Help me make this Britney Spears backpack less Britney
April 21, 2014 5:36 AM   Subscribe

I want to upcycle this glittery pink Britney Spears backpack into a more grown up bag. Preferably black. Does anyone have suggestions? Images inside.

I found a really old backpack of mine that I must have never used because it's in perfect condition. The backpack itself is really sturdy. I'm not sure what it's made out of. It's not cloth, but the material is very firm.

Here is the bag:

I'd like to upcycle it into a more usable day bag for myself. The easiest way would probably be to stitch something over the Britney Spears logo but then I'd still be left with a glittery pink backpack, which I mean, I know bright colors are in but it's not really my thing. Any tips on how to make it black? Spray paint (somehow I feel like this is a bad idea)? I'm open to any other suggestions to make it less teeny bopper, even if it means I can't get rid of all the pink.
posted by bluelight to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Google "fabric spray paint." There is spray paint specifically for fabrics.
posted by amro at 5:43 AM on April 21, 2014

Can't tell the material either -- take the bag to a cobbler, see what your options might be for overdyeing it, and that would cover up the logo as well. (Full disclosure: yes, spray paint for fabric exists, but if I tried to do this project at home I'd ruin the zipper.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:46 AM on April 21, 2014

As another possibility, maybe a local seamstress or cobbler in your area would have the tools to stitch some actual fabric over it; that'd give you the best-looking, strongest result.
posted by limeonaire at 5:47 AM on April 21, 2014

Is it neoprene? A friend of mine in middle school had that backpack and it's a neopreney sort of feeling material.
posted by phunniemee at 5:57 AM on April 21, 2014

Could you donate it to a charity shop and pick up a plainer one for yourself whilst there? It might be cheaper than the materials needed to transform this one!
posted by humph at 6:08 AM on April 21, 2014

Maybe it's neoprene? I don't actually know what that is. If it is neoprene, can I treat it somehow?

The reason why I'd rather try and use this instead of donating it to charity and picking up a new one is because this is literally the (almost) perfect bag for me. It's the right size, fit, weight and it's in pristine condition. Everything about it is great except the logo and color. The color may be forgivable. Maybe. If I can somehow spruce the rest of it up.

My local seamstress may be my grandmother. I am going to ask her! In the meantime, please keep giving me suggestions!
posted by bluelight at 6:13 AM on April 21, 2014

How about rit dye and a bucket of water? Unless its plastic coated it should take dye OK. You may have to do it a few times... And then once its dyed you can deal with the Britney logo.

I do love it as is though.... You could totally pull that off.
posted by chasles at 6:16 AM on April 21, 2014

Dyeing it probably isn't going to eliminate the logo. Nor will using a fabric spray. The logo looks to be screen-printed. It will absorb any dye/paint differently than the fabric will, leaving it visible. Heck, it's entirely possible/probable that any dye or paint may just roll off the logo, leaving you with a white BS logo on a black bag.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 AM on April 21, 2014

Update: I think it is neoprene. It's waterproof.
posted by bluelight at 7:06 AM on April 21, 2014

As far as the logo is concerned, perhaps you could find a patch to have sewn over it once you have dealt with the color. Or a fabric in a coordinating color that you could cut into a silhouette appliqué of something you like (bird, cat, flower, cows, whatever you're in to).
posted by MayNicholas at 7:11 AM on April 21, 2014

Looks like neoprene to me as well. Neoprene is rubber essentially, and very hard to dye. I think your best option is to think embellishments. What would you like?

A plainer version (I would use pieces of black neoprene to create that effect. If you use bigger/more pieces, there only would be a bit of pink visible)
A bit more bohemian

And then we're getting into the more daring territory, not sure what you'd like, since you mentioned a plain black backpack as your preferred outcome. I however, like this wing idea. It would cover up the logo and make the pink backpack a statement piece.

Or how about studs? Placed closer together, they could cover up the logo or even a good portion of the backpack.

Another option is to use a products like this one, that is designed to fix ripped neoprene. You could try mixing in some pigments and covering up the logo at least.

I just looked around the web for a minute and it seems like people are making their own mermaid tails with neoprene, which they then paint. Here is one website. They will certainly have more info on paints and durability.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:12 AM on April 21, 2014

Search Pinterest for embellished backpack. There's one with some lace overlay. Using black lace panels or some other see-through black fabric would look good. Doesn't have to be a feminine lacey look.
posted by raisingsand at 7:32 AM on April 21, 2014

I'd see about using a razor blade or fine sandpaper to remove the logo if it is screen printed. If it is embroidered, try clipping the threads and pulling them out. Either way, the area will look a bit different then the rest of the bag. If it is too ugly, I'd cover it with a black rectangle of fabric or paint. Once the logo is gone, the bag should seem less garish.

A seamstress might also be able to replace the straps with black webbing or fabric.

Since it is rubber or rubbery - paint could be a good idea if you can get it to stick. But then you have the possibility of it rubbing or flaking off, especially on the parts that get lots of friction. If you go with paint, cover the zipper and other metal parts with tape before you apply the paint, even if you are sponging or brushing it on.
posted by soelo at 7:43 AM on April 21, 2014

If you like the look of studs placed close together, you can save yourself substantial headaches and give yourself additional background coverage by mounting the studs on ribbon and then attaching the ribbon to the backpack (also saves having to figure out some kind of lining inside the backpack to keep things from catching on the prongs of the studs). I can't figure out the right search terms to see if there's a tutorial online, but I'd be happy to provide more detail by MeMail if you're interested.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:54 AM on April 21, 2014

If it were me, I'd stitch stripes of black ribbon or black fabric onto it, just the same size as the logo. You could even stitch a ribbon or strips of canvas the other direction and create a weave, letting some of the pink peek through if you want.
posted by Gucky at 1:13 PM on April 21, 2014

Sorry to be a big killjoy, but the easiest way is really to look for a plainer backpack of the same size and fit.

Dyeing it is begging for dye to be transferred to your clothes or skin.

Paint is likely to flake off because a backpack is going to be subjected to pressure and stress from so many different directions. Same thing goes the glue for anything glued on.

Sewing on neoprene is really tough, whether by hand or by machine. You'll need a heavy, (consistently) sharp needle and heavy-duty thread. And even then the finished result might look rougher than you expect.
posted by desuetude at 2:32 PM on April 21, 2014

Have you checked to see if this is (or might soon become) collectible? Could eBay it and buy something nice with the cashmonies.
posted by Groot at 1:35 PM on February 10, 2015

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