Different Ways of Customizing Your Leather Bag

There are different types of handbags that come in different styles and sizes and have different uses. From the tote bag to the leather bag to the clutch or backpack, each one makes a different fashion statement and are perfect for different occasions. However, some people like to take it a step further by customizing their bags using accessories or by DIY projects.

A little customization can go a long way to livening up a basic bag, whether it’s a $15 clutch from Forever 21 or your grandmother’s old Louis Vuitton monogram shopper. The trick is choosing high-quality embellishments and then taking the time to execute your vision properly. Don’t just grab the first dingy old patch you find and hot glue it to last season’s Zara crossbody. Take the time to search the Internet for the right supplies and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to get what you really want. Sure, you could tie any old charm to your bag and it would probably look just fine, but a hand-dyed fur pom-pom will look so much nicer for example.  Below are different ways you can customize your handbags including a leather bag and leave your personal touch on it.

Monogrammed Accessories

Monogrammed accessories are everywhere these days, but why stop with your initials? Use stickers, patches, and even pins to commemorate important events and activities in your life. The key is not to get too precious about where you place them in the bag. Set your bag on the table, throw your patches down, and see where they land. If you’re not totally satisfied, take a picture with your phone to document their placement. Who knows, that first combo might grow on you or you might decide to and try it again and again until you find an arrangement that really speaks to you. This is a great way to cover everything from scratches and pen marks to water damage, and if you keep the layout of the patches loose and organic you’ll be to add more to your bag as new marks show up without throwing off the overall design.

With Scarves

To customize your handbag with a scarf, knot the corner of your scarf to the base of the handle to secure it and just start wrapping. Take note of the scarf’s center so that you know how much you need to have used by the time you get to the center of the handle. The more tightly and evenly you wrap the scarf, the nicer the bag will look. If you measure it out properly, you should have just enough left over to tie the second knot at the other end. At that point, you can either tuck the loose ends away or leave them out as part of the look.

With Drawstrings

Drawstrings are always fun. Reusing the bag’s original drawstring toggles adds a certain level of polish to the finished product, but you need to make sure your new cord isn’t too thick to fit through or too thin for the toggles to stay in place. Once you thread your cord through the toggles, trim it to the length you want, then add a tiny bit of superglue to the end and attach a cord end. Do not skip the cord end. Yes, it’s an extra step and sizing can be a little tricky, but your bag will look 10 times better with them than without them and you’ll never have to worry about fraying cords.


This sort of thing is easiest with removable straps, but you can also cut the straps off your bag and sew them back together once the chain is on (don’t do this unless you are very confident in your DIY and sewing skills) else you’ll just end up ruining a perfectly good handbag. Just make sure the chain is large enough that you can thread the strap through before you cut. Acrylic chains are easier to adjust, but metal chains look more expensive, so if you decide to go the metal route, make sure you have pliers and something to cut the chain. Whichever way you decide to go, remember to thread the chain before you cut it. That way you won’t end up without enough chain to cover the whole strap.

Draw a pattern

Don’t try to make it perfect. The sketchy irregularity of the lines is part of the charm. Draw pockets, stitches, chains, bows, medallions, or even a whole new bag. If you’re nervous about messing up, sketch your design in pencil on a piece of tissue paper and then place it on the bag and trace over it with your paint pen. The ink will bleed through the paper, giving you a hazy, connect-the-dots version of your initial drawing. To avoid smudging, wait for the ink to fully dry, then trace over the entire design again with your paint pen. Acrylic craft paint works great on everything from leather to cotton to synthetics. Use painter’s tape to block out any geometric patterns or shapes you want to make, and to protect your hardware and other parts of the bag you don’t want getting painted. Again don’t do this unless you are very sure and confident in what you’re doing. You can also try it with a cheap bag first and see if you like it. Or better still don’t. The idea of painting a perfectly good handbag might come across to most. You can try this if you’re a tween or teenager.

Use Straps

Sew the strap in place or, if you’re looking for something a little less permanent, attach it with carabiners, key rings, or whatever else you like the look of. Guitar straps are great for larger bags, but they also look totally cool on smaller crossbody bags. Straps are a fun way to show personality and style a bag without much commitment as you can change it over from time to time.