Pop tab purse
This whole thing started with a contest win. I won a book that showed different "green" items. You name it and this book had a picture of it made from something that had been something else originally. One of the pictures that really jumped out at me was a purse constructed from pop tabs. I couldn't help but thinking it looked really neat. I went online to try to figure out how to make one. Site after site all I found was others just like me trying to figure it out. Only a few sites had information on it and not on putting together the whole thing. It took some trial and error but I figured out a way to construct a purse from pop tabs. Here is how I did it:
- First thing you need to know is that you will need A LOT of pop tabs. My finished purse contained 727 pop tabs. You can buy them from e-bay or better yet ask friends and family members to save them for you.
- You will need some way to hold the pop tabs together. I chose craft wire. But, you could use ribbon, jump rings, or anything else you could think of. I liked the craft wire because I could wrap it around and it would hold its shape. But, when I was done, the purse ended up being very stiff. Ribbon would allow it more give. Jump rings would add more give for sure. But, it is your personal choice. It's all about the look you want in the end.
- Think about what colors you want your purse. I wanted a silver and black one. So I used the tabs as they were and black craft wire. Another beautiful idea I saw was pink and silver. You can spray paint your tabs whatever color you would like. The pink and silver one had the tabs painted pink and used silver jump rings to hold them together. Again, this is your personal choice. You can personalize this purse just for you.
- Once you have collected the pop tabs the first step is to wash and dry them. Trust me -- they may look clean but they aren't.
- I cut my craft wire at 3.5 inches. This was a good length for me. You can clearly see a black line running in between all the tabs, which is what I wanted. The longer you cut your wire the more times you will go around the tabs. The shorter the wire, the less you will go around the tabs. Yet again, this is all about what you personally want this to look like in the end.
- We will now start the layout for the purse. Start with 4 pop tabs. Lay two of the tabs side by side, same side up as you would find then on your pop cans, with the ends that you would grab to open a pop facing down. Then lay the next two over top the first two that same way. Just so you know, getting this started seems tricky, but after a while you will be a pro. Take your wire and put it through the hole in the middle. Your wire should be entering two tabs on each side. Using needle nose pliers to hold the one end of your wire, push the other end through the holes. Continue to do this till you are just about out of wire, pulling tight each time. Make sure you end up with both ends on the backside of the tabs. Using the pliers, grab both ends and twist tightly a couple times. Then bend down the end of the wire against the back of the tabs. You have just formed your first set of links.
- Take the next two tabs and lay them the same way on your now connected four tabs. Once again, wrap the wire around and around then twist off. Continue adding tabs in this fashion until you have the height you would like for your purse. My purse ended up being 7.5 inches tall, which was 16 tabs in height.
- Now that we have decided the height of our purse we need to determine the length. My purse ended up being 12.25" long and is 20 tabs long. Taking two tabs at a time, layer them on each other. Put this against your top two tabs and wire through. Make sure the layering always goes the same way. Work your way down the whole height of the purse. You should now have a purse that is three tabs wide. Continue adding columns until you are happy with the width of your purse. You have now finished one side of your purse.
- Make a second side with the exact same dimensions. You now have the front and back panels of your purse done.
- Take both of your pieced and wire together the top 2 tabs and the bottom 2 tabs. These didn't get any wire before because they weren't being used to add more links on. Adding wire to them now will make your purse look more finished and add more stability to the ends.
- Now we have to do the sides. These are a little tricky but you can do it. Take one of your finished pieces. At the end of it add two tabs just as you would if you were adding another column. The only difference this time is that you will hold the pieces at a 90 degree angle to the finished side. This will give your purse depth. I only went 1 tab deep, but I think you could go up to 3 tabs deep without it looking funny. 1 tab deep is 0.75 of an inch. Continue to work down the column till you get to the bottom. Repeat of the other side of the purse.
- Take the other finished big side and lay it over the one which now has sides. Make sure the pop tabs are all going the same direction. Wire the front / back piece to the sides of your purse. You should now have something with a front, a back, and two sides all joined together.
- Now we need to add a bottom to the purse. I used lengths of fishing line to hold the tabs in on the bottom. I did this because I wanted the way the purse looked to remain the same. I didn't want the black wire looking different on the bottom then on the whole purse. My purse used 26 tabs for the bottom. Take 2 tabs and layer them. Using the fishing line, wrap the one edge together. I went around a few times. Add your next tab and repeat. Once you have the length you need, continue to go down the other side of the tabs, wrapping the edges together.
- Take the length of tabs you have and put them in the end of your purse. You can decide which end you want to be the end. Once again, it's about the look you want it to have. I wanted the tabs facing so I put the piece at the other end. Position you length of tabs within the end. Using the fishing line, wrap the end in place. Work down the purse, wrapping the end to the purse all the way around. Go right around the bottom doing this. You now have a purse with 4 sides and a bottom.
- If you are just making a clutch, you won't want a strap. But, because I was making a purse, I made a strap. I took a length of fabric. I folded the ends in twice and then ironed it flat. I then ran a single seam down the length of the fabric. My finished strap was 0.375 of an inch wide. I took one end of my fabric and fed it through the top tab on one of the sides. I then used the fishing line and a needle to sew it in place. Taking the other end of the fabric, I threaded pop tabs onto it. I went up through one hole and down through the other. I did this because I liked how it looked, but you could do it the other way. (Down through the first hole and up through the second one.) Move your pop tab down to the end you have sewn in place. Continue threading pop tabs on until you have reached a length of strap that you like. My strap is 30.5 inches long. Once you get to the length you want, push the tabs up. Slip the end around the top of the tab on the side and sew into place. Space out your tabs along your strap.
- You will want to put a fabric liner in your purse. I used velvet for a couple reasons. I liked the idea of a hard purse on the outside with a really soft inside. Velvet is thick enough that the wire won't poke through. And I had some in the house. I personalized the inside of my purse with three pockets sewn into it. One for my cards, one for my pens, and one for my cell phone. I hate it when your cell phone rings and you have to dig to the bottom of your purse to find it! I no longer have this problem. I cut a rectangular shape out of the velvet and pinned down the four edges. I then ran a seam around the edges of the rectangle. Cut out two matching pieces of fabric to fit into your purse. I cut mine 13.5 inches by 8.5 inches. This gave me a half of an inch seam allowance on all sides. Taking one of the matching sides, pin in the rectangle that you have already put a seam on. I positioned mine in the middle of the side piece. Have the side of the fabric you want facing you when you do this. I wanted the soft side in, so I had the soft side facing me. Run the sewing machine around 3 of the four edges. (You won't run it on the fourth edge because this will be the opening to your little pockets.) Run seams down the inside of the smaller rectangle to divide into individual smaller pockets. I ran two seams giving me three pockets.
- You now need to decide what you would like your purse to close with. I used a zipper so I will explain how I installed it. There are also magnetic clasp, etc that you could use. Take the piece of fabric that you have sewn your pockets onto. Fold the top edge over by half an inch. Run this through the sewing machine giving you a clean seam to work with. Position one side of your zipper on the edge of your new seam. Make sure the tab of the zipper is facing down and your fabric is facing up. (Facing up being the side that will be the inside of your purse.) Run the sewing machine down the fabric of the zipper. Take your second side of fabric and once again run a half inch seam along the top. Align the newly sewn seam with the other edge of the zipper and sew this together. Yet again, make sure the zipper tab is facing down and the fabric facing up when you do this. Open the zipper slightly. About 4 inches. Pin together the two pieces of fabric so that what will be the inside of your purse is facing you on both sides. Run a half inch seam down each of the three sides. (Your fourth side is already attached with the zipper.) Now, turn the purse right side out. (This is why I suggested opening the zipper about four inches.) Open the zipper up all the way.
- Take your pop tab purse and insert the liner with the zipper up. Using fishing line, sew the fabric to the tabs by hand all the way around the top.
You have just completed your first pop tab purse!! Don't be surprised if people stop you and ask you about it. It is really different and always seems to turn heads. In the end mine only costed me $8.20 and that was for the wire. The pop tabs I collected. The fabric was left over that was just lying around. The zipper was taken out of my husbands old welding coveralls and reused. I love how mine looks and I love how everything is set up just for me on the inside. I hope you have fun trying this and building something just for yourself.
GoddessBrigit from Baltimore, Maryland on March 21, 2015:
Gosh. This looks awesome.
Bailey13 on March 11, 2013:
Hey Jazmyn that's not nice at all i think it is great that ADB took their time to even show this fto every one. How would you like it if someone said you suck, huh? Just think about that.
Bailey13 on March 05, 2013:
omg i love this so much
Skyylar on March 05, 2013:
Also i figured out it workes if you use a metal file and file the sharp part of the back so it wont get caught. It may be a little scratched up on the back but you wont see it and if your that worried about it just spraypaint it and it looks really good to. But yours looks excellent. Mine is not as nearly as good as yours though.
bailey on March 05, 2013:
thank you so much. i sell homemade jewelry and i collected like 2000 tabs and my mom thought i should get rid of them by making something awesome, so i found this after what seemed like a million trial and errors. this helped me so much
Dot on July 02, 2012:
I'm 80 yrs old and have found this to be so easy once you get started.
I had seen one that a friend of mine at church had. I just started looking
on the internet and there youwere. Thanks for the excellent instructions and pictures. I ending up using black ribbon and it looks
Artsandcrafty on June 23, 2012:
Wish it was more discriptive and had pictures to go with each confusing step. Can someone explain how to "push the other end through the hole" it doesn't make sense!? Wish there was more pictures! But helped menget an idea of what I was doing. Thank you :) :(
Elise on May 27, 2012:
This purse is so cool! I want to make on too! I have collected these tabs everywhere I go and I have a ton of them. I love the pockets on the inside of this bag!
Val on February 26, 2012:
Can you explain the part about tying the first 4 together? I keep screwing it up. . .
Laura Schneider from Minnesota, USA on February 24, 2012:
I do chain mail which is "woven" in a similar way as the pop tabs. I was going to make a chain mail purse, but I think now I'll make a pop tab one instead--yours is to-die-for. (I might use red for the cloth liner, though...) Hmmm Great hub! Totally awesome pictures and step-by-steps that even I can hopefully follow. :-) --Laura
Sheri Brown on January 10, 2012:
I have been searching for a free pattern for a crocheted soda pop tab purse. This is the only one I have found with pop tab patterns of any kind. Do you have a crocheted pop tab purse pattern? If so will you please post it?I would love it if you would. Thank you.
Anna on November 27, 2011:
This is a really cool idea! I've got all the poptabs sewn together, but I'm a little confused on how to put the fabric in the inside....any help?
Zoola on November 05, 2011:
I have about 100 on a chain around my neck, and then I have a bazillion in a bag. I should get started!!!
Molly on September 01, 2011:
This was pretty much the only site I could find actual directions with pictures... All the rest had them on sale for like $90 that is crap... Besides, I would rather make one myself :) this website is helping me a lot! Thanks for posting it!!! (haven't finished yet) :)
rosalie ridle on August 31, 2011:
I just love these pop top ideas. Thanks so much for sharing the instructions--I just need to find how to prepare the tabs for crocheting bracelets. Any ideas??
Lauren on August 14, 2011:
Yep it really is and I have a fun time dong stuff like this.
bre on July 06, 2011:
oohh wow tht is so cool and neat hav fun with tht
Lauren on June 16, 2011:
Wow! That is so cool. I have an organization of my own, called Peace, Love, Pop Tabs and it is where I sell pop tab bracelets for 1.50 and then the money I raise I will buy stuffed animals to give to sick kids at hospitals. Thanks for the idea and help!!!
Olivia Jöelle Simoni on May 09, 2011:
awesome, but imposible to make!!!! at least for me... I'm 12.... too hard. but thanks any way. =)
LOL!!! on March 08, 2011:
IT IS ABSOLUTELY WAT I WAS LOOKING 4 !!! NOW I CAN GET ON WITH MY DT PRODJECT!!!!
Kaitlyn on February 05, 2011:
The purse looks awesome but can u make an instructional video so I can see what I r supposed to do cause I'm having trouble.
laura on December 22, 2010:
What size wire did you use, and how much did it take to make the purse in question? Thank you for sharing
Keep Lexington Beautiful on November 23, 2010:
I'm going to make pop tab Native American ankle rattles with middle school kids next month, but this looks like a project for ME. Since I work in recycling, what a great way to use it in everyday and a great conversation starter.
B.M. on October 04, 2010:
I cant seem to figure out how to tie up the tabs together with so much wire .. would you go a lil bit further into details with it for me please
Kristie on October 03, 2010:
Could you tell me the name of the book you used. I am always looking for ways to reuse my stuff.
ADB (author) from Canada on September 11, 2010:
727 Pop Tabs were used. I can make one now in about 24 hours -- tabs, inside sewing, and strap.
Mikayla on September 11, 2010:
How many tabs did you use?? I have 841 tabs myself.
Pear Bear on July 08, 2010:
Hey! good for you! this looks tough! :)
how long did it take you? ? ?
Ms. Stephanie from North Dakota on July 02, 2010:
That is such a cool purse. Do you have any other cool ides? I would like to give them a try.
alice robins on May 22, 2010:
i love the purse, my sister made a pink one it is beautiful. i want to tr one...........love it
kristin on April 13, 2010:
ok, i love your purse. ive seen a bunch on etsy, but like yours the best. do you sell them? you should.
mari on April 02, 2010:
Angela on January 02, 2010:
Thanks for the awesome notes. I plan to make of few of these.
loucincy on December 28, 2009:
wow i couldn't do that in a million years
Star on November 20, 2009:
good job! love this idea:)
Pat on November 05, 2009:
Wow, this looks fabulous. Great job! I, too, saw some of these at a little boutique-type store in Portland, OR. Maybe I'll just have to give this a try!
J.Ann on September 14, 2009:
I saw a purse like this at this funky little museum gift shop, but they wanted a lot of money for it! I decided to make one and I'm glad someone put up instructions and pics! It will be a huge help once I'm done collecting my pop tabs from everyone!
Elizabeth on August 24, 2009:
This is the first place I have found directions or pattern with so much detail about making a purse. Good job!
Mandy on August 02, 2009:
What was the book you won??? I'm always looking for good ideas on recycled crafts, but there are so many books out there i don't know which ones are worth it
sarah on July 11, 2009:
WOW THAT LOOKES AWESOME , THAT HAD TO HAVE TAKENA LONG TIME !
Carmen Finnigan on July 09, 2009:
THIS IS AWESOME!!! I'm listening to a Caramell Dansen while I work. The pictures REALLY helped. It was taking me forever to get it right. Then I scrolled down reading the ads, and I found the pictures!!! I like the ribbon idea. I'm using a silvery blue (my favorite color). You have no idea how much of a pop tab maniac I am.
Elizabeth on June 25, 2009:
I really like the way you did your purse. I crocheted my purse and I had a hard time doing it that way. Your way is a lot easier.
Shannon on June 04, 2009:
About how many feet of craft wire did you use?
Ella on May 29, 2009:
omg!!!ur so great
my gratitude really goes out to you
=D i mean to go through all ur trial n fail
i appreciate it so much that u put it all together to make this easier for everyone looking
now i'm off to do my own trial and fail
but just to make it!
whitney! on May 08, 2009:
omg thanks so much! i saw them in the indianapolis art museum's gift shop and just had to learn how to make them. im trying to make a belt too. : )
cassi on March 29, 2009:
i can make bracelets out of pop tabs and craftlace
Aerin on March 23, 2009:
I just finished my awesome and amazing bag. Thank you so much for posting this and I hope you don't mind . . . but I'm sharing your instructions with EVERYONE! I hope that a lot fewer people are going to be throwing out their pop tabs now!
Alexandra on March 21, 2009:
hey wuds the layout like how do u string them together.. ive been having a lot of trouble wit it.... but i love the idea!
Moonlight Dancer from Dreamland on March 06, 2009:
Very cool!! Thanks for sharing.
DJ on January 01, 2009:
oh my i love this i've been trying to figure this out for a long time because i love to keep my colored energy drink tabs and i had them on a chain around my neck and it got huge with over 300 tabs so i started making belts with them. and i wanted other ideas..
Candace on November 18, 2008:
Thanks and LOVE it XD
Alisha on September 25, 2008:
I love the purse A
Dusty Spirit on September 16, 2008:
I absolutely love this idea! I too make a lot of projects from things that started life as something else. Great Hub!
ADB (author) from Canada on September 15, 2008:
moonlake from America on September 15, 2008: