14. Make a Handbag Charm

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This episode is subtitled: ‘Time to start revealing…’

Hi Everyone. Well, the weather certainly seemed to be back on track earlier this week and I was ecstatic to see two little wrens flirting round my nesting box. Fingers crossed they make it their home.

I mentioned recently how warmer weather makes it look as though all the florists up and down the land have lost weight as we start to shed our layers. This is all very positive until it comes to shedding the thick tights, boots and cardigans. Flashes of my own pasty white skin make me feel a bit queasy so I’m not too disappointed that temperatures have taken a bit of a dip again.

I have started to get prepared, though. I’ve bought a bottle of moisturising lotion from Boots – you know the kind that gives you a bit of a tan as it goes on, building up over several applications. I normally get the one labelled ‘light sun-kissed look’, which just takes the brightness away, but this time I picked up ‘dark sun-kissed look’ by mistake. I’ll let you know whether that turns out to be a triumph or a tragedy when the time comes.

The other thing I’ve done this week is pull out my white bag from the back of the wardrobe and, as usual, I find it hard to imagine that a white handbag does actually look ok in the summer….I think. I decided I would jazz it up a bit with some fabric bag charms that I could mix and match according to my colour scheme each day and was just musing over the possibilities when Kim popped into Tulips with her black boots. Apparently she’d had a freak accident – the zip tabs from each boot had got caught up with one another while she was rushing about, causing her legs to stick together and, consequently, for her to fall flat on her face (well, she told me it was her knees but ‘flat on her knees’ didn’t sound quite right). I thanked her for the salvaged boots (whose zips were both broken during the ‘event’) but wasn’t sure I believed the story – no way could I get those zip tabs to tangle. I’m sure she just wanted an excuse for a new pair. Oh, but where’s she going to get any this time of year?

So, what if my bag charm wasn’t made of jazzy fabric but a lovely piece of black leather instead? Much classier.

Blue's signatureI started by cutting out the biggest single piece of leather from one of the boots.

bag charm 2

I drew a simple flower shape on a piece of paper and used tailors’ chalk to mark it out on the back of the leather.

bag charm 3

I cut out two of these shapes so I had a front and a back, taking care to flip the pattern over so the pieces fitted together when they were placed back to back (this was really important because the flower was hand-drawn so not symmetrical).

bag charm 4

The only other things I needed were a button, a piece of ribbon from inside a jumper or a skirt, a binding ring and some super glue to glue it together. There are so many binding rings to choose from and I can’t be sure they are all the same quality but mine are 20mm and I paid a couple of pounds for 10. They are quite easy to open and very secure when closed.

bag charm 5

I started by gluing the ribbon on the back of one piece of leather so it formed a loop at the top and two tails at the bottom.

bag charm 6

Then I glued a button on.

bag charm 7

Actually, to be truthful, I glued the button on first but forgot to photograph that step. Since I didn’t manage to get the button quite in the middle it gave me the opportunity to decide which way it would look best when it was hung up, and I glued the ribbon on accordingly. Phew!

I glued the other flower shape on to the back using the super glue but found it tricky because it soaked into the leather so quickly. I ended up going round petal by petal, more than once, which was tedious. Does anyone know of a better way to glue leather?

bag charm 8

I’d not cut the two flowers out quite the same so once they were glued together I trimmed the excess away.

bag charm 9

Lastly, I added the binding ring. These are great rings because they open up very wide and allow you to put it round the handle of the bag. They are very secure so I can see them being used for key rings in the future – any ideas of what we could salvage for a key ring project would be gratefully received!

bag charm 10

Looks ok, doesn’t it?

bag charm 11
salvagebox.co.uk - bag charm


  • When you cut the back of your flower out of the leather, don’t forget to flip your pattern over so the pieces fit together when the shiny leather is on the outside and the suede sides are touching in the middle.
  • When you glue the button on, put the glue in the middle of the flower rather than on the button to avoid missing the middle like I did!

Salvaged Items:

  • Leather from an old pair of boots
  • Old button
  • Ribbon loop from inside a garment

You could make something similar out of fabric (using Bondaweb) if you don’t have a friend with an old pair of boots handy! Maybe I’ll have a go at my mix and match idea and show you at a later date.

See you all next week.

Jenny signature




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