A Repurposed Purse as a Camera Bag

(First of all I just reread the Psychology Today article on 8 Tips to Know if You’re Being Boring  by Gretchen Rubin of Happiness Project Blog )  but maybe someone has an old purse they can repurpose to hold a camera………………

What are they called in your part of the world? purse, handbag, pocketbook, tote, shoulder bag, carry-all ?

My DIL sent me a ton of links from ETSY and other places before Christmas as she knew I was looking for a cross body strap camera bag that didn’t look like a camera bag.

And there were some nice ones she found. (thanks Erika)

Her mother sent me an article with a link to camera bags created with women in mind and they were nice, too. (thanks Marlene)

But nothing seemed just right and at an affordable price.  The one I liked the best was about $325 so think again.

I have a big black padded and compartmentalized wheely backpack but it is just enormous and conspicuous.  Barely fits into the overhead on a plane, too.

This old slouchy  gray leather purse had the  lining split around the top.  I wasn’t using it as a purse anymore but the leather still seemed good.  I thought about relining it.  I thought about it so much and it seemed so tedious, I never did it!

I should have taken a before shot.  Didn’t think about photographing it until it was all stitched up!

At the local craft/fabric store I found the answer and I came right home and slipped this extra thick batting into the purse between the ripped lining and bag and then I stitched up the lining around the top with strong black thread.

And now I have a padded camera bag.  There is a zipper pocket inside which will hold camera cards or batteries nicely and there is room for a flash or an extra lens. And a top zipper is always a plus, which this bag has already.   A friend suggested treating the bag with mink oil to help moisturize the leather. It is not slouchy anymore, that’s for sure.



purse to camera bag 1

Now it stands up instead of slouches.  Grandson Michael tested it as a makeshift pillow as we sat in the bleachers, too.

I don’t know what brand the purse is originally, it has elephants all over the lining and says it was

Made in Italy.


purse to camera bag 2

13 thoughts on “A Repurposed Purse as a Camera Bag

  1. I use an old purse as well as a camera bag, but it’s an on the shoulder thing, not a cross body strap which would really be best when shooting photos! I’ll keep looking. Your DIY bag is perfect!

  2. Camera bags are a very sensitive subject for me, Ruth, ever since I put my camera in a water cooler with a bottle of water and suffered the consequences. You don’t want to go there. I’m off to see how boring I am 🙂 🙂

  3. I like that you recycled an old purse (or bag, as I grew up saying). And I am sure you will feel comfortable carrying it around.

  4. Perfect…what a good idea. I have an old purse, I refuse throw away. It was first expensive bag I bought for myself…I’ll have to get it out if the closet to use this fall. Had the shoemaker sew the straps back together a few years back!

  5. That looks good, Ruth, and it doesn’t scream “I’m carrying a camera!” Mine is more of a backpack kind of thing and was large enough to hold my camera equipment, all of my electronics, and a few other essentials when I boarded the plane. Now that I’m at home, though, I may need a smaller case. I’m not so sure I want to walk around with this thing on my shoulder. We’ll see … 🙂

  6. my connection is too slow to load the images, but i can visualize what you’ve done and am proud that you ‘did it yourself’!

    handbags are called ‘bolsas’ here in ecuador.. in costa rica, my friends called a plastic shopping bag a bolsa, and in ecuador they laughed when i asked for a bolsa at the supermarket! they are called ‘funditas’ here…

    i’ll check back when i have faster internet!


  7. I read an article once about how using a camera bag for an expensive camera is a bad idea, as thieves will be more likely to target you. The article instead suggested to carry an expensive camera (and related gear) in a diaper bag – as no thief wants stinky diapers! 🙂 Your purse seems like a nice in-between. (Though I must admit, I’ve seen some nice diaper bags over the past few years…)

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