Upgrade An Old Purse With This Ridiculously Easy Embellished Bag DIY

by Kirsten Nunez

Upgrade An Old Purse With This Ridiculously Easy Embellished Bag DIY

We all have that bag (or two) laying around. Why not give it an edgy DIY touch? All you need is broken jewelry, glue, a needle, and thread. To top it off, the techniques used in this tutorial don’t call for fancy crafting skills. Score.


One of my favorite things about crafting is the ability to transform an old item, like a bag or shirt. It’s an excellent way to give something a makeover instead of letting it hang out in the depths of your closet. Often, it only takes a few simple ideas make it happen.


We’re loving this Free People bag, but you can get the same vintage-inspired bag without the hefty price tag. This is where the wonderful world of DIY comes in. Thanks to this tutorial, you can learn how to re-purpose broken jewelry (yes, you read that right!) to spruce up an old purse. Scraps and remnants from your supply stash can also be used. The best part is that there’s no wrong or right way to do this. How’s that for stylish recycling?


Embellished Bag DIY Materials




  • Old purse, bag, or clutch
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Charms and pendants (from necklaces, earrings, etc.)*
  • Stud earrings*
  • Pins and buttons*
  • Patches or appliques*
  • Chain scraps (broken necklaces, bracelets, etc.)*
  • Strong craft glue (such as E6000)
  • Embroidery thread and hand sewing needle


Your best bet is to use a purse that isn’t made of very thick material. Leather and suede can work, as long as it’s thin enough for a normal needle to pierce. Bags that are worn in might be easier to work with. If you don’t have any on hand, check out your local thrift shop.


*Feel free to use any combination of these supplies. Dig through your jewelry box, junk drawer, and craft stash to see what you can find; anything is fair game for this project. You can also take a trip to the craft store for fun jewelry supplies and embellishments.


Embellished Bag Steps 1 & 2


1. A strand of embroidery thread is typically made up of six thinner strands. Separate three strands and set aside. You’ll be using three strands each time you stitch something on. Thread the other three through the needle and tie the ends into a tight double knot. Insert the needle through the bag and into the first link of chain. Pierce the needle back into the bag to secure the chain. Along the back side, cut the thread to remove the needle and tie a tight double knot. Trim away the excess thread.


2. Repeat as many times as you’d like. You can stitch another part of the chain and let the end dangle. Alternatively, you can stitch a short strand of chain and let it dangle by itself. Again, this is an awesome way to put those random scraps and broken necklaces to good use!


Embellished Bag Steps 3 & 4


3. Use the same technique to add a few charms and pendants. This is a great chance to let lone dangling earring shine. Simply remove the charm from the earring hook and stitch it to the bag. You can also use pendants from old necklaces or straight from the craft store.


4. You can also turn stud earrings and charms into flat back embellishments. These can be glued onto a purse for a totally different vibe. For a stud earring, use the cutter portion of the pliers to cut off the backing. As for charms? Use the pliers to break off the loop.


Bag with Embellishments


5. Glue the new flat back embellishments to the bag. You can also glue other flat pieces like patches, appliques, buttons, and gems.


Continue adding odds n’ ends until you’re happy with the way it looks. Again, there’s no “right” way to do this. Don’t stress yourself out on whether or not it looks perfect. Instead, focus on transforming your purse into an artsy embellished piece. Happy crafting!