Disney DIY: Mickey-fying a Used Handbag

4 Feb

I’m a bit of a handbag addict, and I’ve been craving a fix lately. My recent trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World triggered an obsession with the Disney Dooney & Bourke line (especially the Disneyland 55th anniversary collection), but my checkbook tells me no. So what’s a frugal girl to do? Hit up the thrift shops, peruse the craft table inventory at home, and throw something together that makes me smile.

Amusingly enough, I noticed on my last trip to Downtown Disney that plenty of the stores have psuedo-DIY style bags these days, with patches and pins. So it’s really like I have my own custom couture. Who’s following whose trends now, Disney?

I hit my favorite local thrift shop last week, the Garment District. In particular, I arrived early Saturday morning for the weekly inventory refresh at Dollar A Pound, where slumming suburbanites, urban resellers, and thrifty chicks like me wade through an amazing assortment of used clothes. If you go, you’ve gotta be there 9:00am sharp on Saturday morning; the new shipment is released at that time, and the best stuff is usually snapped up in the first 10 minutes or so. I honestly don’t bother going if I’m gonna be 15 minutes late.

I scored a cute little handbag, along with several sweaters, sweatshirts and jeans for myself, an LL Bean fleece for my kid, and a wool sweater for my spouse, all for less than the cost of a steak at Le Cellier. Serious wardrobe refresh.

And of course . . . back home, my craft table was well-stocked with Disney goodies from past trips, for embellishing my bag.


Mickey Mouse pin on the front, from a Parisian flea market in 2009

Mickey pin close-up

A better look at that Mickey

Sideview of handbag

View from the side: Note the Disneyland patch?

Disneyland patch

A closer look at the Disneyland patch

Cute patch, eh? I picked it up at Disneyland in 2006, at the gift shop near Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not intended to be a clothing patch; it’s one of the accessories that snaps onto those three-corner hats you can buy (are they still around?). Just grab an exacto knife, cut out the backing with the snap, and you’ve got something far more flexible for embellishing clothes and accessories.

Autopia license in handbag slot

And the final touch: An Autopia drivers license in the handbag's ID slot

Now, this is really just a 5-minute bling project I’ve displayed here. I’m still really proud of my Disney Couture jeans re-construction projects from a couple years ago, and a few other projects that relied heavily on those re-purposed patches from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Re-purposed Disney Couture jeans handbag

That re-purposed Disney Couture Snow White jeans handbag I'm so proud of

Snow White Disney Couture jeans handbag

I figure eventually I’ll probably pick up a Dooney & Bourke — I’ve got nothing against conspicuous consumption when the budget permits. I certainly do love my store-bought Disney bags. But there’s something special about knowing I cobbled something together with my own hands.

One Response to “Disney DIY: Mickey-fying a Used Handbag”

  1. Kellee February 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Wow, nice job Jennifer. That jeans bag is very creative.

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