Introduction: Coffin Purse
A sturdy cardboard box
A thinner piece of cardboard
A box cutter
Allen’s Tacky Glue (hot glue)
A screen door handle
Half a yard of fabric (half a meter)
A remnant of fabric for the insides Frog clasp No slip dots (4 for the bottom)
First things first print out the pattern and use a copy machine to blow up to the size desired. I used mine as is. Next open the cardboard box flat and trace the pattern in an area leaving room to expand the pattern out.
Next, at each corner, using a ruler, draw a line 3″ out. Connect each of the lines to its corresponding one, creating six panels. Use the box cutter to cut out the line tracing. You can use scissors, but it’s murder on your hands! To help with folding the panels up, take your box cutter and lightly slice breaking only the surface layer of the cardboard.
Fold each panel up and duct tape to the next. When all are in position, run a single strip around the whole length of the box.
Flip the box over so the bottom is face up. Cut strips of duct tape (about 4) just longer than the box. Place one on each side and then cover the middle.
Continue covering the sides until the whole outer box is covered with duct tape. This ensures not only that it will be sturdy, but also that if you should set your purse down somewhere damp, it won’t be ruined.
Next place a piece of duct tape the width of each panel equal lengths to the inner box and spread the tape to the outer box.
Reinforce each of the panels by placing a piece of tape where each piece was folded up as shown. Then proceed to cover the inside with duct tape. Leave the inner bottom tape free because we will be using it for glue later.
Now you want to use the same pattern to draw out the lid on the cardboard. Follow all of the previous steps except only draw the lines out for the panels 1″.
With a thinner cardboard, such as an empty cracker box, trace two copies of the pattern once more. But when you cut them out, cut inside your guide creating a smaller piece than the bottom of the box. When they’re cut, place inside the duct taped pieces to ensure proper fit. If they are too big, continue to cut them down a little at a time.
Cover the insert pieces with duct tape as well. About four strips of tape should do it, for each piece of course.
Now we start on the fabric. Lay out your fabric wrong side up. Place the bottom of the coffin on the fabric and bring the side of the fabric up, over, and into the box. Hold the fabric in place on that side and bring the fabric over the other side. You want there to be an excess on the floor of the box to be covered by the inserts to hold the fabric in place. When you have this measurement, cut off the excess fabric and measure the same way from top to bottom. Repeat this process with the lid of the coffin.
Before gluing the fabric in place, we want to mark the holes for the handle. In the hardware section of places like Walmart you can get really cheap door pulls. Or you can go to Home Depot and hardly spend any more for something just a little fancier. They both will look cool. Remove the handle from the package and decide which surface you will attach it to. Basically, try to imagine what it will look like when you are carrying it. Do you want the coffin facing backwards, forwards, left, or right. When that decision is made, place the handle on the box and use a pen to mark the hole placement. With the box cutter, push through the duct tape and cardboard to create the holes. Push the screw through each hole to ensure size.
Place glue around the edges of the floor of the coffin and pull the fabric tightly.
You will want to fold the corners creatively as you are doing this, kind of like wrapping a present. Bring the fabric into the box and press down into the glue. Set this aside to dry as you repeat the process with the lid. Set that aside as well.
Now, measure the length of the long side of the coffin, the opposite side from where the handle will be placed. Cut a rectangle of fabric that wide, and long enough to glue under the insert of the lid to under the insert of the base. Glue the lid side first and set it aside to dry. After a few minutes, put glue in the floor of the base and bring it up to the other piece and rest the fabric in the glue. When holding the lid, you want it just open enough that it’s natural for using the purse, but not so open that this fabric hinge won’t hold the purse together.
Cut two squares of fabric just larger than the inserts and use those to cover them. I used a thick, sturdy satin. Instead of gluing this piece, I duct taped this down on the reverse of the insert to insure it’s tightness. The coffin box you want to be fabric covered, not held down. But the inserts should be smooth. Also, when the inserts are in place, the outer fabrics will be pulled taught.
Getting back to the top and the bottom, spread glue freely in the floor of each. Take an insert and push it down into the glue, fabric side up. This now insures that the covering fabric will remain in place and it holds the hinge together.
Now that the fabric is tight and in it’s final resting place, feel for where you made the handle holes earlier and push the box cutter through. The hole in the fabric doesn’t have to be pretty. The handle will cover it on one side and the nut and screw on the other. You can now attach the handle. Hold it in place and put the screws through. Fasten on the inside.
The almost final step is to glue in place the frog clasp. This is a fancy thing you get at the fabric store. Look for it where they have buttons and belt things. Any sales person can point them out. They are fancy little appliqués in two pieces one side having what looks like a knot and the other a loop. To attach it, just glue down one side and wait for it to dry. I would do this on the handle side and use the half with the knot. When it is secure, loop the other half of the frog around the knot so you know how far away to put the other piece and glue it down. That’s it.
Finally, use the non-slide, non-scuff dots they also sell in the hardware department to place on the bottom. The sell these felt like the picture or clear plastic which I like to use. This will just help your purse to last longer because the bottom fabric will not get worn out and it is lifted off surfaces which may have things spilled on them, etc.