Sunday, 5 October 2014

Handbags and Man Bags tutorial

Handbags...Now you can never have too many can you! Well possibly not if you are of the male persuasion! However even the man bag versions are sure to tempt, especially when filled with yummy treats!  I love making these bags and I ran several workshops last year to make these.  The wonderful thing about these bags is they open up to allow you to fill with sweets! (or anything little)  Fantastic for get well soon occasions, birthday or even thank you.  In fact I have even sold my jewellery in them!  A couple of years ago my daughter decided she had to make 19 of them to give as presents for her teachers, I had had enough of them after about 9 if I'm honest but they did look fab!

This little collection shows different sizes and styles (the Man Bag doesn't have a handle but instead has a tie attached to the lid.  Most of the boxes here are made using 12x12" paper (from the first edition ranges as these are thicker and great quality)  The smallest bag is using 6x6" paper.   I have even made one using 6x6cm paper! (you couldn't fit anything in it though)

This week I launched my Crafty What Nots to reviewers (more about that next time) and one of the crafts included was making a handbag and thought it would be a great opportunity to share this tutorial which I have wanted to do for some time!


Step 1 ~ Take a sheet of paper.  I usually prefer 12x12" but you can use any size really.  For a first go I suggest a square sheet between 6" and 12".

Step 2 ~ dived your sheet up into 9 equal squares.  I have draw lines to show you but it looks better if you just score them rather than draw them.  You will need to score your lines anyway, if you don't have a scoring tool use the blunt edge of a pair of scissors.

Step 3 ~ Measure the center of the top and bottom edges.  Starting with the top edge score a line from the central point you just marked to one of the corners of the centre square, then to the other corner to create a triangle.  Repeat on the bottom edge.  The image shows the two triangles.  The next thing you need to do is mark out some tabs. (these can be draw as you won't see them).  I marked a line, about 1cm, along the edge in the corner boxes next to the triangles.

Step 4 ~ Cut out the four corners.  Make sure you cut the bottom of the tabs for later.  Next fold all your lines.  (I suggest using a bone folder, lollypop stick or ruler to make the folds really crisp.)

Step 5 ~ Turn your paper pattern side up (or if you used double sided paper, the side you wish to be on the outside of your bag)  Now attach double sided tape to the tabs.  I have found a great tip with double sided tape is to add a few dabs of tacky glue to the top of the tape.  It adds some extra strength, especially if your tape looses it's stick after a while.

Step 6 ~ Taking one tab at a time stick them to the edge next to them to create this open box shape.

Now we have created the base it is time to do the lid.
Step 7 ~ You need to cut a square of card the same width as your box base.  If you used 12x12" paper for example your card should be 4" wide.  I usually make the lid a square but once you have had a few goes you could play around with sizes.

Step 8 ~ Mark halfway along your lid.  Again I have draw the lines below but you could just score them so you don't see the lines.  Once you have scored your paper in half mark another line 1cm to the right of it and score again.

Step 9 ~ Fold your lines 

Step 10 ~ Cut a strip of card, 1cm wide. The length should be double the width of your lid.  You can also use ribbon if you wish.  (If making a Man Bag you won't need this.)

Step 11 ~ fold the ends of your thin strip in (about 2cm) and stick these with double sided tape in the narrow section of your lid.

Step 12.  Attach a couple of strips of double sided tape to the smaller of the outer sections of your lid and fix to the back of your box.

Step 13 ~ Get creative! (the keen ones among you may notice that I had already done this before the last couple of steps.  
For my bag I used a border punch and attached a strip of paper and a few flowers.  (A very understated bag) I also sometimes pop a small card inside with matching embellishments.


How about a bow tie? The top right box here  is made using 12x12" paper but by making each corner square 5".

You can experiment with shapes.  The basic rule is that the four corner squares always need to be the same size square but you start with different dimensions of paper, ie 8x4" sheet of paper with 2" square in the corners. 

This adorable bag was made using 12x8" paper and making a 3" square in each corner.

I made the lid by cutting a scoop shape by hand and then using a mini hole punch to make little hopes along the edges. ( I even put little brads in the four corners of the base so it looked like a posh bag!)

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed and manage to make lots of bags!  There will be a few Christmassy themed ones coming soon!

Off to Handmade Harbour to check out some crafty greatness! 



  1. Great tutorial and as you say great for sending gifts. You wouldn't want to throw them away that's for sure. Anita #13 Handmade Monday.

    1. They are so great and it is amazing what you can cram inside! (I will advise either velcro or a mega strong magnet if you put too much in though)

  2. Thank for taking the time to do the tutorial. Your bags are fab I love them.

    1. My total pleasure! This is one of my favourite tutorials and have done this so many times as a workshop! There are just so many options with it. xx

  3. Fantastic tutorial and great to see one for the boys! Thanks so much for doing this x

    1. There are a few other variants I want to try yet for the boys and a few Christmassy ones too which I will post about soon! xx

  4. Aww these are gorgeous! Such a great way to make a little pressie really special :) I love how they are all different, i'm sure the boys will be happy that there is one for them! x

    1. Thank you honey! I had quite a few for male teachers for Christmas last year, lots of bright ties! looked fab! (I forgot to take a pic though I think as can't find it!) xx

  5. These are really pretty, I love all the different shapes and sizes that can be made.
    Jan x