Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bamboo Purse Tutorial

By Cindy Cade©

This is probably my most popular tutorial. Should you decide to make one expect a lot of compliments and questions.
We begin with a simple bamboo tiled placemat. Do NOT take the mat apart. Depending on the size and shape of your mat you will fold in half either vertically or horizontally.
Some that are longer will not work out to even rows and will not have an actual flat bottom. The ones I carry are a bit smaller and you end up with an extra row at the bottom which is very handy!
Now depending on the color of your tiles, you will either clean them and stamp directly or put down a coat of paint to stamp on.
Once cleaned and dried we are ready.
First take a scan of your mat. You only need the amount of rows that will make up one side of your purse. Print. Take whatever stamps you think you might like in your layout and stamp them onto a piece of transparency. Cut the pieces out. You can move these stamped pieces around on your template to see if the stamps will work well on a tile
grid and where the best placement will be. If you happen to have a digital camera, I suggest taking a picture of the completed layout to use as a guide.

Now, ink up your unmounted stamp with a permanent ink. I chose Stewart Superior India Ink Black. Pick the inked stamp up carefully by the edges and lay on the bamboo tiles. Hold in place with one hand while gently pushing all over with the other until you feel you have transferred the entire image. Lift carefully. Most likely you will make a mistake or two along the way, they are quite slippery. If you do, quickly remove the spot
with a rag. If that doesn’t work use which ever ink remover is recommended for your brand of ink. Finally if it is already set into the bamboo you can sand.

(Side 2)
Heat set after every stamping so as to avoid smearing.
Now to ad color. You can use about anything, Versacraft inks, oil pencils, markers, dye inks, just be sure to dry and heat set. After coloring the images ad lots of color (well I do!) to the background by applying with your fingers. I used both Adirondacks dye and Archival inks.

Once the coloring is complete dry fully. Seal with several coats of Krylon UV protective matte sealer and a coat or two at the end with gloss if desired drying fully between coats.
To build the purse: This next step is very fortunate since my sewing machine is unreachable at the moment. The mats I use are the perfect size to combine with the child size tote bags found in the craft department at Walmart as your liner! They do make a nice size, not too big, not too small, purse too.

Personally I like the addition of fibers. To add them I punched holes in the liner and added eyelets to tie them through. See the picture.
Plan where the eyelets will line up with the spaces left between the tiles in the bag when inserting.
Lace up the side of the mat. I have used both organza ribbon and satin cording for this. Don’t lace too tight as you want to be able to open your purse! You may begin lacing from the top down or visa versa.
I added the fibers to match (ribbon/cording) and tied beads.
Finally, attach Velcro to the purse by cutting adhesive backed strips about the vertical length of the tiles. Attach them to the tiles with the scratchy side facing the tiles and the fuzzy soft side facing the liner. Remove the backing from the smooth side now and adhere to the inserted liner. This way they will line up perfectly. It is the Velcro that will carry the weight of the bamboo and hold the purse together.
I highly suggest that you sew the smooth side to your liner for extra strength.
Your purse is complete. Make a matching key ring if you happen to have bought extra mats.
All rubber stamp images used for this sample are the property of Hearts In Touch.


  1. OMG! This is incredible! I do have one question though, why would you say the stamps have to be unmounted? For better control?

  2. Exactly right, Anna. You will be stamping most often on several tiles at one time with gaps between them. It will involve bending the rubber to best hit all of the space.

  3. Your purse is absolutely awesome! You are so talented. Love your blog.

  4. Wow - fantastic!!

    Gives me inspiration for Christmas gifts for my sisters and maybe even my 2 small nieces.

    I'll definitely pass along the info about your blog to my stamping friends. I know they'll enjoy it and it may inspire more of these wonderful purses.

    If you don't mind, where did you find the placemates? With the price of gas I don't really want to have to do a lot of driving around trying to find them.

    Thanks. I look forward to seeing what other wonderful ideas/projects I'll find on your lovely blog.

    Karen K
    Dearborn Michigan

  5. Ciny, The purse is awesome. I have been trying to contact you abut the place mats. Where do you find them. I love the idea. You go girl. No problem on passing this blog along. I do not have a blog yet. Connie Buck

  6. This is really neat and simple. The only thing I don't understand is how you stap the mat then sand it. Doesn't that make the ink come off? You also said mat is attatched to the bag by velcro. How many peices and located where?

  7. I only sand if a mistake was made. The idea being to remove the ink. ;-)

    I prefer to attach with eyelets and fiber but velcro will work. I tend to carry too much weight in my purses due to my lovely children.
    I just stick velcro on the purse near the top in not too obvious places with both sides of velcro still attached to each other. Then undo the sticky side of the velcro that will be attached to the bag (best if this is the soft piece for washing purposes) and put in your bag. Line up the velcro with the tops of the bag. Finger press to get a good bond. To be truly secure hand stitch the soft velcro to the inserted bag.