Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to Make a Totally Awesome Camera Bag

I recently became a proud owner of a brand-spankin' new Canon T3i slr camera :)

It is sooo pretty!

Unfortunately, I am extremely accident prone: my last Macbook fell victim to not one, but TWO glasses of water. My last cell phone got dropped in a driveway, got rained on, and THEN it was run over by a truck...yup, a truck. I swear, I repel technology!

This is why I'm being super nice to my camera, and so far, it's being nice back. To show my appreciation, I made it a custom camera bag the other day from a purse. It is EASY, I swear, and you only have to do the absolute bare minimum of hand-sewing. The bonus is that it's absolutely adorable, so you won't need to sacrifice form over function with this baby. 

There are a variety of tutorials for this kind of project floating around the blogosphere. I read a couple tutorials (see them here and here) and ended up taking the best points from each one kind of created my own hybrid method.

First, go buy a purse that is already lined. I found one at TJ Maxx/Marshalls for only $25. It's on the smaller-ish side because I don't have a lot of camera accessories that I need to tote around with me. Isn't it cute? I love that the strap is adjustable!

Then I went to a craft store a got some 1/2'' foam and this plastic canvas material. I found the plastic canvas near the needle-point/embroidery area. You'll need enough foam and fabric to roughly cover all side of your purse. I got half a yard of foam and one piece of canvas. The total cost was about $7. The plastic canvas will help to form a protective shell for your camera, while the foam will actually pad it.

Lay down the purse and cut out some canvas pieces to match the front, back, sides and bottom of the purse. Take care that you don't make the pieces too big...if you do, the lining might bunch up in the purse. I didn't do any hardcore measuring...mostly just holding it up against the purse to make sure that it looked OK. This is what the bottom piece looked like once I was done. 

Then lay down your canvas on top of the foam and cut pieces to match.

Then use your glue gun to glue each piece of canvas to its matching foam piece.

Then piece all of your sides together to make a purse-like foam/canvas insert. You're going to want the canvas side facing outward! Again, I used a glue gun to hold everything together.

Take the lining in the purse and pull it out. Use a seam ripper or pointy scissors to clip out the stitching along the bottom of the lining. You shouldn't need to do the sides of the lining to get the lining into the purse, so resist the urge to get too snip-happy :)

Insert the foam insert in through the hole in the lining. It took me a little finangling because top opening of my purse tapers in slightly, but my newly created lining is kind of flexible, so I eventually got it in there.

Once the lining is happily snuggled into the purse, you can sew the lining hole closed again, and then stuff it back in. I used an invisible stitch to close the opening.

There you go! See? I told you it was easy!

The final product is surprisingly rugged...I am not worried about toting my camera around in it at all!  In total, I spent probably a touch more than $30 on this bag, which is not bad at all considering what [attractive] camera bags are going for these days ($150+)!

PS: special thanks to my friend Beth for helping me snap some great pictures :)


  1. This is gorgeous! Looks like it came from a store :) And I'm so happy you got the camera - I can't wait to see the pics you take!

  2. I love it! Great job! And I love the super awesome car that was the that a VW Rabbit? I can't quite tell.

    1. Thank you! And YES, it is a 1982 VW Rabbit--you have a good eye! It's my summer ride, and even though it's slow and loud (it's a diesel) and I love it to pieces :)