Easy DIY Transforming Purse-backpack




About: My favourite things in the world are inventing things, writing songs, sleeping, self improvement, and trying new things! I love instructables.com because it's like a playground for my kind of people. :)

If you are anything like me, you're tired of buying stuff and using it for a few months at which point it falls apart and you need to buy a new one. That's the story with me and backpacks. They are all made out of this really easy to tear material which only lasts PART of a semester at best, before I need a new one. I've come to realize purses are made to carry small stuff but are limited as far as long journeys, whereas backpacks are made for long distances, but tear apart easy, so I thought why not combine the two?

I take this backpack / purse hiking with me all the time and its lasted much longer than any of my backpacks, so I thought I'd show you how to make one!

It's very simple, and took me less than 20 minutes to make. If you've got an old bag lying around, it might be worth the small experiment to see if it could work as your new backpack. Check out how it's done!

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Step 1: Materials

What we'll be needing:

A satchel / purse
A bit of extra fabric (Old belt? Old backpack strap? Piece of left over jean?)
A needle and thread
A pair of scissors
Two Fold-Back clips (smaller is better)
A candle  (optional)

Step 2: The Clips

Take the two clips and pop them together. You're then gonna pull on the outside clip "handles" and pull apart. It should look like the last photo here.

Step 3: The Strap

Measure your bag's bottom to see where you want to affix the strap - this is a bit of guess work as it's not likely you'll have a bag the same size and shape as mine. I cut mine at about 5 inches.

I then got out a candle and lit it to sear the end of the strap so it won't fray later on with frequent use. This is important for plastic fabrics, but if you're using cotton, you want to fold the ends under itself (hem it) and stitch through the folded fabric to avoid fraying. If you're using leather, you don't really have to worry about it, but that'll be a HARD stitch. :/

I then hand stitched the bottom of the strap to the bag (the bottom of the strap is the side without the clips on it).

Step 4: Stitching on the Clips

From here, you're just gonna stitch a little bit around the longer handles, enough that it won't slip around, and enough that it could take a bit of pressure or weight.

Go ahead and place the strap down on the bottom so that the new strap we are sewing on will hold it in place. Then stitch around the longer metal handle of the Flip-Clip. Make sure to knot the thread after, and then trim it off.

And you're pretty much done!

Step 5: How to Use It

I just wanted to show you how the clip works, and to reassure you it doesn't slip off, doesn't catch on anything or have any problems as far as I can tell. So here's a little gif to show you how to unclasp it and re-clasp it. Nice and simple.

And here's another gif which shows how it works altogether.

Step 6: Model Your Finished Product!

You're done! Enjoy!

While creating this instructable, I found this really great a instructable for modifying your messenger bag with all sorts of pockets and cavities and it looks great! Check it out if you want to REALLY make your purse / messenger bag into a backpack replacement with compartments:


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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago

    at first I was dissapointed because it required a pre-made bag, but now I love this idea. great work!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure, after reading, how the parts go together. Perhaps a pic of the back of the completed bag would help me.

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the suggestion! I've added a new gif to step 5 which should make it more clear. :) Cheers!


    Reply 4 years ago

    a good idea, but gifs don't load in mobile for some reason. guess I'll have to fav it and look at it on my computer, what a shame... :)

    Nice Hack. I do something similar for quick rides with my "side satchel." Materials: 1 drawstring satchel or similar and say five' five" rope. Step 1 : Tie both ends of the rope to the Closed End of your satchel. Step 2 : Stretch out the rope to loop rope around the Open End. Step 3 : Double the rope lines up and carry as a single strap "side satchel" or split the rope as shoulder straps and haul as a "back satchel." Not close in custom beauty though.