A couple days ago I used one of my Target gift cards I received during the holidays to purchase a new handbag. I love the ‘color’ gray so naturally when I found an inexpensive, larger gray handbag, I was all in!
Upon closer inspection at home, I realized that although the bag will go with a ton of different jackets and outfits, it is kind of ho-hum visually. 😛
So that got me thinking “How can I jazz up this sleepy bag?”… Like so many other instances, MIXED MEDIA ARTWORK was my answer!
Below you will find the steps that I took to create my Bag Charm…
–Scrap canvas (my piece was about 6″ x 12″, medium weight)
–Mixed Media supplies (stencils, rubber stamps, stamp ink, acrylic paint, markers, white pen, watercolor paint, paint brushes, etc.)
–Scrap Paper to make a shape tracer
–Polar Fleece (or other heavier fabric that will act as a stabilizer to stitch the canvas on)
–Sewing Machine (or hand stitching if you are committed!)
–Scissors (or a variety of cutting tools if you have them… Exacto Blade, small precision scissors, book making awl, etc.)
Quick Note– The direction below are simply my process that I usually use to make my Mixed Media artwork. There is definitely enough info below to get you a Bag Charm that looks very similar to mine.
That said, BE CREATIVE! This tutorial leaves TONS of room for you to really personalize your Mixed Media Bag Charm. Feel free to play it safe and make one that looks like mine and then, after going through the process once, change it up and make more Bag Charms using your own ideas. 🙂 They are fun to make and we all know you can never have enough different accessories!
Creating the Mixed Media Fabric:
When I make my Mixed Media Fabric (MM Fabric), I use many different mixed media art techniques. My artwork often has lots of layers of materials. Sometimes I start with tracing a stencil using a permanent marker, other times I simply write with my own handwriting to get started. Regardless of how you start, take the plunge and start marking up that piece of clean, untouched canvas.
For this project I started with a circle rubber stamp and StazOn purple permanent ink. I thought it would be fun to make my MM Bag Charm using the 2018 color of the year, Pantone’s Ultra Violet.
Next, I kicked it up a notch and used some Liquitex Basics Acrylic paints and some Reeves watercolors in a tube. All of them using the color purple in some form and occasionally adding a little blue to try to get that ‘Ultra Violet’ color.
I continued to work on the fabric, taking time to let it dry when necessary. If you compare the two images above you’ll see that I added paint stenciling, black painted dots for contrast, more purple acrylic paint on the black dots and lots of doodling with markers and my favorite white pen. I’ve tried many and the Uni-ball Impact White Gel Pen beats the rest. GET IT!
Remember, the goal with the MM Fabric is tons of layers and covering most (if not all) of the original canvas color. You can create your MM Fabric the way that you want to but that’s how I roll…
Next you will need to create some paper tracers to trace your shapes onto the back of your MM Fabric. Your paper tracers can be any shape that you want and use any kind of scrap paper you have hanging around. I got my hands on black construction paper first, which is why my tracers are black. (But this actually worked well for photo purposes so it’s a win-win if you ask me!) Any relatively simple shape you can think of should work for this. Keep in mind you will be stitching around it a few times so crazy detailed shapes might be a challenge but the choice is really up to you!
Flip that gorgeous piece of MM Fabric that you created over! Using you tracers (I liked the idea of two of the same shapes, one slightly smaller) trace the shapes onto the back of your MM Fabric.
Don’t forget to trace one tracer facing up and then the next one facing down to make sure that they will be an exact match once they are cut out and placed back to back. I labeled my tracings with ‘1’ and ‘2’ so that I would know how they fit back together.
Once traced, cut you shapes out being careful to keep your cutting as precise as possible.
Next comes the Polar Fleece (or similar material to stabilize the pieces of canvas).
I roughly cut out pieces of Polar Fleece that worked well with my color choices and that I happened to have around my art room.
Next I placed my matching canvas pieces onto the fleece… One on top and one on the bottom of the fleece. You can’t see the bottom piece because…well… it’s matched up on the bottom. Trust me, it’s there.
Take this MM/fleece sandwich to your sewing machine and stitch around the edge. If you want more precision, go ahead and pin your pieces. I’m a danger seeker (and get annoyed when I can’t push pins through pieces of fabric that have acrylic paint on them) so I skipped the pinning.
I went around 3 times with the sewing machine, purposely trying to make it look a little jaggy and primitive.
This is a close up of what I ended up with. I will say, because I didn’t pin it, one side (the side I could see while sewing) looks a little better than the other but the other still looks good. I just picked the better of the two sides and decided that it was officially the top side now.
After you sew your charms up, carefully trim the edges, paying special attention to not over-trim any one side.
Next you will need to get out your eyelet setter and a couple eyelets.
I’ll readily admit that the TOUGHEST part of this whole project was simply getting that darn hole big enough through 3 pieces of fabric to slip the little eyelet blank into it. I tried the awl (which made a nice starter hole btw), sticking the end of a scissor blade and rotating it, trying to cut it with the Exacto blade (BE CAREFUL if you try this… a couple times I heard that voice in my head saying “you’re being really dumb with something really sharp!”). Ultimately the winner was the Tim Holtz scissors! Of course they would be the best because everyone knows Tim Holtz is the God of all things Mixed Media! duh
However you cut the hole, make it just big enough to accept the eyelet blank. Then use the setter tool to attach the eyelet to the MM Fabric Charm.
The eyelet setter usually only needs a couple of whacks with a hammer to get the job done and it relatively easy. When finished, grab your Wire Keychain Cable, open it, slip the charm(s) on and attach it to your handbag!
Viola!! You are done and ready to share your creativity, artsyness and awesomeness with the world.
Thanks for trying out the tutorial! If you have questions please do post a comment and I will do my best to help.
Also feel free to tell me what you thought of the tutorial! I plan to do more in the future and would like to know if my instructions/resources are clear enough for you to actually make something.
Thank you again and until next time!