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Painted Leather Handbags

The Martha Stewart Show, December 2010

Personalize vintage handbags with paint and embellishments using this simple how-to from designers Melissa Neufeld and Chris Janze.

Tools and Materials

  • Tooled leather handbag
  • Lumiere paint by Jacquard
  • Water-based varnish
  • Paintbrushes
  • Embellishments: Costume and vintage jewelry pieces, decorative chain, rhinestones, beads, findings, etc.
  • Devcon Flow-Mix 60-second epoxy
  • E-6000 glue

Painted Leather Handbag How-To
1. Choose a palette of colors for handbag -- find inspiration from things like a magazine photo or a fabric print.

2. Following the lines of the tooled leather design, paint handbag in desired colors. Paint entire background first, then fill in details. Note: Some colors may require two to three coats of paint.

3. Seal entire bag with two coats of water-based varnish.

4. Embellish the bag with costume and vintage jewelry pieces. Use 60-second epoxy for large and heavy embellishments, and E-6000 glue for the smaller embellishments. If you like, you can embellish the edge with a rhinestone chain or even replace the bag handle with an updated bead or metal chain strap.

5. Allow bag to sit undisturbed while the glue sets (at least 24 hours) before using.

Tooled leather handbags most often found on eBay. Lumiere paint by Jacquard available at Blick Art Materials. JW Right-Step water-based varnish in Gloss from Hobby Lobby. Devcon Flow-Mix epoxy and Eclectic Products adhesive glue available on Amazon.

Comments (5)

  • MSLO_Sara 16 Dec, 2010

    The leather doesn?

  • MSLO_Sara 16 Dec, 2010

    The leather doesn?

  • glassgarden 16 Dec, 2010

    If you go to and go to paints, you will find out everything there is to know about Lumiiere. They have instructions for painting on leather. I suggest reading this information before applying any product to clean or condition the leather. This paint can be used on many surfaces and is easy and inexpensive.

  • 4cats2many 15 Dec, 2010

    Does the leather need to be cleaned or prepped in any way prior to painting? If so what is recomended?

  • princesspisme 15 Dec, 2010

    She didn't say how to prepare the leather for painting....could you add that to the directions, please?