Upcycled Piano Virtuoso Clutch




About: I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady with a penchant for red wine, travel, and making something from nothing. I blog at Shrimp Salad Circus, where I cover everything from an extensive library of DIY tutorials to te...

Let's start with the inspiration: There's a super cute Kate Spade Piano Recital clutch floating around the world of fashion somewhere. Unfortunately, however, it's expensive. Like $375 expensive. Eh, I think I can do better (or at least a lot cheaper - in the neighborhood of less than $5).

With this tutorial, you can take a $0.99 thrifted purse and turn it into a high-fashion-inspired masterpiece!

For more fashion and home tutorials, visit my blog at Shrimp Salad Circus!

Step 1: What You Need

If you find a purse at the thrift shop and already have a couple brushes lying around, you should be able to make this bag for under $5 total. That's a pretty steep discount over Kate Spade, no?!
  • black acrylic patio paint
  • fine-tip Sharpie
  • paintbrushes - one as wide as your piano keys and one thin
  • straight edge (I ended up using a paperback book instead.)
  • white leather or vinyl purse or clutch

Step 2: Prep Time

Start by cleaning the surface with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball. This will  help the paint adhere better and last longer. Using either a ruler/straight edge or a thin paperback book and your fine-tip Sharpie, trace the lines of each black piano key. The pattern is three keys, two keys, three keys, and so on. Leave a space the width of a key between each block of three and two.

Step 3: Get Sketchy

It should look about like this when you're done. I chose to have the black keys coming up from the bottom of the purse. Don't worry if it looks a little bit sketchy. You can fix that later if you'd like.

Step 4: Line 'Em Up

Using your straight edge or the side of your book, draw lines coming down from the middle of each key and the middle of each space. I've marked the lines to draw in red in the above image. You can bring these lines all the way to the opposite edge, but I stopped mine at the zipper.

Step 5: Let's Compare Notes (Pun Intended)

When you've drawn them all, it should look like the above image. If you want to, you can now go back and clean up the lines, making sure you've got all the keys completely drawn on. As you can see, some of mine are wiggly or don't have corners. I left it that way.

Step 6: Key It In

Dip your brush into the patio paint. You want to use patio paint rather than regular acrylic because it will be more flexible, adhere better, and stay vibrant longer, since your purse will be tossed around, exposed to rain, and so on. Using one heavy stroke from the top of the key to the bottom of the purse, pull the brush back to fill in each key outline.

Step 7: Angular or Artsy?

It should look like the above photo at this point. If you don't want the more abstract, "artsy" look, you can now take a smaller paintbrush and fill in the corners and edges until you have perfectly rectangular keys. I left mine "sloppy."

Step 8: Finish It Off

Now, using your thin paintbrush, trace over the lines between and beneath the keys. You can make this line as heavy or as thin as you want. Mine are a bit wiggly, as it really matches with the whole haphazard feel of the purse. Let it dry, preferably overnight, before you use the bag. You don't need to seal it with anything - you're just good to go out in style!



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11 Discussions


6 years ago on Introduction

kinda neat well im a guy so i stick to pocket sized wallets back packs or messenger bags so a purse or clutch is not my thing but it would be so much cooler if you could play it

2 replies

It would be simple to buy a cheap toy keyboard and put the switches for the keys inside. There are Instructables for making fabric pressure sensors that could function as the keys.

You might be surprised, Y! If you can sew (which it looks like you can from your cute little coffee cutlery roll), then painting a quick little project shouldn't be any problem for somebody so talented! :D


6 years ago on Introduction

The piano key arrangement is incorrect, though. The black keys on a piano are in sets of 2, 3, 2, 3, etc. You have 1, 2, 2, 3, 1. The one black key alone is fine, that can happen at the bottom or top end, but two sets of 2 would never happen.

1 reply

Thanks for letting me know, j. To be totally honest, I just drew some lines to get the idea of a piano across, but next time I'll look it up to be more accurate, as you make a great point!

Thanks - I've obviously been away from Instructables for way too long, I suppose! It's good - and very good motivation - to be participating again!