Posted by: Michelle Mitton | May 19, 2008

How to Make Popsicle Stick Purses

Popsicle Stick PursesIn one of my Friday night roamings at the bookstore I came across a craft book, Nifty, Thrifty and Kitschy Krafts by Leah Kramer, that had a pattern for popsicle stick purses. The idea was so quirky and unusual (and with my love of handbags being legendary) I knew I had to give it a try.

I’m afraid I have to say (but with the utmost humility of course) that I like the design I came up with better than the octagonal fishing creel-looking contraptions from the book.

The project was easy enough that it would make a fun kid craft for summer. If you’re capable of gluing one popsicle stick on top of another then you can probably handle this project. We’re not talking mapping the human genome or designing an artificial heart people, it’s just a purse made out of wooden sticks. The hardest part will be eating all those popsicles.

Popsicle Stick PurseHere’s what you need:

  • Popsicle sticks, at least 150 of them
  • Wood glue such as Elmer’s
  • Wood stain and a sponge or brush for application
  • A handkerchief for a liner
  • Leather straps for handles

1. Glue one popsicle stick on top of another in the above shape–overlapping one stick on top of another with a dot of glue to hold it in place. You could try another shape but this longer one makes the purse nice and thin. You’ll need to place the middle sections one popsicle stick length apart because you’ll need to make a bottom for the purse so keep the middle sections close enough to each other that a stick can span the bottom and still touch both sides.

Popsicle Stick Purses2. Continue laying one stick on top of another–like the picture to the left shows–until the purse is as high as you’d like it. I think I made about 25 rows for mine. Try to get them as even as you can, but if it’s not perfectly even don’t sweat it, it just gives it that quirky basket-weave look. Once the body is dry create a bottom for your purse by gluing a dozen or so sticks across the middle section of the bottom. If you look hard at the top photo you can see the ends of the sticks along the bottom of the purse to give you an idea of what I’m talking about (I forgot to take a picture of that step sorry).

3. Once dry (probably overnight) use a sponge or brush to stain the sticks whatever color you’d like. I can’t remember what color I used, it was something not too dark and not too light–just in the middle. You’d be surprised how sturdy the whole thing is, you could break off sticks if you tried hard but overall it’s pretty solid.

Popsicle Stick Purses4. Meanwhile, take a handkerchief of your choosing (I saw some hot pink paisley patterned ones for a dollar at Walmart the other day which would be completely cute) and fold it in half lengthwise. With right sides together, sew along the ends and turn it right side out to make the simple lining.

Popsicle Stick Purses5. With two straps of leather thread the leather in between the slats of the purse and sew or glue in place.

6. Insert the lining of the purse. I think it looks nice to let it stick up a little–especially with the lacy edge showing–but you can fold it over the edge of the purse or if you’re feeling terribly energetic you could make a lining with a zipper or other closure. I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic so I opted for something simple. You’ll want to make a little stitch in the bottom of the lining to secure it to the bottom of the purse and to keep it from pulling out but that’s not hard at all.

Easy huh? And I love the baskety look of the stained popsicle sticks. You can see another design at Made with Love by Hannah which follows the same shape as the purses in the book. See what you think and give it a try. And you guessed it, I’m sticking this one in my Etsy store.

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