Introduction: Cardboard Shoulder Bag

About: I'm interested in just about everything, sewing, shoemaking, leather crafts, cooking, gardening, photography... while home educating my children. Follow me on Instagram @secondskinblog for more projects.

It fascinates me how you can create useful items out of something that would otherwise be thrown away. I made this shoulder bag out of strong cardboard and stitched it together with a paper string. I applied waterproof wax to the cardboard and varnish to the paper to make the bag more durable and to add some extra sparkle.

What you will need

  • Strong cardboard (small flute single wall)
  • Paper or fabric for lining
  • Spray adhesive
  • Soft cloth
  • Wax for waterproof clothing
  • Varnish
  • Hairdryer
  • Utility knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 Eyelets (14mm) and punch
  • Revolving hole punch
  • Paper string, not too thin or take it double
  • Leather scraps for the buttons, or buttons of your choice
  • Thin leather scraps for protection under the buttons
  • Leather cord for closure

Step 1: Lining the Cardboard

You can use paper (not too thin) or fabric to line the cardboard. The paper I used had been my protective surface when spray painting tank tops. Spray adhesive onto the back of your lining and stick it to one side of the cardboard.

Using the cloth, wipe over the lining to smoothen the surface and eliminate bubbles.

Step 2: Waxing the Cardboard and Varnishing the Lining

With a cloth apply the wax to the cardboard. Then using the hairdryer, melt the wax and rub it around a bit, so it soaks in and looses some of its greasiness. Apply varnish to the lining. I put on several layers, letting the varnish dry in between.

Step 3: Cutting Out, Scoring Lines, Punching Holes

Cut out the card pieces using the diagram or make your own pattern, if you want it smaller, bigger or in a different shape. Also you could cut one long strip for the sides and bottom, I divided them, because my cardboard wasn’t long enough to go around the whole bag.

Score the lines for the flap and along the side pieces with a wooden spoon and bend along the lines. Be careful not to cut the card. Punch holes around the outside edges of the card, 1.5 cm apart.

Step 4: Inserting the Eyelets

Cut holes for the eyelets on the side pieces and insert the eyelets.

Step 5: Buttons

Make two buttons from the scrap leather and punch out four holes. Then cut out thin scraps of leather in the shape of the buttons and transfer the holes of the buttons on to this thin leather. Glue these to where you want to attach the buttons. They serve as an extra protection for the cardboard. Punch out the holes for the buttons on the front flap and front piece. Sew on the buttons.

Step 6: Sewing the Bag

Start threading the sides to the back pieces going around the flap. Sandwich the inside pocket layer between the two side pieces. Then add the front piece. Finish the threading by stitching back through the previous hole and tying a knot inside.

Step 7: Making a Handle

I crocheted a handle with the rest of the paper yarn, it’s just one row of single crochet. I doubled the handle to make it stronger and so I could thread it through the eyelets. You could take a plaited or twisted string instead.

Step 8: Finish the Closure

Fasten a leather cord to the upper button. To close the bag wrap the leather cord around the lower button.

Now wear your bag and feel special!

Cardboard Contest 2016

First Prize in the
Cardboard Contest 2016