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‘Here’s another attempt of mine to keep your things out of the landfill – purses ( 3 different ones) & shoes. They may start a bit tired and ugly but behold these surprising Purse makeovers with Paint; some brush strokes and creativity. Come take a look…

The Old Coach Purse:

This is a REAL leather purse, which is not that common nowadays so I wanted to give it another life. I washed it with Murphy’s Oil soap and stuffed with newspaper to shape it till dry. The scuffs were not going to be a problem since the designs can cover them.

The investment was only a few bucks (less than a Starbucks coffee) so what do I have to lose?! As an illustrator and artist my biggest tip is to not set yourself up for disaster; that means do not try to be too perfect with your expectations. Pick a style or design that has a bit of acceptance of imperfection.

My acrylic paints of choice for leather are Angelus paints. Angelus can also be used as fabric paint on canvas shoes with the addition of a fabric medium.

That is why I chose this impressionistic version of roses. I want to have fun with my projects not feel pressured. In this digital age something hand done is precious, and this definitely looks hand-painted. The background color lighter color would also work well into the design. It also allowed a wide variety of colors to be incorporated.

Before starting to use the acrylic leather paint make sure you use the leather preparer ( I use pure acetone) to take the shiny or glossy finish off; Angelus deglazer. Since this is a very ‘loose’ design, I did not make specific drawings beforehand; it’s more fun that way… If there is areas that you wish to keep plain you can use some painter’s tape or masking tape to protect them. (see video for painting in action)

After a few coats of the very loose brush strokes of varying red and green paint colors I added some definition of black paint lines, not necessarily exact edges with a fine paint brush.

Shoes; why not?!

I’m a sucker for good quality leather shoes ( I hate faux leather shoes), even if they are not my choice of colour because I know I can change that. Make sure to deglaze before beginning.

I simplified these sneakers to be my own designs of graphic roses. (use reference images if need be) The Frixion pens will disappear with some heat (blow dryer) or a fine marker can be used.

After the first coat a few touch ups finish the red flowers. The coverage of Angelus leather paints is excellent compared to all the types of paints I’ve used over the years.

The larger areas are painted a darker color black. I plan on having a coordination of red things this fall.

So what do you think of my ‘New’ handbag? I’m giving you all a vote of confidence that you also can do a paint job of some type on your less favourite purse and then maybe even share it proudly on your facebook page or sell it in your online store (very popular)

‘And I have a pair of shoes to match as well. It’s a strong full grain leather so it will last well compared to vinyl.

On the strap I also painted a few flowers.

Purse #2 Good Shape:

Another leather beauty, Michael Kors! I’m not a beige lover so here goes…

Each colour has design options, and working in the existing colours is key. The zipper and some tassel remained the original colour.

Instead of an image, as not everyone wants to wear a picture I decided to take some inspiration from nature – geode layers or abstract lines. Sometimes ‘less is more’!

The finish looks like the original. This Angelus paint is thin but covers well without filling detailsand being extra thick, I love that!

Purse #3 It’s that Tiffany Colour!

How could I really cover that colour?! It’s so rich and vibrant that I had some Typography fun. Such a throwback to Typography class in college – serif fonts! Subtle design can be just as amazing as bold design.

Have fun with fonts, use the computer to print them out or sketch as I did (Times Roman on the ‘brain’).

I may have a problem now… where will I keep these all organized? Maybe you can help me out if I put them in my shop (we will see) Let me know if you’d be interested.

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. I LOVE the makeovers! Would never think of painting on a purse. Keep up the great content. I always look forward to see your projects.

  2. Love them. I think the geode is my fav. I can’t see the Tiffany blue bag at all. There is no pic of that one.
    You inspire me to try to paint. I was always told I can’t draw by an elementary art teacher but you break it down and make me wanna try for me.
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jan, I REALLY despise people that crush crush childrens’ AND adults wanting to create. No matter what the level there are always ways to help people out to express themselves creatively. Creating and making is our brains way of keeping us sane in an insane world.
      By all means PLEASE try whatever art or craft project you want. If you need to practice on paper or whatever to get comfy with the procedure. Even use carbon paper and tracing paper with the design on top to transfer it to the object you want to paint. There are stained glass pattern books and other designs you can trace to get your brain to get used to doing something different. Even go online to fine pictures to print out. GO FOR IT. We are ALL meant to create. Can you imagine if your teacher had Picasso in her class. LOL she shouldn’t be teaching. You probably drew something that she was jealous of. Good Luck.

      1. Oh yes! I agree. I know that all too well since I taught drawing in entry level college classes. Those who felt their drawing skills were not how they wanted could still find a way to make a creative career in some way. I was so fortunate to see all the directions available and it really fed my hunger to create…

    2. Oh dear, I fixed the pics… Too much emphasis is often put on the ability to draw freehand. It is a skill that can be learnt with much practice. I would tell students that those star athletes were not born so talented either – huge amount of practice and perseverance. Many customizers just use a favourite image to use…

  3. What a great idea! I love it, and appreciate you sharing soooo many creative ideas.
    Any idea how the paint holds up to wear? Does it require a sealant?
    Thank you!
    Lisa C.

  4. What a great idea! I love it, and appreciate you sharing soooo many creative ideas.
    Any idea how the paint holds up to wear?
    I was going to ask about whether or not it needs a sealant, but then saw your post on Sept. 3 – the painted cat purse, and there was my answer (yes)
    Thanks again! You’re so very creative!!
    Lisa C.

    1. When I made gifts last Christmas I get to see how they have lasted. The purse with the birds has been in constant use since then and I see no wear. I have painted many things and paying close attention to prep (especially places that wear more) taking off any greasiness and shine. There are many customized Nikes painted with this paint and get good reviews. I saw a pair being tested and even driven over… Yes, sealant for sure!

  5. I was pulled from the first grade Christmas program because I ‘refused to sing on key.’ Key to what? I was pulled from a dance program in high school because I had ‘no sense of rhythm.’ Well guess what! My dog loves to sing and dance with me and my husband is generally amused. AND … I can sew ANYTHING at ANYTIME. We all have super powers (and we have BARB). Be the change and encourage the young people in your orbit in whatever they want to try. And the ‘old’ people … we too can learn new tricks.

    1. You do have a great SUPER-POWER! It’s a very valuable one too! ‘Encouraging the young’ is one of my ambitions! Us ‘old people’ have a lot of skills we can share to hopefully have an impact for the future.

  6. question….do you prepare and strip the finish off the whole purse area when you paint items like the Tiffany purse, or just the letter image areas?

    1. I only take it off the area I want to paint. If it’s small then a q-tip does help. The good thing here is as tedious as it may be, the amount of wear would be also quite minimal since it’s not edges and corners.

  7. OMG!!! I LOVE what you have done to those purses!! Now I want to go through my closet to see what I have to paint on! Your creativity is so awesome to watch. Thank you and PLEASE keep up the wonderful work and vids.

    1. That’s why I do this! I would fee a pang of sympathy for all those sad purses hanging on the hooks at the thrift shop! ‘It must be from what my mother taught me about value. I imagine a masterpiece purse could also be a great Raffle prize, oh that brain of mine… Angelus should have a contest! Let me see what I can do…

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