Nothing says glamour like a classic minaudiere. But these little babies can run upwards of a thousand bucks, and if you’re like me, you don’t have that kind of cash to spend on a tiny, impractical purse that holds next to nothing. Surfing the web for a more affordable option, I came across a few kits for making them yourself, complete with McQueen-esque skulls and DVF-inspired branches. I decided to make something bright and casual for summer – a nice departure from the crystal-encrusted bunny your grandma carried…
- A minaudiere kit (available here)
- Fabric for the outside and lining
- Chain (cut to the length you want for the purse strap)
- Jump rings (2)
- Lobster clasps (2)
- Beacon’s 527 multi-use glue (get it here)
- Fray Check (optional, I just can’t stand fabric that frays when I’m trying to work with it…)
- Aleene’s Tacky Glue (available at most craft stores and here)
- White primer (only if you’re using thin/light colored fabric on the outside or lining)
- Hanger clips/clothespins/binder clips
- Needle nosed pliers
Now for the DIY part…
Step 1: Paint the shells of the kit white using the primer (this is only if you’re using light fabric). I assumed you guys know how to paint something a solid color, so I left this step out in the photographing…
Step 3: Apply Aleene’s tacky glue to the inside of the first shell. Smear it around with your finger to get a nice, even coating that’s not too thick (you don’t want it soaking through the lining fabric!).
Step 4: Place the lining fabric into the shell and smooth down, pressing out any air bubbles. Don’t press too hard or the glue will soak through! There will inevitably be wrinkles at the corners; just clamp these down with your binder clips.
Step 6: Decide how you want the pattern of the outer fabric to look on the finished clutch and cut out a piece, leaving 1-2″ extra on each side. Note that the shells have a top and bottom: the top of one has an indent for the locking mechanism, and the tops are usually a little more narrow than the bottoms when viewed from the side. Make sure you take this into account for the next step!
Step 7: Repeat the glue application and smearing (fun!). Place the fabric over the shell and press down, again removing air bubbles but not pressing too hard. If the pattern isn’t just right, you can wiggle the fabric around a little before the glue dries completely.
Step 8: Fold the fabric over the corners of the shell. Again, wrinkles are going to happen, but just try to keep them to a minimum and clamp them down until the glue dries. You want a nice, smooth look from the front, like in that last picture.
Step 9: Once the glue is dry, trim the excess fabric flush with the shell (or else the shell pieces won’t fit into the frame, and fabric will peek out on the inside). I recommend doing a dry run to see how the shell will fit into the frame at this point. You’ll know if you need to further trim your fabric, glue down any stray bits, etc.
Step 10: Run a bead of Beacon’s 527 glue along the inside of the frame, but not where the locking mechanism is. Pop the shell into the frame (make sure the top of each shell is facing the clasp, and that the shell with the indent is positioned over the locking mechanism!), and tuck in any stubborn wrinkles at the corners. Run a fingernail along the seam on the inside to tuck in stray lining fabric. Let the glue dry. (Obviously repeat these steps for the remaining shell…)
Step 11: Add the chain strap. Open a jump ring using the needle nosed pliers, thread on the chain and lobster clasp, then close the jump ring. Repeat for the other end of the chain. Attach the chain strap to the links on the purse frame.
Now you’re all set!
(first photo here)