Fashion, My Creations, My Life in Watercolor, Recycling, Wearable Art

My Current Bag Painting Fever

Hello my dear readerships. There’s something about me that you might find surprising. I never liked hand bags or shoulder bags. I prefer carrying my stuff in a backpack, a messenger bag or a laptop bag. I have a few backpacks, one messenger bag (bought second hand), and a laptop bag which I got for free when I bough my PC. Whenever I go out to meet friends or go shopping, I just carry my phone and money with any of the two crossbody bags I have at home. That’s how sparse my bag collection was.

I am by no means thrifty but bags weren’t the kind I spent a lot of money on before. Last year when a member of my team Oilista Manila opened an online thrift store, I showed up at one of her live selling session to give my support and also because I was on the lookout for Christmas gifts. That live selling session was a trip down the rabbit hole!

I ended up buying a bunch of used bags which I gave as gifts last Christmas. I also purchased clothes to upgrade my sparse wardrobe (coz plenty of them no longer fit, ha!). Who knew live selling would be fun? The madness was so much similar to being in a store where plenty of people are snatching same stuff from each other coz they were on sale! Except this one is virtual and you get to bid via the comments section. My team member sells blouses of boutique quality at only Php 50 (about 1 USD) to Php 100, and bags at Php 150 (about 3 USD) to Php 250 (about 5 USD). The stuff were also of high quality! If you’re curious, her shop on Facebook is A to Z Boutique. She currently ships within the Philippines only.

bags from the thrift store
My second batch of bags. The one on the upper right is a Charles and Keith, the rest of them are Asian brands.

I attended another live selling session after the first one and ended up buying bags and clothes for myself (again). I couldn’t resist buying the bags because they were so cute (photo above) and without flaws. I scored really nice and branded ones too such as Dusto, Charles and Keith, Ttwn Bear, Gillivo, and Foxer. Except for Charles and Keith, the rest of these brands are Asian and of high quality PU leather material.

As fate would have it, the bags arrived around the same time that I was contemplating and almost convinced about buying my first set of acrylics. While watercolor is my first love, I cannot use the medium on different surfaces. They are also prone to degradation when exposed to sun and moisture which makes watercolor art kind of high maintenance. So after mulling it over for a few weeks, I finally decided to get a set of acrylic paints from The Oil Paint Store; and a few additional colors and gouache varnish from Art Caravan PH.

I then painted my first acrylic art on paper I pre-treated with gesso, a Hobbit door design, inspired by the movie, Lord of the Rings (video below).

Then, the idea of painting the same door came to me while I was looking at ways to improve my round Baobao crossbody bag from the thrift store. I honestly didn’t like the print on the bag (photo below) and the chain that came with it. I thought the Hobbit door design I painted on watercolor paper would really match the rounded shaped of the bag. I also love the movie and have been wanting to paint an art inspired by it.

Baobao round sling bag.

First thing I did was to purchase leather cleaning and conditioning balms from Lazada. I cleaned and moisturized all the bags from the thrifts store and allowed them to seat for a week. I then searched for a resin keychain of mine to accent the bag and replaced the chain with a leather strap from another bag.

I searched the net for tips on how I could paint the bag using acrylic. While there are leather paints more suited for the job per my cursory research, I find them to be too expensive, and the color choices limited for my whimsical style. So I decided to stick with acrylic since these are already on-hand.

I prepped the Baobao bag by first deglazing with nail polish remover which contains acetone and scrubbed the surface with 1000 grit sandpaper. I then painted white acrylic on the surface and drew hobbit door and foliage. Once happy with my sketch, I proceeded to paint using the acrylic and cheap brushes (video below). Thankfully, all the lesson in watercolor that I learned from my art masters made mixing and painting the colors easier for me. Once done with front part, I then decided to paint a round window thus, making the bag appear as if it’s a complete Hobbit house. Once my painting was completed (both sides), I added the strap and resin keychain back (photos below).

I also painted another bag – this one I plan to give to my sister as gift. I also used acrylic and now looking for ways to varnish it. She loves the outdoors and I would want her to be able to bring this bag without the art fading away because of the heat and moisture.

In the span of 10 days, I was able to finish these two bags. Painting them was so therapeutic for me that I am currently prepping the bags below for painting. I’m still contemplating what to draw on them but I am so looking forward to the coming weekends when I would be able to sit down and paint on them layer by layer. The semester has started so I am going to be so busy again during weekdays. Still, I’m glad I don’t need to buy canvass for now because I still have the bags to practice painting with acrylic on.

‘Til next time, folks.


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