Recycled Magazine Handbag

Recycled Magazine Handbag

This particular pattern uses National Geographic magazine but any recycled magazine will work to make your own handbag.

What you need

Therm-o-web – matte or glossy finish
Neutral color thread
Cording or ribbon for purse handle
Grommets or large eyelets
National Geographic magazine
Craft knife
Sewing machine


Cut out pages from National Geographic very carefully. You will need 2 large pieces for the front and back, 2 for the sides, and 1 for the bottom. Your pieces will be:

9-1/2″ by 6″ – (24cm x 15cm) 2 pieces for front and back of bag 9-1/2″ by 3″ (24cm x 7.5cm) – 2 pieces for sides of bag 6″ by 3″ (15cm x 7.5cm)- 1 piece for bottom of bag

Attach the Therm-O-Web to your pattern pieces by following the manufacturers directions. Have about 1″ (2.5cm) extra of Therm-O-Web on each side of your piece. This makes it easier to line all your pattern pieces up for sewing. Have your front panel face up. Carefully line up both of the sides, one at a time and sew. Attach the back panel the same way by lining up the edges and sewing.

Now comes the hard part. Line up your bottom even with the 4 panels of the purse that you have already sewed. If one side is a little long or wide, trim it to fit. I know that it is awkward but do the best you can by sewing up the bottom, one side at a time. You may need to bend the bag a little but sew as straight as possible.

Measure out where the grommets (or eyelets) will go on the sides of your bag. Install according to manufacturers directions. Use either a ribbon or cording as a handle and tie this off inside the purse.


To make the bag stronger, simply reinforce all 4 panels with additional National Geographic pages. Use Therm-o-Web on each of these. Place the matching sides together and they will stick to each other. For the handle, you could use webbing. Place the webbing between the sheets of magazine paper on each side of your bag. If you want fabric lining, just measure out the material about 1/2″ longer and wider on each side. Fold these sides down and glue the fabric on the paper on all 4 sides.

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  1. Wooow there are some people here who really need to gain some intelligence: it’s NOT that hard to buy a different magazine to work with, or to strengthen the paper more, etc.

    And people who don’t care about sounding mean and don’t provide why they don’t like it beyond ‘I wouldn’t use it’, guess what – that’s called an invalid argument, AKA people who use the internet and know a little bit about philosophy who have seen this post are laughing at you right now. 😉

  2. Ok… so i like the idea but the way it looks is just to tacky. maybe if you made it more colorful. But teh idea is a very good one… just not my style and wouldnt be my first choice.

  3. It’s an idea. Take it or leave it. Keep your rude comments to yourselves. OR better yet, submit a project and let others tell you how much they don’t like your ideas.

  4. WOW! Kindness goes a long way! If you don’t care for an idea and just chalk it up to ‘not my style’ and move on. Ideas are for sparking your creative juices and making an item your own.
    The people submitting are only trying to inspire others!

  5. It’s a great idea…. in theory. Doesn’t look like it turned out so well though.

  6. Yuck! I am not a person who is big in fashion but I would not like to be walking in a mall with it around and people starring at me!!
    Please come up with some more good ideas!

  7. craft_gurl89 says

    You could sell these. just make them more vibrant and colorful. maybe even vintage.

  8. srry just don’t like it

  9. super-becky says

    it would be really nice but the picture turns me off

  10. this isn’t tacky- you could try using bright ribbons for the handles, and vintage magazines- this bat is something you would’t be able to buy on the high street!

  11. This could be a great way to make gift bags for the holidays!

  12. cute idea but instead of using earth magaziens use teen voge or 17 mags,, way more cuter!

  13. wow thats ugly… people will do anything for the earth!

  14. it’s ugly!! i love the earh but this a big no no. if anyone makes it then you have bad taste!!!!! if i sound mean then good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. it looks really tacky… REALLY taky

  16. well done

  17. Great idea. You go girl!

  18. I’ve made these before and love them. Something to make them more stable is to make them out of cardbord boxes, ex Girl Guide Cookie boxes.
    If you make them out of larger mewspapers they make great beach bags, just make sure the paper is completly cover

  19. looks good but would have been better if u got the newspaper printed on to some recycled fabric

  20. Cute idea and I think that you are being a little harsh!!


  21. not a bad idea– maybe make stronger with clear duct tape as well/?

  22. I’m not going to make the purse, but this project is helping me to figure out how to make a wallet w/ an old newspaper.

  23. rude people

  24. p3destrian says

    hmm. not good at all, sorry

  25. Get over it..This makes a cute purse, friend made one. I wish you had more pictures showing us each step in making it. Thanks LM

  26. THese are awesome..i made a bunch, sold a bunch and still making them!

  27. You can also use cool or kitchy-looking advertisements. That’s what I did with my magazine purse; I made it all out of 80’s food ads from an old Woman’s Day magazine. Oh, and cover each side and the bottom with vinyl sheeting to make it stronger.

  28. very good idea

  29. A fashion magazine would make a great bag. If you’re worried about stability, why not pick up a paper bag and just glue the magazine pages on. You still keep the look of the project without sacraficing stability.

  30. I love it!

  31. I do like the idea; I’ve seen bags made out of paper before. But there don’t seem to be any instruction to seal it..?

  32. DisneyDancer1986 says

    Geeze, people, you can use other materials. It’s YOUR bag/project. There are no laws or unwritten rules saying you HAVE to use the materials listed. I like the idea of the project.

  33. Might be pretty if you used wallpaper, which would also make it more stable. Don’t think the bag could be used as is. I can’t imaginr putting anything in the bag that I actully wanted to arrive where I’m going.

  34. I may not car for the national g, It might look better with another mag as you said.

  35. This craft is not the quality craft project that i am used to from this site. I would’nt make this or would I ask anyone else to.

  36. It’s not the the quality crafting that I’m used to from this site.

  37. Crazy4Chocolate says

    This is ugly and not very stable. Sorry if I sound mean but I just don’t like it.

What do you think of this project? Let us know!