Mini Messenger Bag Redo with DIY Doily Stamp

I posted a picture of this little leather purse a couple of posts ago. Thrifted of course, I love how it looks like a mini messenger bag. On a very related note, check out this DIY doily bag from Sincerely Kinsey (click the image to go to its origin post): I love her doily bag, however I was worried that the doily would wear off over time. If you look at the bottom right of her bag in the photo above it already looks like it’s barely on there. So I got the bright idea of painting on the image of a doily instead. Here are the results:

To be honest, I don’t know if I’m in love with this. I think maybe it’s bad color combos or… something. However it was pretty simple to do, so I thought I would do a quick tutorial for anyone else wanting to paint leather or make a DIY doily stamp. I apologize in advance for the lack luster image quality on the rest of the pictures. My husband went out-of-town for the weekend with work and I forgot people need to sleep. All these pictures were taken around 1 in the morning, under the ugly glow of a soft white lightbulb.

***This project is kinda product heavy. At the bottom of the post there is a list of the products I used and why, so you can tailor your supply list correctly.

*** To begin you need a leather purse and a doily that you can cut up (I got my doily at a thrift store for less than a dollar, I know Joann sells suitable ones but they are $5 at the one near me). I washed my doily, and then used spray starch and an iron to get it stiff.  Next decide how much doily you want on the bag, and where you want it placed. I pushed a couple layers of tissue paper into the front pocket, because this is a used bag and was a little flattened. As you can see in the picture above I marked the rough position with a pen, and then cut it out. I had to trim off more at the bottom, since the finished “stamp” will be flat it would be hard to wrap it around curves without smearing the paint. Here is my trimmed doily, being fitted for its cardboard backing. As you can see it’s backwards, it’s very important to flip the doily so the finished imprint is the right way. An easy way to make sure you have it the right way is to lay the doily on the bag the correct way and place the cardboard covering it. Pull up both the doily and cardboard as one layer and it will be on the cardboard the correct way! You want the cardboard to be only a little bigger than the doily, so it’s easy to position the paint covered stamp correctly. I used spray adhesive to attach the two layers. I love spray adhesive, it’s a pleasure to use. Once the glue has set or in my case once I got impatient to try it out, it’s time to test the stamp.

I used Images Artist Acrylic in Pantone 14-4522 “Bachelor Button.” I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, they were on clearance for $2.15 each, and I couldn’t resist their awesome containers. These acrylics are called heavy-body and they mean it, this stuff is ridiculously thick and it dries very quickly. So I mixed a bit of acrylic extender (see the product info at the bottom of the post for more information) into the paint to thin it and keep it wet for longer. If you use craft acrylic, I think you could skip this. I also mixed into the paint acrylic textile medium, since the leather is going to move and stretch. I really liked the textile medium, it made the dried paint elastic and waterproof. I mixed all of this according to the directions on the packaging and made enough in my kidney-shaped paint mixture dish to do a bunch of test imprints without having to make more. To test out the stamp, apply the paint mixture to the doily with a paintbrush. Some tips for applying the paint:

  • Load up, the doily will absorb a lot of the paint at first
  • Don’t worry about keeping it off the cardboard, a little here and there won’t matter
  • Make sure you are committed to the paint color since you can’t wash off the stamp, for that same reason make sure you have enough time to test the stamp and then stamp the bag
  • As you test the stamp adjust the paint/extender/textile medium/color combo until you have several test stamps that are perfect.

Here are some of my test stamps on regular copy paper:


So back to the bag. To prep the bag for paint, I washed the area with a bit of water to remove some of the oil and then used fine grit sandpaper to rough up the surface:

Apply paint covered stamp to purse and…………….. Not perfect I know, so I went in with a small paintbrush and cleaned up some of the lines. Here is the bag after: Like I already mentioned, I wasn’t as thrilled with this as I expected to be. So I went back in with a small paint brush and added some highlights with a dark blue craft acrylic and then a mossy green one. Here is the before and after of my mini messenger bag redo:


I am so uninspired by this, I don’t think it looks bad… just not great. I will probably scrub all of this stuff off and try something else. If anyone tries something like this or knows a better idea, I would love to see pictures!

Product Breakdown:

  • Leather bag, this would also work on fabric bags or faux leather but go easy on the sandpaper since it could easily pull the “leather” coating off its fabric backing
  • Doily, must be the crocheted or knitted kind not punch cut fabric or paper. You could also do this with crocheted lace.
  • Scrap cardboard, for the “stamp” backing.
  • Fine grit sandpaper, I used some 150 I had on hand and used a soft touch.
  • Spray starch and an iron, to make the doily stiff and completely flat. I think you could get away with just the iron, or you could make your own cornstarch based starch with this recipe.
  • Spray adhesive, I love love love spray adhesive but any glue would work just make sure to throughly adhere the doily to the backing or it might pull apart in use.
  • Acrylic paint, like I said above mine was artist quality and so needed to be thinned. You could also use regular or craft acrylic, or fabric paint or leather paint for that matter.
  • Extender, I used Anitas Extender it was $1.47 at Hobby Lobby. If you are having trouble with the paint dying too quickly on the stamp before you can use it, this stuff will help.
  • Textile Medium, I used Delta brand also from Hobby Lobby it was $4.99 for a big bottle. It kept my paint from cracking when dried and it also did a really good job of making my paint job waterproof.
  • And the usual suspects, pens, paintbrushes, paper, and scissors.

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