If you happen to have a plain ‘ol leather or pleather bag lying around that you haven’t used in ages, consider spiffying it up with this fun D.I.Y. tutorial before you decide to toss it in the donation bin of your local thrift store. You can also buy a bag that’s in need of some T.L.C. from a thrift store to do this project as well. That’s what I did!


I first came across a tutorial on decoupaging purses from geeky crafter Jennifer Landa a few years ago. But rather than doing a purse though, I put Batman fabric on an old pair of pleather flats. But for this tutorial, I’m going to show you what I did with a purse I found at a thrift store and how you can do it too. Just keep in mind, you can pretty much do this on any accessory — shoes, wallets, clutches — as long as it’s malleable.

At first I planned adding pretty floral material to this dullsville black purse, but then I came across this amazing Star Wars fabric at JoAnn’s. I couldn’t resist! Along the way, I changed my mind and wanted to incorporate flowers to brighten it up since the black & white pallet was boring, so I used scrap fabric from when I decoupaged a bookshelf. Yes, I decoupaged a bookshelf. You don’t have limit yourself to just accessories when it comes to decoupaging, but that’d be a whole other tutorial. ☺

Materials you’ll need:

  • a leather or pleather purse
  • Mod Podge (the matte kind with the yellow label)
  • sponge brush
  • small paint brush
  • scissors
  • cotton fabric
  • acrylic paint (optional if you want to have a contrasting color, not used in this tutorial)

First, cut out any pieces you’d like to use on your purse and start to arrange them to see how you’d like it. Stop once satisfied.

Begin applying Mod Podge onto the back of the fabric with a sponge brush. For smaller scraps of fabric, use the smaller paint brush so it’s easier to apply the Mod Podge. Once all your pieces are in place, apply 3-4 layers of Mod Podge with the sponge brush over the entire design.

Lastly, wait for it to dry over night.

I found myself not completely satisfied with the left panel because I’m a nit-picky crafter, so I took it off before it dried completely and began to add on more elements. If you find yourself in this predicament, it’s a lot easier to revamp when the Mod Podge isn’t dried out 100%  yet.


photos of author by author’s mother ♥

And voila! What was once a boring plain bag is now something totally super geeky, girly, and adorable.

Obviously, you can use whatever fabric speaks to your sense of personal style. I opted to include flowers not just to make it brighter and prettier, but I just think sci-fi things and floral make a winning combination. And don’t forget, you don’t have to just limit yourself to purses. You can also find some cute pleather ballet flats or a wallet to spruce up with this tutorial too.

Besides arranging the design (because like I said, I’m very nit-picky), it’s extremely easy to do. Now go forth and raid your closets or local thrift stores (and flea markets and garage sales) and find something that could benefit a decoupage makeover!

all tutorial photos by Nina Penalosa