Think of your luxury handbag collection, are there some bags that are too basic and don’t wear them often? Are some just getting a little boring to look at? Or have you inherited a bag that’s just not enough for you?
When you want to refresh your bag collection without buying a new bag, customisation is the best option. But that doesn’t mean you should grab the hot glue gun and start a DIY project. It’s a luxury bag, accidentally glueing a patch upside down to your grandmother’s Louis Vuitton shopper is one way to diminish its value and would be expensive to fix.
To know how to customise your designer bag successfully, here’s some tips for you.
Use Ribbon for The Bag Strap
To do this, just unclip your existing strap if you can, or just tuck it inside the bag. From here, knot the ribbon to whichever hardware is attached to the bag. One knot looks better than two, but I like to add a couple of stitches with a matching thread, so it doesn’t come apart on the go.
Then you can trim the excess ribbon, and burn the edges, or paint some superglue to stop it from the ribbon. I don’t think you should apply the glue straight to the ribbon as you can use too much, but I use an old paintbrush and paint it on the ribbon over some old cardboard and then let it dry.
To finish, I added a key holder on the side with a charm, because I have an overflowing collection of them and they should be used somewhere.
Monogram Your Bag
Monogrammed bags have made a comeback these days, and that might be the 2000’s coming back in style, but it’s also useful for customisation. But you don’t need to monogram just your initials. You can use stickers, patches, or monogram a date or a family logo if you want to make one.
I have to confess, I use monograms to cover up scratches, and patches to cover up water damage on my vintage Dior bag. It worked, but it took a few attempts to get it right with the patch placement. I had to take photos to make sure that I liked where the patch sat, and even asked my friends for help.
But here’s the problem: if you want to ever resale your bag, a permanent personalisation choice like this will diminish the cost of your bag. I knew I wasn’t going to sell my vintage bag, so this didn’t bother me.
Switch Out Drawstrings
This is one of my favourite subtle ways to customise a bag. The only thing is, to do it (depending on the make of your bag) you may have to cut off the original drawstrings. In some cases, you can just remove them easily.
From here you can just thread through some ribbon of a chosen colour, some shoelaces for the punky look, or any fabric you want. I would suggest re-using the drawstring hardware less for a more polished look, but that’s a personal choice.
What I would suggest is adding a cord end, whether you use the hardware or not. This stops you from accidentally losing the end of your new drawstring inside your bag, but also stops your bag from gaping open and you don’t need to worry about fraying.
Wrap A Printed Scarf Around the Handles
This is a staple all over Europe, the handbag with the marching luxury scarf wrapping around the handle is something I’m even guilty of.
I took a look at Louis Vuitton Australia and found some incredible scarves online. I found a pink shawl and wrapped it around my bag, and there you have it, a fantastic designer choice that transports you to a Lake Como holiday.
I did my own scarf wrapping by knotting the corner of my scarf to the base of the handle and wrapping it around as evenly as possible. Then I just tied the end. Super simple, and I’m still loving the look for spring.
Acrylic craft paint is perfect to use on cotton, synthetics and leather. You can use painters’ tape to block out any geometric patterns you want to make, and your hardware, and then start painting. Painter’s tape is probably a good idea as it’s gentle, and painting in thin layers will stop your paint from drying.
Once you’re finished painting, let everything dry, and then pull up the tape and take a look. I find that unless you’re an apt painter, you shouldn’t paint the whole bag. Just one side of the bag makes it look like an accent, especially if you’re not a good painter like me.
Again, this is not a good option if you want to resale your bag, and the paint can chip overtime, so it’s not a long-term option.
Charms & Tassels Work Wonders
Certain handbags come with accessories, but if you really want to up your game, I like to shop for luxury or artistic keychains and charms.
The truth is that charms may be small, but they really add some personality into the bag, and they’re often overlooked. And I choose luxury to match the luxury bag, but I don’t find the need to match brands here. Because some companies don’t even do charms. I wanted a nice charm for my vintage Dior bag, but nothing Dior currently offers was doing the trick, so I went for Louis Vuitton and what did I see? They have a charm that is a tiny replica of one of their bags. That’s right, you can buy the full-size bag and add the tiny bag charm to it. It’s adorable.
Now that you know how to customise your bag, I wish you good luck and happy crafting!