Monday, May 6, 2013

Paper-Sequinned Handbag

The girls have entered a new phase in their creative development - the one in which they bring craft project ideas to me and ask to make them. Gone are the days in which I prepare materials the night before and surprise them in the morning with, "Hey, let's do a (Mother-spearheaded) craft!" Or, at least, if I did that now, they'd say, "Um, maybe later." I can still persuade Kate to make something with me because she's still very interested in guided crafts but the older two girls are doing their own thing these days. Just yesterday, I found a sheet of sketches by Jenna (our kindergartener), who's just started experimenting with drawing 3D shapes.

I couldn't believe the perspective in those baskets at the bottom of the paper. Those handles! Brava, Jenna! Incidentally, the other figures are (clockwise from top) a block, a cup and a bendy straw.

I try to feel all morose and left out of their little Children-Only Crafting Club but actually, I'm thrilled that they're taking the initiative to find things they want to make. Also, if this means I get to put my feet up or sew a seam or two while they're huddled over the kitchen table, cutting out paper shapes or folding origami peacocks or coloring, I'm not complaining! 

Back to today's project. This was a pretty paper handbag that Jenna saw in this book (Usborne books rock!) and asked to make. This week, we did. Ours were adapted slightly to be made more independently by children.

We started with a medium-sized lunch bag and cut the bottom half off. We cut the top half into bands of about 2" wide. You'll only need two of the bands - these are the straps.

We cut each band open into a long strip, folded it in thirds lengthwise and glued these folds down to make a strap. 

The straps were then glued to the bottom half of the bag,

whose top edge was folded down to the inside of the bag, to prevent paper cuts. Note that if you already have a short, squat paper bag with handles, you can skip all the previous steps and begin the craft from the next step.

We cut circles of construction paper and cardstock - we used a 2" craft punch for ours. Actually, these circles were leftovers from this earlier project. There's nothing like using leftovers from a project that was also designed to use leftovers! 

Then we punched holes in them

and threaded short lengths of string through the holes.

We stuck a strip of double-sided tape on one face of the bag and stuck the threaded circle on it. 

The strip of tape was positioned so that the circle would hang almost to the base.

More strips of tape were stuck on the bag so that the upper rows of circles would overlap the rows below them when they were attached.

Then we got out our washi tape 

to cover the exposed sticky strip when all the paper circles for that row have been stuck on. 

The next row of paper circles was then stuck on above that first one.

Jenna decided that three rows were enough and turned down my suggestions to pretty up the space above the pink row, saying, "Just let me do it my way, Mom!"

Kate decided that that area above the uppermost row of circles needed washitaping,

as did the handles. Kate calls that middle row of circles her "ladybug layer".

The girls really enjoyed this craft. Emily came home from school to find us washitaping everything in sight and asked to make a bag as well. We only had two blank bags so sometime soon I need to make one for her. And just when I thought they'd outgrown Prepared Crafts. Hrmph.  

P.S. Good news: After many, many mind-changes, Kate has finally settled on a theme for her birthday party! Bad news: It's caterpillars. Shudder. 


  1. Oh, what cute bags! Looks like a fun project.

    Caterpillars!? Oh, one of your favorite things!! Yikes... this should be an interesting party! :)

  2. LOL. Wrt Jenna's drawings, at first glance, I thought the bendy straw was some sort of resistor and the cup was a screw (bearing in mind that she has likely inherited the physics gene). Those drawings are awesome.

  3. The very hungry caterpillar - then you get butterflies too??

  4. These the glammest brown bags I've ever seen! Fabulous craft for young girls, why hasn't Family Fun hired you yet?

  5. I love Usborne books too! The craft books have ideas that are different but still very do-able. Love the bags, especially the ladybug row. Good luck with the caterpillar party!

  6. I can't wait to see what you do with a caterpillar theme ;)

  7. that looks super-fun! I love that love to make bags like their mom. As for caterpillars - they do turn into butterflies!


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