Back with another DIY gift idea for the holidays! I found this clutch at Anthropologie, which I thought would make a nice gift for my niece. But they were out of “C”s, the letter I wanted, so I thought, hmmm, I could probably make something similar. I trotted over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick up some supplies. I got an assortment of beads (ones with a flat back work best), more than I thought I’d need just so I’d have a lot to choose from, plus fabric/bead glue. I also went to Target and got a basic clutch/wallet for about $10 (you could probably find cheaper if you shopped around but I was pressed for time). I used a pair of tweezers I had at home, plus scrap paper and a pencil. This ended up being a really quick and easy (and fun) DIY project.
The first thing I did was outline the clutch on a piece of scrap paper, and draw the letter “C” about the size that I wanted it to to be on the real clutch.
This was my practice run. I didn’t yet know which beads I wanted to use, or how I wanted to arrange them, so I laid the beads down on paper first. I’d highly recommend doing this before just diving in. I ended up playing around with different beads and arrangements for a good 20 minutes, swapping out ones that didn’t work, before I was satisfied. It’s better to figure this out first, before the glue is on the bead and you can’t move it around.
I got a rough idea of what I wanted, then started in on the real deal. I took a pencil and very lightly drew a “C” on the real clutch. Then I took the glue and followed the pencil line, correcting the line a bit as I went. I also squirted a dollop of glue on a piece of cardboard so that I could dip the beads in the glue before adding them to the clutch. The glue dried really quickly so the line I’d drawn on the clutch didn’t stay tacky for long. I used tweezers to dip the beads in the glue, and then to place them on the clutch–most of the beads were so small that I wouldn’t have been able to place them correctly with my bare hands. Although I followed my design pretty closely, I did make some changes as I went.
I’m really happy with how this turned out. For me, the key to the design was using a small assortment of beads in complementary colors, with differing shapes and textures, but not overdoing it. I wanted a lot of repetition with the beads so that it looked like a unified design, so I ended up using only two of the packages of beads and I’ll just return the other two. When I wrap this up for my niece, I’ll include some extra beads in a small baggy so that in case a few of them come loose, she can easily replace them.
There are lots of other options here, too, if you don’t want to make an initial. You could create a jeweled border around the edges of the clutch instead, or make a simple design in the middle of the clutch (the quatrefoil is really big right now). Add in sequins, or if you’re good at sewing, some decorative thread.