How-To: Add Chains to Your Handbags

Craft & Design

By Sonya Nimri
Chains and leather have always been a classic combination. So what to do when you have a plain-Jane purse that needs a little kick and lots of broken necklaces lying around? A merger is in order! Here I took two humdrum purses and made them a little more eye-catching with a bit of vintage and new chain. It was a simple project that took but a few hours, and as you can see – what a difference!

Chainpurse Tools

Chaining Your Handbag


20 feet various chain I had scraps of old necklaces and a bunch of spools of odds and ends. Don’t be afraid of using too much chain. The good news is that it is totally reusable on something else if you change your mind.
12-15 jump hoops I had a few large ones, but mostly 5 mm
1 large safety pin, the one I used was from a kilt; you could also use an awl
Round-nose pliers
Chain cutters
Leather or suede purse


Chainpurse Step1
Step 1: Make a hole in the side of your purse with a large pin or awl. Attach a chain horizontally along the top of the purse with a jump hoop at each side equal distance from the top.
Note: I started on the edge of the front of the purse, but found for the later holes that the piping was easier to puncture so continued there.
Chainpurse Step2
Step 2: Run a sturdy chain the length of your purse vertically through the loop and pull it along the side seam of the purse.
Chainpurse Step3
Step 3: Attach a variety of chain every couple of hoops to the vertical chain. The chain should be at least the width of the purse, some a couple of inches longer so they drape at different lengths.
Chainpurse Step4
Step 4: Secure the vertical chain with jump hoops to the piping every few loops so it stays straight.
Chainpurse Step5
Step 5: Add the last loop of the vertical chain to the bottom edge of the piping. Attach the other loose ends of the chain to the top of the other side of the purse with a large jump hoop.
Chainpurse Step6
Step 6: Braid and tangle the chain bit. I had my assistant do it for me since he is very good at tangling things.
Chainpurse Step7
Step 7: Add various chains and attach with jump hoops where needed so that it drapes properly.
Chain Handbag Final
Enjoy your old handbag that’s now made-up just like new!

Chaining a Wristlet or Small Bag


20 feet various chain
12-15 jump hoops
1 large safety pin
Round-nose pliers
Chain cutters

2 flathead pins
Wristlet or small bag


Chainpouch Step1
Step 1: Puncture the top edge of the side of your pouch with your safety pin or an awl.
Chainpouch Step2
Step 2: Run a straight pin loaded up with four large chains. Make a pig tail around the pin and trim the excess wire. Repeat to the other side.
Chainpouch Step3
Step 3: Along the handle of the wristlet, poke holes and attach chain using jump hoops to secure the chain in place every 5 or 6 links.
Chain Pouch Final
Now your wristlet is ready for an evening out!
About the Author:
Author Sonya Nimri
Sonya Nimri lives and crafts in a little house in Venice Beach, Calif. She is the author of two books: Beadalicious and Just for the Frill of It. Visit her at for lots of project ideas.

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