My first ever Chanel piece, a classic chain strapped quilted lambskin was handed down to me by my mother a decade after she picked it up in Paris. It has been with me through good times and bad, and was by my side during some major milestones. Suffice to say, this baby was well loved. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, she was in need of some serious TLC. When I brought her in to the Chanel boutique and the bag doctor touted as New York City’s finest, I was told that the cost to fix the scratched hardware and the cracked leather edges would be more than it was worth and that I should just buy a new one. What they didn’t understand was that it is priceless to me, and I didn’t want a new one (well not that I would be disappointed with that gift), but I wanted this one. True to form, I took matters into my own hands and went on a journey to turn my sad old bag into a party perfect purse on my own.
Want to join me?
1 vintage leather bag in need of some love
1 container of glitter
1 bottle of Mod Podge, gloss finish
1 bottle of clear acrylic coating spray (I like Krylon)
1 bottle of gold leafing paint (or silver depending on the hardware color)
1 small paint brush
1 thin clean wooden stick such as a grilling skewer
1 bottle of wax leather polish (I like Kiwi Color Shine)
Enough painter’s tape (I like Frog tape best) to cover the inner edges of your bag
Newspaper to protect your work surface
Thick paper (such as a glossy mailer) large enough to cover the bag
1. As always, wipe down your bag in need to ensure that the surface is clean and ready to be beautified and lay your newspaper down on your work surface. If you are using glitter to cover distressed edges, choose the surface you want to sparkle and apply the painters tape or frog tape around the edge you want to keep clean.
2. Make a funky chunky mixture combining the glitter and the mod podge and mix it with the paintbrush. The best texture can be achieved by mixing 1.5 parts podge to 1 part glitter.
3. Apply the mixture to the desired sections, removing the tape after each application. Do not wait for the glue to dry to remove the painters tape and sprinkle additional glitter on top of the still wet glue (optional). Allow the front side to dry before moving on to the backside and repeat the process. Once the podge has dried, apply more of the mixture to any missed spots if you see any. If not, nice job! You’re pretty awesome.
4. Give that bad bag a good spanking outside to get rid of any loose glitter. Cover the non-glittered sections of the bag with thick paper (such as a glossy mailer) and secure with painters tape. Outdoors or in a well ventilated area, spray the glittered sections with the acrylic sealer while standing about three feet away from it. Repeat the process after ten minutes.
5. If your hardware is looking as chipped, scratched and sad as mine, surround all hardware areas with painters tape to protect the leather. Give your leafing paint a good shake and then give it a good scrape at the bottom of the bottle using the stick or skewer and stir. Begin applying it in light coats with the tip of your finger. This will give you the smoothest most streak-free application. Allow each coat to dry before the next application (up to three coats if necessary).
6. Once the leafing has dried, apply the polish to the leather. If you are not using a brand with a self applicator (like this one ), I recommend using something made out of soft natural fibers like an old cotton tee. Let it dry, and reapply if needed.
Your sad old satchel is now ready to hit the streets or the party or wherever you take her to start her new life as your new favorite underarm accessory!
I removed the chain for now until I find a replacement. I am thinking of making a strap from a chain and or faux pearl strands or leaving it as a clutch. What say you?