Computer Bag Refresh
January 6, 2017 5:01 PM   Subscribe

So I own this bag. I've had it for over a year and it has served me well. But let's be honest, it's not that cool or hip. I was thinking of buying a new one. But maybe this one can be saved.Any ideas on how to give it a new look without just sticking pins and/or stickers on it? The only criteria I have is that it has to be cheaper than buying a cool bag (i.e. $50+) and it can be done in a weekend.
posted by chartreuse to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total)
You could sew on some appliqu├ęs of your choice. I wouldn't do iron on because it would probably melt the bag fabric, but you can sew them on around the outside using a big needle and matching thread. You can sew on the iron on ones too.
posted by cabingirl at 5:23 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh and you might want to use a thimble when pushing the needle through.
posted by cabingirl at 5:25 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Embroider it. Get some embroidery thread, a needles, trace a design, and go to town.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:40 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could replace the strap with something more interesting. Here is a pink one, just as an example (they also have blue, orange, etc.). There may be some funkier ones on etsy.
posted by gatorae at 6:13 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lo-fi stencils spray painted on generic bags are always cool in my book, and you don't see too many around.

You can cut shapes by hand or print stencil designs or use a computer to stencilize photos or other images, etc.

You can also potentially save them so you can easily decorate other things too.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:14 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Put a bird on it!
Or not.
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:24 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could get a better strap. What kind depends on who you want to think it's "cool". There are ones designed for comfort. Prices seem to be all over the place.
posted by amtho at 6:48 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been people put buttons on bags.
posted by bunderful at 7:14 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could paint it. Acrylic paint will stick to almost anything, so grab some and go to town.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:07 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Have you thought about replacing the strap with an airplane seatbelt a la Chrome messenger bags? There's a neat diy tutorial here:
posted by Champagne Supernova at 9:59 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

It really depends on what you think is cool or hip. Me, I'd crochet a sleeve for the top flap with lots of exciting stitchwork and beading and stuff, and fasten it with internal buttons. But I get the feeling maybe bohemian granny chic isn't your style.

If you've got an old tshirt with a cool design on it that you like but you don't want to wear the shirt anymore, you could cut it out, sew around the edges (or use bias tape) so it lays flat and won't fray, and then attach to the bag. Maybe with big industrial looking buttons and button holes in the bias tape. You could use iron-on interfacing to stiffen the fabric and then use fabric glue, but with buttons you can switch things out if you want to. You could do this with any scrap of fabric that you like the look of, of course, and you could paint or dye something before applying it to the bag.

The strap would be very easy to switch out for a different one - maybe a color to match whatever you put on the flap. But you could also wrap the strap with different strips of material, like thin leather cord, colored cotton thread, thin rope. Do this on either end near the carabiners so it doesn't rub on your shoulders. Or you could make short strips of fabric the width of the strap and sew them directly on. I'm imagining maybe a faux leather with a pointed tip with a contrast thread, that'd look pretty cool imo.
posted by Mizu at 11:44 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

For inspiration:

Stenciled bags

Painted bags
posted by Michele in California at 11:44 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

I once worked with a dude who had written a manifesto in praise of tacos on his otherwise plain canvas bag. You could write something with a fabric marker, either an original composition or a selection from a book or somg lyrics.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 12:53 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fabric paint + stencil
You can go cheap and get the craft store stuff (even the dimensional paint style can be painted on thin with a brush) or go pricier and get screenprinting stuff like permaset.
For stencil ideas, try something geometric or a bicycle or glorious unicorn rampant.
posted by carrioncomfort at 11:06 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Great ideas, everyone! I have a lot to think about!
posted by chartreuse at 12:22 PM on January 7, 2017

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