DIY Basket Handbag Ideas

I love the idea of using a wicker or straw handbag once the weather warms up.  There’s just something about an airy, earthy bag that spells summer to me.  Using a basket as a handbag reminds me of delightful childhood stories, dressing up as Alice, tea parties, picnics on the lawn…And baskets are just about everywhere!  Check out a thrift store or a garage sale for the most affordable baskets imaginable.  (Baskets with built-in lids are a lot harder to find, but they’re certainly out there!)  Craft stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s sell them (but for a lot more than thrift).This scan from the May 2011 issue of Ray magazine presents a wonderful assortment of basket-style handbags…and though the prices are something to gasp at, there are oodles of wonderful DIY ideas in there as well.  Dress up baskets with silk flowers, scraps of lace, purse hardware, pompons, paint, ribbon, or gems, for starters.  Add a satin lining, a dried starfish, a vintage brooch, sequin trim, bows, or even a teddy bear’s disembodied head. (!) I DIY’d a half-moon clutch a couple years ago, by stitching on some puka shells and adding a little tassel pull and braided trim I made from raffia.

So if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, there’s always Ebay, which is a great source for baskets, straw totes, and wicker clutches.  (Like this one below – which looks oh-so-Chloe S/S 2011!)

The only difficulty is narrowing it down to the one you want!


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DIY: Fur-Covered Basket

 While I am still distressing over our lost family pet (now missing for over a week), the only thing I have been able to do besides put up posters, hand out flyers, and spend hours staring outside and waiting for the phone to ring…has been to watch reruns of Law & Order.  They always find the missing person in the end.

And blog-land wise, the only thing I have been able to do on the computer is indulge myself in a blog I cam across called Tea Rose Home.  The writer of it, Sachiko, is a stay-at-home mom with 3 children, and she blogs about beautiful items: ruffles, quilts, t-shirt makeovers, children’s clothing, and home decoration projects that add beauty and happiness to her life.  I’m amazed at the number of creations she makes, and the feminine quality to each one.  Plus her attitude (in the face of 3 rare disorders that have had her in and out of the hospital her whole life) is inspiring and uplifting.  Reading her words about how much she loves her family, the happiness she finds in crafting, and her positive attitude has really helped lend me strength in this dark time.  Plus, her projects are just beautiful – and she loves forming baskets into handbags – something I love as well!

I made this basket after seeing something similar in a Japanese magazine awhile back.  It is real fur, sadly – a rabbit fur that I had bought a long, long time ago and had put in my materials bag to try and figure out what to do with it.  In the years after I began to feel disgusted about using real fur, and so couldn’t bring myself to use it in anything.  But I also couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, which would be so disrespectful to the life of the animal.

Muffin [our lost cat] loved it, and often pulled it out of my bag, playing with it, stroking it, and sometimes sleeping with it.  So I put it on a basket, kind of like a good-luck charm.  It’s removable for when Muffin comes back, and now sits on my desk so I can stroke it and remember how much she loved it, while I am willing her quick return.

A cheap basket from Michael’s which didn’t have a lid was transformed into this by cutting two pieces of foamcore that would become a hinged lid inside.  I added hinges and a latch from the hardware store, securing the screws I drilled into the foamcore with hot glue.  The latch I secured onto the basket with thin wire from the jewelry-making section.

I then hot-glued a layer of lace around the edge of the lid from a lace table runner I found at Goodwill for $1.  (Come to think of it, Goodwill had TONS of baskets there too – I should have bought there instead of spending $6.99 at Michael’s.  Next time.)

Finally, I wound a lace ribbon around the handle, and added some lace bows on either side.  I then added a muslin liner, and my pretty bag was done!

Once Muffin returns and wants her fur back, I will probably replace it with a layer of pretty fabric, or some faux fur on top instead.

Have any of you ever remade a basket before?  Hope this gives you some ideas – and for more great ideas for basket makeovers, check out Tea Rose Home and all the beautiful basket handbags Sachiko creates there.


linking to Tea Rose Home link party No. 12 and Avid Accents Make My Style Monday #6

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