Turning a Handbag into a Camera Bag | Upcycling Accessories | DIY Handbag Conversion Hack

When I’m not painting old furniture or scouring Craigslist for my next good find, I make my living as a wedding photographer. Until somewhat recently, one of the biggest problems for female photographers was finding a stylish camera bag to carry our lenses and accessories. There are some hip and convenient versions of your standard compartment/lens bags out there now. Kelly Moore Bags, Shootsacs, and Epiphanie are just a few of the companies offering fashionable camera bags.

We own a Shootsac, which Jvee has stolen from me and made his own. I think it’s a great bag for both men and women but I found the pockets are a little too snug for me to be able to quickly grab what I need sometimes. I thought about purchasing one of the other brands out there but wasn’t comfortable spending another $100-$250 on a camera bag I might not like. I took a trip to Ross this week to check out the handbag selection and found a bag I thought would work perfectly. The bag has compartments, zippered pockets, a flat bottom, closeable flap, durable/water-proof material, and a cross-body strap that falls at my hip. Perfect! Except there wasn’t padded compartments to separate lenses and hold my camera body for safe and easy access while shooting. Hmmm…could I do a handbag hack? I bought the bag anyway, $18…score!

I turned the bag inside-out and added 2 strips of Velcro on each side (top and bottom). I used the measurements of my existing compartment separators to determine how far apart to space the Velcro. The existing separators had the hook side of the Velcro already so I put the soft side onto the bag. I should mention I bought my Velcro prior to purchasing the bag. I meant to get black but somehow got distracted in my hurriedness and ended up leaving the store with white. Oh well. Still works. I’ll change it out later maybe.

Flipped the bag right-side-out and popped in the separators where I wanted them. After 24 hours, the Velcro adhesive becomes very durable and stays in place even when adjusting the placement of the padded panels.

Here it is! Holds 3 lenses w/hoods, a camera body w/grip, flash, and memory cards. Or, 5 lenses w/hoods, a flash, and memory cards without the camera. So comfortable and accessible! Can’t wait to try it out this weekend!


2 thoughts on “Turning a Handbag into a Camera Bag | Upcycling Accessories | DIY Handbag Conversion Hack

  1. Thanks Danielle! I never thought to look up the project to see how others have done it but I wanted a no-sew conversion with minimal fuss. I should probably note for readers that this is just a shooting bag, NOT a storage bag.

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