Transform Your Purse into a Backpack in 5 Easy Steps 

 July 29, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

You know what it’s like: you’re sitting on the bus, train, or just walking around town carrying the heaviest purse ever. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also certainly not stylish. Have you ever wished you could just throw your purse on your back and save yourself the aching arms? You don’t have to dwell in the past—transforming your purse into a backpack in 5 easy steps is as simple as 1-2-3.

With a few simple materials and tools, you can easily turn a purse into a backpack. All you need for the transformation are two straps, some thread, a needle, and scissors.

Let's take a quick look at some of the things you need to become the true definition of 'hands-free'. We'll also show you how to make sure your purse- turned backpack is the envy of the world. Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!

Select the Right Bag to Turn Into a Backpack

If you want to turn your purse into a backpack, you first need to choose the right bag. Depending on your style and preferences, this will be one of the most influential decisions in the whole process. There are some important factors to consider when making this decision.

The first is size. You should make sure that your bag is big enough to fit everything you need in it and that you can still strap it comfortably on your back. If you plan to carry heavier items in your new backpack, you should opt for a larger bag that can carry the extra weight without weighing you down too much.

The next thing to think about is comfort. While a large number of straps can be a fashion statement, remember that you will eventually be carrying this bag on your back. So you should make sure it is not uncomfortable or does not dig into your skin when worn for long periods of time. Look for bags with adjustable straps and padding for maximum comfort.

Finally, pay attention to the price and quality of the bag you are buying as its durability and lifespan will of course depend on this. Leather purses often offer more protection and are likely to last longer, but they can also be slightly more expensive than other fabrics. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preferences and budget.

Once you have chosen the ideal bag for your needs, it is time to think about the materials that will best suit your purse-to-backpack project. This includes things like hardware and fabric, which we will discuss in the next step.

Key Takeaway

When converting a purse into a backpack, the first important step is to choose the right bag. The most important factors you should consider when making this decision include size, comfort, cost, and quality. Purses made of leather offer more protection and last longer, but they are also usually more expensive than other materials. Once you have chosen the ideal bag for your needs, you can think about which materials are best for the project.

What Material is Your Purse?

In general, leather purses are the most durable and make excellent backpacks. They offer better structure and are available in a variety of colors. Synthetic materials can also be used, but they are not as durable or comfortable when you put them over your shoulders. If you’re looking for something more lightweight and flexible, canvas bags are also suitable for this transformation.

Check the straps carefully to make sure they are strong enough to hold your belongings, whatever material you choose. If you’re recycling a secondhand find, look closely for signs of damage that could make it difficult to convert into a functional backpack.

When it comes to making a statement, leather bags offer the most style options – but remember that lighter materials have a more relaxed vibe. Keeping all these things in mind, you’ll be armed with enough information to decide which material is best for your new DIY backpack.

Once you have chosen the right bag with the right material, it’s time to measure out how big your newly designed backpack will be, so here we go!

How Big is the Purse?

The size of your purse may well affect how easily it converts into a backpack. Those who have a smaller purse will find that they have fewer straps and loops available to add components for a backpack modification. A very small purse may still be modified, but the modifications can be more difficult due to the limited options for placing additional hardware. Conversely, larger purses allow many more features and components to be added for the modification process. However, a purse that is too large may result in having to be carried as a backpack or be uncomfortable. Different body types also need different sized bags.

For those seeking a balance between comfort and practicality for their transformation project, medium-sized bags are often the best option. Medium-sized bags offer the best of both worlds—enough space for accessories but not so large that they are awkward or uncomfortable on your back. As for the choice of material, leather is best for converting a purse into a backpack because of its durability and flexibility. The items to be attached also require a certain amount of strength, which a leather handbag offers..

Now that you’ve considered the size and material, it’s time to prepare your purse for a successful transformation into a backpack.

Preparing Your Purse to be Turned Into a Backpack

This step requires you to assess the type of material your purse was made of. Depending on the material, some preparation steps may feel easier than others. For example, if your purse is made of canvas or other fabrics, you may need to clean and iron the material before attaching straps. Plastic bags, on the other hand, require less preparation as they are already quite flat.

When it comes to choosing the right straps for your backpack, you should ask yourself a few important questions before buying. Is the material durable enough? Are they adjustable in length? Do they match the aesthetics of my bag? To ensure optimal comfort when wearing your backpack, look at all the options and evaluate their features before deciding on a particular strap.

Adjust the Straps of Your Purse

Once the exterior of your purse is prepared, the next step in transforming your purse into a backpack is to adjust the straps. If you opt for two straps, attach them to the bottom of both sides of the purse, making sure to leave enough space so that it doesn't feel too tight to wear. If you decide on one strap to be used as a sling bag, prepare two pieces of fabric that are about 1-2 in thick and 10 in long, or the best size depending on how big your purse is. Then attach the pieces of fabric to both sides of the purse, making sure they are symmetrical from both sides. Now adjust the strap to what’s comfortable for you and check that it’s tight and secure.

When thinking about how to adjust these straps, it's important to consider both comfort and convenience. On the one hand, people want a bag that feels comfortable to carry and can take any load without overloading the shoulders or arms. On the other hand, people also want a bag that fits them well and doesn’t slip off easily when they are engaged in an activity where mobility is important.

With the adjustable straps, you can find the perfect chin clearance for your daily use. This flexibility makes it easy to switch between using a purse and a backpack as the wearer can quickly adjust the length depending on their preference for the day. Adjustable straps therefore offer a balance between practicality and flexibility that everyone should consider when deciding how easy it should be to transform their purse into a backpack.

Now it's time for the final step: transforming your handbag into a backpack. If you follow all these steps carefully and correctly, you'll soon be able to enjoy your very own stylish yet functional backpack!

Converting Your Purse into a Backpack

Transforming your purse into a backpack can be done in a number of ways. For instance, you can buy a special conversion kit from many online retailers that allows you to convert your purse into a backpack and then back into a purse again. On the other hand, you can replace the strap of your existing bag and ensure that the straps are securely attached with the necessary fasteners. Whichever option you choose, make sure that the transformation looks as much like part of the original design as possible.

If the existing bag has sentimental value or is made of high-quality material, it may be worth investing in the conversion kit instead as it is likely cost less than buying a completely new bag only to convert it with straps later—not to mention that the thought put into such a conversion makes the finished product even more unique and personalized. However, if price is not an issue, or if the existing bag is simply out of date compared to the newer models found on today's market, it may make more sense and be more stylish to get a new bag.

Turning your bag into a backpack gives you a unique accessory you'll love. Whether you opt for a DIY approach or a shop-bought conversion kit, with a little thought and basic craft skills, you can achieve a designer-level look in no time! 

DIY Conversion Kit vs. Purchase New Bag

If you want to convert a purse into a backpack, you have to weigh up whether it is better to buy a new bag or use a kit. On the one hand, it can be easier and quicker to buy a ready-made product that already meets your criteria for a backpack. This saves time and energy, especially if your craft skills are not yet fully developed. Also, pre-made backpacks may offer features not found in regular purses, such as insulated pockets to keep food or drinks cold on the go.

With a DIY conversion kit, on the other hand, you can design every detail of your dream backpack yourself. With a variety of kits, you can transform virtually any handbag into a trendy backpack, giving you more control over your design. Plus, these kits are cheaper than buying a completely new bag and give you the opportunity to express yourself personally, which is not possible with factory-made bags.

If you have decided to DIY or buy a new bag, it's important to add touches that suit your personal style. Depending on whether you prefer an edgy or classic look, you can create a distinctive piece with accessories such as metallic hardware, sequin straps, braided leather, and unique textures. If you are going for a more casual look, you can accentuate your casual side with accessories like woven pouches, pendants, and travel tags..

Apart from these options, you can also replace the existing hardware with whimsical shapes such as floral buckles or decorative crosses. You can even add extra texture with embroidery or stitch motifs like stars or animals on the strap. All these little details work to create depth and distinctiveness to your bag; together they will make your bag stand out from the crowd.

The decision between DIY conversion kits and buying a complete bag depends on personal preference and budget. DIY kits are suitable for those who are happy with their current purse but may offer limited stylistic customization options. Buying a new bag, on the other hand, comes at a lower initial cost, but you should consider spending extra on styling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What items are needed to turn a purse into a backpack?

To turn a purse into a backpack, you’ll need the following items: scissors, strong fabric (such as canvas or nylon), webbing straps, a ruler or tape measure, and an iron.

First, cut two shoulder straps from the fabric with the scissors. Make sure they are at least 30 inches long each. Then attach the straps to both sides of the bag using the webbing and an iron. Finally, use the ruler or tape measure to mark where you will sew the two ends of the straps to the bag to ensure a secure fit. Now your purse is transformed into a stylish and functional backpack!

What are the steps for converting a purse into a backpack?

  1. Choose the right purse: Look for a purse that is soft and light so that you can put it on and take it off more easily. Consider the shape of the purse, too—smaller, more compact bags convert better.
  2. Add shoulder straps: You can purchase adjustable straps at any local craft or fabric store. Attach one end of each strap to the top corner of the purse, and adjust it to fit securely and comfortably.
  3. Add longer straps: To turn your purse into a backpack, take two long straps and loop them onto each side of the bag near where you attached the shorter straps. Securely fasten them with strong clips or knots. Make sure that your chosen suspension system is comfortable even if you carry it for a long time.
  4. Add extra pockets to the larger bag: If you need extra storage space in your new backpack, add a few smaller pockets to the larger bag. To do this, use strong clasps to secure them inside to keep everything safe on your trip.
  5. Secure with a clasp or a fastener: To complete the backpack and purse combination, use a fastener such as a clasp or a lobster claw to keep everything in place when you wear the backpack over your shoulder or on your back. And don't forget to try it out on a walk!
About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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