – a fabulous tutorial from Annie Shao of Hungry Panda Clothing:two styles of handbag, one with handles, one a clutch bag!

How fabulous is that! If you’ve got great covers but horrible pages (water damaged, mildewed etc) then get rid of the page block and turn your covers into a bag!

Here is the full tutorial – including how to make the lining. I’ve seen similar in various art mags but this is the best tutorial I’ve seen – great step-by-step photographs, and very clearly explained. And not too much sewing! (I wonder if I could cheat and use glue? Iron-on tape? Rivets or eyelets?)

For an even more retro look, I’ll be looking in haberdashery shops to see if you can still get those bamboo handles – and I’ll also be haunting charity shops, garage sales, jumble sales and car boots for crappy old handbags with great handles. And buckles, buttons and other trims for the clutch bag.
For anyone not so convinced about the old book cover look – does anyone remember Cosmopolitan magazine’s great reader offer (must be around 15 years ago – that’s really showing my age, lol) of a magazine cover as a clutch bag? That really did look something… mine was Vogue. So you could use a strong PVA or gel medium – or even Xyron – to adhere the magazine cover over your book cover base, then go over that with clear sticky-back plastic to make it waterproof, then go ahead with the rest of the tutorial. Polka dot fabric, retro 50s prints… very Cath Kidston!

Here are some links for more bags in different styles:

PAC(con)_A_md Copyright Mylinda at Chipwrapperpurse
A rather long-winded but very thorough YouTube tutorial for a fold-over clutch:


When sewing through plastic make sure you use large stitches: nylon thread is best. If you find it difficult to sew, try placing a piece of tissue paper over the plastic (or even tissue paper top and bottom, and lower your feed dogs) and sew through it all. Then tear the tissue away from the stitching when you are done!

You can tell I’m feeling very inspired…



  1. I have used old discarded College Texts as the launch point for Handbags. i usually collage all over the surface covers and then add a lining. A wonderful remake for discarde items!!!! thanks for posting all of this wonderful information!!!Hugs!Elizabeth

  2. Hey, where have I been?!! I missed all THIS!.. I am now a FOLLOWER! Love the purses.. AND the Harry Potter spellbook, a few posts back! Thanks for sharing these fun ideas, Susie! ((hugs)) ~tina


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