Vintage Image Transfer For An Upcycled Leather Bag
Whilst flicking through one of my favourite interiors magazines (LivingEtc), I stumbled upon a picture of a bright yellow Dolce and Gabbana handbag with a big red watermelon graphic on it.
What it was doing in an interiors magazine, I don’t know! Anyway, it caught my attention and sparked an idea.
Yonks ago I’d picked up an old leather briefcase/bag from a charity (goodwill) shop for a couple of pounds with the intention of upcycling it. Even though the bag was from the 50’s or 60’s it was to me the perfect size for a lap top.
The bag had been gathering dust in my loft and I’d almost forgotten about it until now. I wasn’t going to try and turn it into the Dolce and Gabbana bag. However, the designer handbag gave me the inspiration to use a bright yellow paint and vintage graphic to make my upcycled leather bag.
I don’t often work with leather so I got to experiment with painting leather and transferring images onto it, which was great fun.
I’m so happy with how my brilliant bright upcycled leather bag turned out. It’s got to be the brightest lap top bag in town there will be no danger of me losing it as you can spot it a mile away. It will definitely stand out at the next conference or meeting I attend.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to see my disclosure policy.
What I used for the upcycled leather bag
- Old leather bag – Mine was from a charity shop, these bags were very common in the 50’s and 60’s in fact mine was just like the one my Grandma took to work.
- Montanna Gold Spray paint universal primer
- Montanna Gold Citrus Yellow spray paint
- Painters tape
- Dark t-shirt transfer paper
- Vintage graphic – Try Remodelaholic for lots of free vintage graphics.
- Mod Podge -Outdoor finish
How I upcycled the leather bag
Painting the bag
- The first thing I did was cover the areas of the bag that I didn’t want to be painted with painters tape. This was the metallic areas such as the buckle and zip.
- Before spray painting leather with the colour paint you have to use a primer to make sure the paint will stick. I sprayed the bag all over with Montana Gold universal primer.
- Once the primer paint was dry I then sprayed the leather bag with Montana Gold Citrus paint. I covered the bag in two coats letting the paint dry fully between coats.
- I downloaded the macaw graphics from the internet. If you look there are lots of sites where you can download royalty free images to use for crafting such are Remodelaholic. If you can’t find the image you want try Etsy where you can buy them for a small fee.
- I printed 2 vintage bird graphics onto dark t-shirt transfer paper
- I then carefully cut around each image. The image was then carefully peeled from the backing paper. This is quite a tricky delicate thing to do, however, I find that if you actually peel away the backing paper rather than the image it is less likely to tear.
- Transfer the image to the bag according to the instructions that came with your paper. With the transfer paper I used, I placed the image face up on the bag where I wanted it and then covered it with wax paper.
- Then using a hot iron (no steam) the image is ironed onto the bag. I repeated with the back of the bag.
- Once the images had been transferred to the bag. I applied two coats of outdoor Mod Podge to protect the upcycled leather bag from chips and knocks.
- The handle was coming unstitched in places so I just wrapped a red ribbon around the handle to protect it. I also made a colourful pom pom as a bag charm.
You will want to work outside if possible whilst spray painting as it can get rather smelly.
Transfering a vintage graphic onto leather
Finishing off the upcycled leather bag
This is just such a happy looking upcycled leather bag. You will see me coming with that bright yellow and red and it is definately a unique one off!
This is not the first time I have used spray paints on fabric to inject a bit of colour into an upcycle. You should check out these posts:
Colourful upcycled floor lamp.
Upcycled Toys Frame
You can also check out some of my more popular crafts on favecrafts.com