Ever have the issue of wanting to take your big, DSLR camera with you, but don’t want to carry two bags? Want a bag that can fit your camera, your ipad/laptop, plus you’re other purse essentials…but can’t find one for less that $100+? Well, then this post is for you!! With just a few supplies & a little bit of time, you can transform your favorite purse or tote bag into a camera bag too by making you’re own padded camera bag insert!
This post is LONG overdue! In fact, I made this last July, right before leaving for our Disneyland and BlogHer trips! The inspiration came from Sara, the Clever Pink Pirate, and her DIY camera purse tote! I had long been eyeing JoTotes and Epiphanie Bags, but had a hard time deciding to shell out that kind of money if I wasn’t sure I would like the bag. So, when I saw Sara’s at an event just before BlogHer, I knew I had to make something similar! I bought a large black bag at TJ Maxx and, with the help of my mom (who has all the sewing skills), we came up with this great insert to put inside. 9 months later, it’s still awesome and it will be traveling with me to SNAP this week! The bag with the padded insert is perfect for conference traveling because I can fit my camera with an extra lens, wallet, iphone, business cards, pen, notepad, and laptop all inside!!!
DIY Padded Camera Bag Insert Tutorial
What you’ll need:
- 1-2 yards of your fabric of choice (amount depends on the size of the fabric & of your bag)
- 1″ High-Density Foam ( I used purchased by the yard at JoAnn’s or this would be great too: http://bit.ly/qtZwpC)
- Velcro (I didn’t measure the amount we used, but you’ll probably need about a yard)
- Sewing Machine
- Hot Glue (*Note: You could actually probably do this project completely no-sew if you wanted, or you could sew the whole thing. We did a mix of sewing & hot glue. 🙂 )
- First, decide how big you want your insert to be. Because I wanted to carry so much in my bag, I wanted an insert that didn’t take up the entire inside of the bag (and I wanted it to be a true insert and easily removable). Once you have a feel for your dimensions, then start cutting!
- Start out by cutting two equal-sized rectangles out of the foam (mine are 13″ x 6″).
- Then, you’ll need to cut your fabric to encase these foam rectangles. Make sure that you leave about an extra inch on each side, plus a little extra to attach the bottom. If you wrap the fabric around the foam, then you’ll only need to sew (or hot glue) the bottom & the sides. Plus, you’ll have no seam showing on the top. For the sides, stitch the fabric right along the point at which the foam stops and then around the outside edge (so the two fabric pieces close together). Basically you’ll then have an open case on the bottom with two approximately 1″ flaps on each side.
- Once your pockets are ready, you’ll need to add velcro. You’ll want to add strips of the loop (soft) side of the velcro to the flaps of one pocket. Then, on the opposing pocket flaps, add strips of the hook velcro. This way, you can attach your two foam rectangles together, giving you the basic insert shape. Then, you’ll also want to run two strips of velcro (a couple inches apart) along the length of each pouch (this is to attach your dividers to). Because the camera equipment might come into contact with some of this velcro, use only the loop (soft) side for this.
- Now, you’ll need to basically repeat steps #3 & #4 to make dividers for the insert. This will create the separate areas for the lenses & camera. You’ll cut two small pieces of foam (the same size). We modeled mine after the inserts in my “official” camera bag, so they ended up being 4.5″ x 3.5″ with an extra 1.5″ flap on top. You don’t need the extra flaps of fabric on the side for these. So, cut the fabric, leaving extra space for your top flap and just enough extra to close up the sides and bottom. For this, you’ll cut the foam so that there is an additional flap at the top and actually carve the foam down (so that the top 1.5″ isn’t as thick). Then, you’ll stitch right along the transition between the thick & thinner foam, creating padded flaps that the camera can be set on. Once all that is set, you’ll put hook velcro along each side of each divider.
- At this point, go ahead and stuff any pockets with foam that you haven’t already. You should have 4 total, but all open at the bottom. The easiest solution for this was just hot glue! 🙂
- Once everything is glued, then velcro the pieces together and you have an insert! 🙂 And, really, at this point you could technically stop if you wanted. It would look like this: I decided though that I wanted it to have a padded bottom as well! We had extra foam & some plain black fabric, so why not?! Just extra protection for the camera equipment!
- So, for the last step, we cut a piece of foam in that football shape to sit at the bottom of the insert. Then, we covered it with some plain black fabric, just hot gluing the edges. Since it wouldn’t be seen it didn’t need to have nice looking seams! 🙂 That’s it! Then you’ll have an awesome, padded camera insert to turn your favorite bag into something that can not only hold your “fancy” camera, but other goodies as well!
The beauty of an insert like this is that if you don’t plan on carrying your camera, you can just take the insert out! It’s been a great solution for me! 🙂 I can’t wait to take it with me to SNAP this week!