I really liked this Valentino Leather Floral Primavere Tote Bag, but at $3,995 I definitely could not afford its hefty price tag. So, I decided to make my own version for about $125. And don’t worry, you don’t have to sew the bag itself, just make the leather flowers! The flowers are similar to those found in my Wet Molded Leather Flower Tutorial, but are much easier and faster to make.
Click “Continue Reading” to learn how to make this gorgeous purse.
You will need:
- Pre-made unlined leather bag –I used the Paige Pinking Shears Tote from Banana Republic. You can sometimes find them used on eBay or wait for a great sale at Banana Republic to get it cheaper than its original retail. NOTE: you can use a bag with a lining if you want, but it will be a little bit more difficult to set the rivets on the leather.
- About three hides of 6-7 square foot thin Pigskin
- 30 Double Cap Rivets (or more…. you might need extras to replace for mistakes
- leather scissors or other sharp scissors
- a hole punch (I used Martha Stewart’s Screw Punch)
- foam board to punch the leather on
- tailor’s chalk
- leather glue (like Tandy leather weld)
- water soluble glue (like Elmer’s)
- a small bowl to hold your glue water
- condiment bottles to dry your petals on
- two oven-safe small bowls/saucers to shape your flowers
- oven rack
*Tip* You can do this in an assembly line fashion to make it go faster. Soak, make and shape your petals while your other flowers are baking.
Step One: Assemble your flowers
These are very similar to the flowers I made in my Wet Molded Leather Flowers tutorial, but are a little easier to make. Instead of 8 petals we will only be needing 5 for each flower. We will be making 30 flowers — 30 x 5 = 150 petals.
Cut out 5 petals from your leather for each flower. Mine were a cinched oval shape measuring approximately 5″ long x 2.5″ at the widest point. Rough up the edges of the petal with scissors to make them look more natural. Punch a hole in the center (I used the Martha Stewart Screw Punch). Soak the petals in the glue water solution for 15 seconds or so. I used Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue, but Elmer’s will work just fine. It is about 2 Tblspns of glue to 1 1/2 cups of hot water.
Dry your petals with paper towels.
Pinch them like an accordion.
Wring them out and twist them into a circle. Clip the ends with a clip and let them dry for a few minutes.
Unwrap your petals and let them hang on the condiment jars for a few minutes.
Step Two: Bake your flowers
Preheat your oven to 265° F. Scrunch the petals of your flower and insert upside down into small oven-safe saucer, making sure that the toothpick keeps the holes in the middle of the petals in line (see left flower in picture). Bake for 5 minutes or so. Take your flower out and mold the petals to your liking. Place it upright in a different slightly larger saucer/bowl (see right flower in picture). Bake for another 5 minutes or so. Doing this switch helps to bake both the top and the bottom of the flower.
Take the flowers out and let them cool upside down until you are ready to attach them to the bag.
Step Three: Adhere flowers to your bag
Using tailor’s chalk and a ruler, mark where you want your flowers to go.
Carefully punch your holes where you want them on one side of the bag. Put the foam beneath the two layers of the bag and MAKE SURE NOT TO PUNCH THROUGH BOTH SIDES OF THE BAG. If you punch through both, you will have holes on the other side of your bag — you do not want that. Once you have your holes, place the rivet pieces on both your flower and the bag hole, as pictured. The piece with the stem goes through the holes on the flower. The piece with the hole goes through that hole on the bag.
Insert the flower with rivet into the hole with rivet. Using your mallet, CAREFULLY hammer the rivet. It is best if you can do it with one good hit rather than a whole bunch of little hits. I emphasize “carefully” because I actually wasn’t so careful myself. I ended up smashing my middle finger with all of my force using the large mallet. See picture. You don’t want that to happen to you. It hurts. A lot. I now have a number of defrosted frozen vegetables that I need to cook for dinner. BTW, frozen vegetables feel great on smashed fingers.
Step Four: Enjoy your new bag!
After all that hard work you are sure to appreciate your new piece of art. Enjoy!