Giving a Makeover to Second Hand Bags with Acrylic Leather Paint

Giving a Makeover to Second Hand Bags with Acrylic Leather Paint

Even though I don’t carry a clutch very often, I was drawn to this thrift store purse. The interior was clean, the magnetic clasp worked, and the price was definitely right. BUT – I wasn’t thrilled about the color (off white). That’s when I wondered if I could paint it. Was painting a purse even a thing? Could it be done?

Painting a purse with leather paint for second hand bags from the thrift store

A little internet research revealed that there was, in fact, specialty leather paint on the market. My clutch wasn’t real leather, but I decided to try painting it with acrylic leather paint nonetheless.

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Painting a Purse with Acrylic Leather Paint

Before getting started, I purchased the following items for my handbag refresh project:

First, I wiped down the exterior of the clutch to remove any dust or dirt. Then, I brushed on the leather preparer. This is supposed to break down the original sealant to help the acrylic leather paint adhere better.

Preparing the second hand bags to be painted with Angelus leather paint or Angelus shoe paint

I purchased the Angelus leather paint in “Blue Turquoise” to really give my clutch a new identity. I wear a lot of black when I go out on the town, but I love to carry a brightly colored purse to offset my outfit.

Angelus leather paint in blue turquoise on the second hand bags or thrift store purses

Using a regular craft brush (about ½” wide) and long strokes, I began painting the purse.

And let me tell you, the coverage of the Angelus leather paint was amazing!

Painting a purse with acrylic leather paint or Angelus shoe paint to give a fresh new look

Seriously, though – this is just a single coat of Angelus shoe paint or Angelus leather paint. It’s completely opaque!

Angelus shoe paint is perfect for painting a purse from the thrift store or preloved handbags

I finished the first coat of acrylic leather paint and allowed it to dry overnight.

Allowing the acrylic leather paint to dry on second hand bags or preloved handbags

Unrecognizable, right??

I did the same thing the next day- added a full second coat and left it to dry overnight.

After that, I used the acrylic finisher in satin and that was it! My thrift store clutch looked ENTIRELY DIFFERENT!

Using an acrylic finisher in satin over the Angelus leather paint on preloved handbags

This time, I used a craft sponge brush to apply a really thin coat of the finisher- a cloth would have probably worked, too. And again…I let it dry overnight.

Refreshing Preloved Handbags or Second Hand Bags with Acrylic Leather Paint

To jazz it up even further, I attached a vintage enamel pin over the magnetic clasp. Since this was a faux leather, $0.79 clutch, I didn’t mind making holes for the brooch.

Can you even handle how amazing it looks?

Painting a purse or second hand bags with acrylic leather paint to refresh and refashion with a makeover

How cool is that? I’m so bewitched by this makeover that I definitely want to try another project. Maybe I’ll do another purse, or I could try it on leather shoes, too.

Also – in the time since I published this post abut painting a purse, other brands have come out with acrylic leather paint. I haven’t tried any of them (such as Stylin Paint by Decoart), but would love to hear from you if you have!

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for second hand bags, then you may also be interested in this hip bag from a thrift store purse, too!

How to refashion a thrift store purse into a hip bag or bum bag to use as best travel purse

And here’s a fun upcycling idea for a thrift store tote bag, as well!

How to repurpose a framed cross stitch or counted cross stitch into a reusable shopping bag or burlap bag

Craft on!


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  1. It looks nicer than the original color! Good Job!

  2. Wow! That is so awesome! I looked for a purse in a particular color for my daughters formal, but couldn’t find one. This would have been perfect! I am pinning for future use. Thanks for trying it out and sharing it!

  3. What a great makeover! I didn’t know they made leather paint, and good to know it will work on fake leather too. Pinned in case I ever run into a thrift store purse with potential and need to remember this project 🙂

  4. I had no idea there was such a thing as leather paint…you are very creative! Hopped over from the Vintage Inspiration Party…

  5. nikkifrankhamilton says

    The change is incredible! The best $.79 clutch ever. The color is amazing. Hopefully you carry it now. I guess that perhaps you put it on the table or in your lap? I have the same reasoning for not carrying the one I have.

  6. Jann Olson says

    This is so darn cute. Love the color! I would never have thought to paint it. The added flower is the icing on the cake! Thanks for sharing with Share Your Cup.

  7. ashandcrafts says

    Hello there! Stopping by from the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. It looks better than before! I love the color you chose.

  8. I love these lively colors!

    Thanks for linking up this week:)
    Mila (Idea Box)

  9. Adding clutches to my thrift store list for next week! I love what you did with plain clutch. So much fun!

    Pinning and sharing! Thanks so much for sharing on Show Me Saturday!

  10. WOW! I had no idea you could paint something like this! Amazing!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to link up with us over at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again this Friday! Feel free to bring a friend 🙂

  11. Gorgeous!

  12. Joy @ Yesterfood says

    N-I-I-C-E!!! Love this! I’m like Ashley- I’m going to start looking for clutches now (just as soon as I research what you do with them at a restaurant- I don’t know, either!). Thanks for introducing us to leather paint, and for sharing it with us at Treasure Box Tuesday! Pinned! 🙂

  13. This is awesome! I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good deal, and this just beats it all! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as leather paint. You did an excellent job!

    I’m stopping by from the Friday Favorites linkup. I’d also like to invite you to join the High Five for Friday linkup I co-host every week. It goes live at 7 am eastern time on Friday mornings:)


  14. LOVE LOVE this! I have some purses that need a lift! I am so doing this, Sarah you are so creative! Thank you so much for sharing this on Making Memories Mondays! Hope to see you back Sun night 9PM EST! 🙂

  15. I didn’t know you could paint leather! Your clutch turned out beautiful. I’m going to keep my eyes open the next time I go to the thrift store to see if I can find a clutch in good shape and then give painting it a whirl. Thanks for sharing at my Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link party. I really appreciate your participation!

  16. Such a cute idea!

    I would love for you to share this on my FB Group:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  17. Pretty awesome indeed! I never knew there was such a thing as leather paint but glad to know now. Visiting from Inspiration Galore party.

  18. Janet johnson says

    Years ago I tried using leather paint but it didn’t work out very well. It cracked and peeled a bit here and there. I love to know if yours lasts better than mine did. I love the way your clutch turned out. Beautiful color.

  19. Sigalit Hirsch says

    I keep painting my Prada bag with acrylic paints and for the third time it started peeling and cracking how could I make the color stick? Why won’t it stick I tried cleaning it drying it painting in layers nothing it ends up peeling off

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Are you using basic acrylic paint? Or the paint that is especially made for leather (and remains flexible after drying)?


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