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How to Make a Purse or Handbag for Barbie (Without Sewing!)

Did you know Mattel wanted to sell more Barbie clothing than dolls? That's why her proportions were so wild—the clothes make her look human!

"The number of clutch purses here is simply dizzying!"

"The number of clutch purses here is simply dizzying!"

All fashion plates need accessories, and Barbie is no different. How can one be a trendsetter if they can’t find the right purse?

Barbie can never have too many black purses!

Barbie can never have too many black purses!

Use scraps of material for these adorable Barbie purses.

Use scraps of material for these adorable Barbie purses.

But never fear…

I will show you how to create a multitude of purses for your Barbie using nothing but a tiny square of material and some glue. And the best part? If you lose these purses, you can easily make more and for next to nothing!

Materials You Will Need for a Barbie Bag

This project requires:

  • A piece of material (whatever you like), 2 inches square. I like wallpaper or upholstery samples for this because they have more weight and body than regular paper, and because they often have unusual or raised finishes, making them perfect for our favorite fashionistas!
  • A hot glue gun or white glue
  • A decorative “closure” (optional)


Making a Clutch Purse for Barbie

  1. Place your cut material in front of you, with the correct side face down.
  2. Measure about .25 inch from the left and right sides, fold toward the center, glue along the edge, and stick.
  3. Fold the bottom edge about .5 inch from the top edge, glue along the edge, and stick.
  4. Fold the top edge over, and glue in the center.
  5. Optional: glue a small bead, sequin, rhinestone, bow, or other decorative piece in the center so it looks like a closure.

And you’re done! It took about one minute, and poof! Barbie’s got a brand new bag!


I whipped all of these Barbie clutches up in about five minutes.

I whipped all of these Barbie clutches up in about five minutes.

Suggestions for material:

Because this accessory takes so little material, it’s ideal for leftover scraps of pretty much anything.

  • Wallpaper book samples (to match your Barbie’s wallpaper clothes!)
  • Upholstery book samples
  • Scrapbooking or heavy wrapping paper
  • Fabrics of any kind


The most effective Barbie accessories look as if a human would use them. Isn't this bag fabu? Doesn't it look full-sized?

The most effective Barbie accessories look as if a human would use them. Isn't this bag fabu? Doesn't it look full-sized?

Yet it fits in the palm of my hand.

Yet it fits in the palm of my hand.

Make a matched set of bags using the same fabric, or...

Make a matched set of bags using the same fabric, or...

... use coordinating fabrics to design different styles of purses for your dolls.

... use coordinating fabrics to design different styles of purses for your dolls.

This cute little number fits right into Barbie's armpit.

This cute little number fits right into Barbie's armpit.

Making Customized Barbie Purses

There are so many ways to gussy up these bags:

  • If you like, add a chain or strap to the clutch. Make a smaller bag and affix a jump ring to its corner for a wristlet, or glue straps to the inside of the bagbefore folding over the final flap and gluing it in place.
  • For a larger bag, simply cut a larger square.
  • For a differently-shaped bag, change the proportions: increase the width for a wider, more rectangular bag or the height for a taller, narrow one.
  • Stuff the bag with a small amount of batting, yarn, or paper for a fuller look.
  • Glue feathers or another exciting type of trim across the bottom or on the top flap for an exotic look.
  • Cut a scalloped or pointed edge using pinking shears or craft scissors
  • Significantly heavier than paper, upholstery samples are especially good for larger bags.
  • Or, make a really large rectangular piece into a well-stuffed pillow! (You wouldn’t want Babs to be uncomfortable, would you?)

These would also be great for other fashion dolls, like Monster High or Bratz dolls. Because you don't need to do a lot of measuring, these are especially easy for kids to design. Assist them with the hot glue gun though, or provide regular white glue for sticking.

A taller piece of material will create a taller bag.

A taller piece of material will create a taller bag.

Change the style of flap by cutting a design into it. Here are three different styles. (Even ugly wallpaper can make cute Barbie bags!)

Change the style of flap by cutting a design into it. Here are three different styles. (Even ugly wallpaper can make cute Barbie bags!)

Ideas for Play with Barbie Bags

Besides simply having the hats with which to accessorize your dolls, consider these ideas for play:

  • Set up a bag or accessory shop like the 1982 Barbie dream store series
  • Match a handbag to a Barbie hat made from a K-cup!
  • Make Barbie a bag to match your personal favorite
  • Why not make a purse for each outfit in Barbie's closet? As the quintessential well-dressed woman Helen Gurley Brown said,


"You can be better dressed when you own a lot of stuff."

"There's something really special about this shoulder bag with the beaded strap."

"There's something really special about this shoulder bag with the beaded strap."

"It looks wonderful on you." "It certainly does. I'll take it!"

"It looks wonderful on you." "It certainly does. I'll take it!"

Where Can I Find Wallpaper or Upholstery Samples?

Many crafters already know – finding the right materials can be expensive. It’s unrealistic and wasteful all around to buy a yard of fabric for a tiny project that only requires five inches.

So get friendly with your local paint store and ask to put your name on their call list for the next time they are clearing out their outdated sample books.

If you get really lucky, they might have some in the back of the store already, just waiting for someone like you.

Buying Handbags for Barbie

Of course, you could always just buy your favorite diva some handbags, but the odds are high that they will not be as sharp-looking or sophisticated as something handmade, by you.

Comments

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on January 28, 2013:

Thanks, Brainy Bunny! "Styled" is my middle name. ;)

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on January 28, 2013:

These are seriously cute. And I absolutely love the way you've styled the Barbies in the photos. Great hub!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on January 27, 2013:

Thanks, lightmotifs! I had so much fun making these. :)

lightmotifs from Orange County, CA on January 27, 2013:

Those are really cute and clever!