Ever since I was little, I've had this creative spirit. Instilled in me perhaps by my grandma who would utter "Casey Jo, we could make that," every time we walked by some trinket I fancied, I've always maintained this ideology that I could make just about anything.
I was reminded of this self-confidence recently when a Louis Vuitton purse kept popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. Might I add, a purse that I'd been admiring for quite some time. Man those targeted ads are good aren't they??
So back to the purse. After the third time or so that it danced across my feed, I thought to myself, "Casey, you could make that," referencing the graffiti-style typography depicted in this particular style of LV bag. You know what - I COULD make that! All it would take is a little brown bag, some paint, some brushes and maybe a little bit of practice beforehand but I really believed I could create my own Louis Vuitton purse just as good as the one that kept popping up on Instagram.
With a little gumption and a whole lot of optimism, I took myself over to the local consignment store, Freestyle Clothing Exchange, one day, in search of the perfect brown bag. Now mind you, I was open! Sure, I had images in mind, the ideal bag shape and size that I was looking for but I tried not to limit myself to particulars. While I mentioned optimism, I also knew that I may not find "THE" bag on my first try and that was okay too.
Well would you believe my surprise when I found the absolute PERFECT bag right there in front of me?! On my first try! It definitely wasn't the shape OR size that I envisioned but as I spent more time admiring this bag in my hands, I realized it was actually even better. It was larger than what I imagined but that gave me more surface area to splash the print across. It was a beautiful deep brown, faux leather with incredible structure which made it the perfect canvas for this first time purse painter. Not to mention the fact that it was $16!!!! That meant, if I completely destroyed it, at least it was only $16 down the drain. But - I was trying with all my might not to put that narrative in my head. No purse destroying here!
After claiming my perfect, faux leather brown purse it was time to get painting supplies. After doing a little bit of research it sounded like acrylic paints were going to be my best bet. I went to our local craft store, Michael's, and scoured the paint aisle for the perfect shade of...Well, whatever color I deemed perfect!
While the inspiration pictures were pink for the most part, I kind of wanted to venture off the beaten path and do something a little bit different. For that reason I picked up a muted lilac color and then also fell in love with a bubblegum pink that I just had to take home. After nabbing a set of four smaller, angled paint brushes, and a bottle of spray Mod Podge to seal my work, I was officially ready to begin!
*3 weeks later*
Remember when I mentioned trying not to let the narrative of destroying the bag enter my brain? Well...It did. And it stayed firmly planted right there in the old noggin for weeks. I fell even deeper in love with this purse and so I greatly feared destroying it. It was fine the way it was, why did I want to ruin it by painting all over it?!
I was also extremely intimidated by even starting the project. I wasn't sure if I wanted to create a stencil and paint the design on the bag that way or draw it out like block letters and then paint the design that way.
Either way, I came up with just about every excuse in the book NOT to paint this purse. The paints, the brushes, AND the purse sat in my room for weeks.
Until one weekend, this lingering desire I'd had for quite some time to create with my hands couldn't go unnoticed anymore. While I write every day, something I would definitely consider a form of creating, it just wasn't quenching my thirst to physically use my hands and create something. That's when it hit me - the purse!
I got out all my supplies, prepared the artist's area if you will, sat down and just went for it! I practiced my brush strokes on a small sticky note beforehand which helped me decide that the pink was definitely the better color and the smallest brush was so effortless to use it was almost like I was writing with a pencil or pen.
I started on the back side of the purse, not really for any reason other than it was the largest and simplest surface area which I thought would help. That way I could get all my practice out, master the design on the back and then have perfected my craft by the time I moved on to more difficult surface areas like the front and sides. Not only more difficult but more seen by an audience.
Even after just the first row of writing I was in love. I was texting a friend before I started, panicked at finally sinking my teeth in and she said to me "watch it be amazing," and friends, I don't like to toot my own horn but BEEP BEEP. It WAS AMAZING!!
I would say this purse took me roughly 15-20 hours total to complete. For context I painted the design on the back, two sides, one bottom, and the front which involved two separate flaps. I'm happy to say I didn't really use that much paint believe it or not. A little bit goes a long way with acrylic paints. I did however give it three coats to ensure there was no opacity and the bubblegum pink was as vibrant as I wanted it to be. I sealed the purse with a Mod Podge top coat which I actually brushed on instead of painting to give me more flexibility and ownership over the application process.
While I wish I could say painting this purse quenched my thirst to create with my hands, I think it's only ignited the desire even more. For now, I'll appreciate this work of art (there I go again, just tootin' away at that horn), while I think about my next project...Any ideas?