Altered Cigar Box Purse

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By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”. 

There’s not a lot to like about smoking, given its effect on a person’s health, but when my friend Buddy gifted me with his empty cigar boxes, I was selfish enough to be glad he’d been a cigar smoker! They’ve been so much fun to work with I thought I’d share my techniques and ideas for turning a cigar box into a purse.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A cigar box, either the oval or rectangular kind
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Braid, lace, bits of trim, ribbon, old jewelry, etc.
  • 4 washers (mine are black plastic, but metal is fine)
  • About a yard of heavy cord 
  • Adhesives, glue gun, etc.

The first thing you’ll want to do is take off any labels that won’t be covered by fabric. Take a blow dryer, and blast that stream of hot air at the label, then gently peel the label off. It’s pretty easy to do, but be careful not to burn your fingers!

Measure the circumference and width of the cigar box and cut a piece of fabric about 1” (2.5cm) longer than the circumference and about 1/4” (.6cm) narrower than the width. Turn a very narrow hem on each end, and either glue or sew it. No need to hem the sides, as they’re going to be covered by trim. Wrap the box, gluing along the edges, and across the indentation where the lid is hinged, and turning the ends of the fabric piece to the inside of the box.

Cut two pieces of trim just the length of the box’s circumference. (You’ll want something like braid or velvet ribbon so that no glue shows through.) If you’re using a trim that will fray, run a line of glue across the underside of each end.

Glue the trim to the edges of the box, covering the edges of the fabric wrap completely.

It’s time now to do the handles. With the oval boxes, the lid hinge will be at the top of the purse; with the rectangular style, the hinge is at the bottom. Measure about an inch down from the top of the purse on each uncovered side, and drill or punch a hole large enough for the handle cord to pass through.

Cut a piece of cord about 36” (1m) long, and tape each end to keep it from unraveling while you work. Tie a knot as close to one end as you can, and thread on the first washer. From the inside of the cigar box, push the unknotted end through the hole you made, and pull through. Put a bit of glue all around the edges of the hole, inside and out, and thread on another washer, pulling the knot and both washers tight against the box. Thread on another washer, and run the other end of the cord through the other hole. Thread on the last washer. Knot the cord, put glue around the edges of the hole, and pull the knot and both washers flush. Trim off the taped ends of the cord close to the knots. Wipe off any excess glue, and hang the bag from a doorknob, to keep pressure on the knots and washers while the glue dries.

When the glue is dry, decorate your purse with lace, old jewelry, etc., covering any glue boo-boos. The oval boxes have a magnetic clasp built in; for a “regular” box, affix the clasp of your choice—a button and elastic loop will work well.

Front of the cigar purses

...and the back!

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About Anitra

Anitra Cameron had the good fortune to be born into a family where creativity ran rampant. Her father has authored several books and worked as a photographer and her mother hand-painted portraits. Anitra’s favorite crafts to make are: Jewelry (especially using buttons), collaged book marks, miniature cake stands, all from recycled materials. Anitra’s moto: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Live with that long enough and you’ll never want to throw anything away, so best to turn it into art! Anitra lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, where their combined family’s total seven children, and (so far) seventeen grandchildren. Recently Anitra became a great-grandmother of a darling little boy! You can find more of Anitra’s work at “Coffee Pot People”.

3 thoughts on “Altered Cigar Box Purse

  1. Pingback: Think Crafts Blog – Craft Ideas and Projects – CreateForLess … | My Singer Sewing Machines

  2. Brenda Pendergraft

    Very Cute Idea & I Love the Recycling aspect! I Love the White Flower Purse! I create Purses, too!

  3. Pingback: 32 Free Handbag Patterns

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