leather cosmetics bag

i made this leather pouch for fun, and then my mom suggested it would make a perfect mother’s day gift for my grandmas! such a good idea, and i’m already planning another one 🙂 funny story though, my mom was so proud of my professional looking pouch that she showed a picture to my grandma, who showed it to my grandpa. turns out he loves leather bags like this (even with the pink flowers), and wanted to buy it from me. this sparked good memories of how supportive my family has always been of my crafts. i remember starting a “business” with my brother in grade 2, where i “sold” hand drawn cards to my grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and my parents were the first customers to buy my font. i never keep the money, but i’m so grateful for the show of support. now that i know my grandpa loves leather goods, i’m planning to make some bags and wallets for his 80th birthday later this year!

i had fun experimenting with block printing and leather on this cute cosmetics sized bag. i carved a stamp out of a design i found in one of my craft books and used permanent ink pads from my scrap booking phase to add some pink flowers to the beige leather i had. i think the colour contrasts well, and adds some nice interest to the otherwise plain bag. it did take over 24 hours for the ink to set on the leather, and the design is a bit splotchy. for the future, i would let the ink set for about 6 hours, then take a paintbrush and go over the design to spread out the little beads of ink that form over the leather. this way, the design is much more even and dries faster.

for the leather pouch, i made a basic pouch without the lining. i love that i don’t have finish seams on leather – it makes the process go so much faster! i tested out my new wash-away tape, roller foot, and mallet, and it was so helpful! normally, i try to stay away from buying excessive tools and make do with what i have, but with leather, having the rights tools is crucial to a smooth sew. this project involved much less frustration, unpicking, and finagling than my first attempt with leather, and i’m glad i invested in proper tools. it’s difficult to forgo the frugal mindset my parents have drilled into me, but sometimes it’s well worth it.

looked through my ribbon stash, and i found the softest blush pink velvet ribbon to complete the look! already planning many more variations of this pouch using some leather my dad’s co-worker gave me from her old couch. feels good to recycle materials.

canvas quote bag

a family friend J on a recent trip introduced me to sugarboo & co, a home goods company, telling me that one of her friends really really wanted a canvas zip bag from here as a present. J also said she wanted this pouch, shown below, with this quote, but didn’t buy it.

the pouch is $16. it’s 9×7, quote on one side only, metal zip, leather pull tap, boxed corners, and canvas inside. do you know how ridiculously simple that it to make? let me tell you – it’s an hour or less type of project.

i decided to make her one. i got out my alphabet stamps and fabric ink and i stamped the quote. this took the longest amount of time, because stamping each individual letter is a little time consuming, but after that, making the pouch was a breeze. i already had a lot of this natural canvas in my stash leftover from my making backpack, and i lined the pouch with some blue green mosaic canvas i had bought on clearance at joann’s. i’m also a zipper hoarder so i already had a lot of metal zips. i didn’t have a 9 inch one though, which was a bit of a bummer, so i sized up and made her pouch 10×8 inches. i boxed the corners by cutting 0.75×0.75 inch squares out of the bottom of each piece. i used my new point turner to poke out the corners and voila! a lovely little pouch perfect for traveling and camping!

original from sugarboo & co

then, because i already had all the materials out, i went ahead and cut and stamped another pouch for myself. i absolutely love my butterfly stamp on this natural canvas fabric! and the quote is a good reminder for me too.

i think the cool thing about this pouch is that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. i used to make my pouches very precisely and use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out all the pieces, but that is a very time consuming process. now, i just eyeball it because through all my years of experience, i’ve gotten really good at cutting straight lines. i also love the wrinkles on the canvas that i didn’t iron out and the lopsided stamping. i think that adds a lot of character and a vintage look to my bags that i really enjoy!

butterfly stamp

was inspired by this butterfly sticker book my friend L rediscovered for me when she was going through my sticker drawer. i was journaling, and i needed a stamp to fill a space, so because i’m sick and i’m unable to do much else, i decided to make one. it was actually very quick to carve once i drew the design on tracing paper and transferred it to an old eraser of mine, and now i have a lovely, whimsical stamp that i will definitely be using on everything from now on! i really love stamp carving and stamping and journaling!!

laser cut rubber stamps

my friend R and i played with the laser cutter in the woodshop at our school and made our own rubber stamps! our engineering teacher had some old laser cuttable rubber lying around, and let us experiment with it. we had to play around with the settings and run the process multiple times to finally get a good result. after we figured things out though, we were flying through the process (3 stamps in 1.5 hours) and taking requests from many of our teachers. i’m still amazed at how professional these stamps look and how well they work!

there are four overall steps to the process. first is designing the stamp and preparing the design in illustrator. second is cutting out the stamp on the laser cutter. third is reversing the design and cutting out the wood backing for the stamp. and fourth is gluing all the pieces together. that’s a rough summary, so here’s a more detailed look at our process in case i ever forget and need to look at it again:

how to make personalized stamps:


  1. iPad and apple pencil
  2. adobe illustrator
  3. rubber and foam
  4. laser cutter
  5. wood
  6. glue adhesive

this example is walking you through our process of creating some stamps for our maths teacher to make grading easier. we had her write what she wanted on a stamp in procreate on my iPad with the apple pencil. we saved the file as a .png and brought it into illustrator, making the document the same size as the stamp would be. next, we prepared the lettering for the laser cutter program. we had to vectorize the lettering using image trace, make the lettering white, add a black rectangle behind the lettering, and add an outline of a rectangle in red around the black rectangle. *note: the red rectangle, in with point size .001, is very important, because that’s the area the laser cutter will cut out instead of raster! i kept forgetting this step lol. and finally, reverse the lettering. make sure everything is sized correctly and then send to the laser cutter program.

so we opened up the document we prepared in illustrator on our school’s computer. then we adjusted the settings to raster then vector. it took a while to find the right settings, but now we’ve found a set that works, and if you zoom in closely, you can make it out. i feel like every laser cutter is different though.

then we position our rubber, run the job perimeter, and print away! here are some crappy shots of the laser cutter in progress. also, the rubber stinks when you take it out, even with the blowers on, and there’s a lot of white powder, so be careful of spreading that everywhere!

once you’ve cut out the rubber, it’s time to cut out the wood backing of the stamp. we pulled up illustrator again and reversed everything we had just done so it looks like the images below. again, don’t forget the red rectangle!

you’ll need to readjust the laser cutter to the height of the wood.

here are the settings we used, make sure it is raster then vector again. and cut!

once you have all your pieces cut out, it’s time to assemble the stamp. take some of your foam and cut them to the same size as the rubber pieces. then, take strong adhesive, we used a spray one, and over a covered, well-ventilated surface, spray the backs of the rubber and foam and attach them to each other. then, spray the back of the foam and the back of the wood, make sure the pieces are oriented correctly, and stick them together.

and that’s a wrap! here’s what the final stamps look like.

some things to remember: don’t make the design too thin or else the stamp won’t stamp clearly. make the red rectangle around the wood piece a little larger than your actual stamp. and have some really good ventilation when working with the rubber!! we may have accidentally stank up the woodshop… all in all, these are really fun to make, and teachers love them as gifts!