Jun 1, 2011

DIY rope bracelet from a J.Crew shopping bag!

I must confess, I love jcrew so much. I even love the bags! (Hate to throw them away.) Then it hit me: why not make a rope bracelet from the handles?

Here’s how I did it in just a few steps. (It took longer to write this up than it did to actually make it!)

First, remove the handles from the bag. Fold one of the handles in half and place it on your work surface, then place the second handle next to it so that the ends are lined up. Place a clothespin near the top. You’re going to use the clothespin to hold the handles together so that you can braid them, and the folded handle will make a loop so for your bracelet so you can hook it together. (My loop is about an inch long.)

Braid your bracelet, then use another clothespin to hold it in place.

Now for the only tricky bit. Remove the top clothespin near the loop, then wrap the piece that is hanging off to the side around it once loosely. Wrap around again, and this time tuck the extra piece under the first wrap. Add a dab of glue where it meets the bracelet and trim closely after the glue has dried. (I used fabri-tac – it holds really well and dries fast for the impatient like me.)

Here are some closeups of the knots so that you can see them better.

Now to finish it up, take the piece of the handle that you trimmed and knot it around the other end, then remove the clothespin. You can add a drop of glue under this knot before you tie it completely. (But I forgot and it seems to be holding up okay.)

Then you can tidy up and trim off to even things up.

To wear, just slip the big knot into the back. (You can loop the handle over it twice if you have room, it was a little big on me.)

That’s it! (The only problem? Now I want to make more for friends! Looks like I’ll have to do some more shopping at jcrew, oh darn.)

I think it’ll go great with all my striped shirts this summer — I have a major stripe obsession going on right now! Do you have one too? Join Holly over at decor8 for Stripe Mania Party! It’s all about bloggers wearing stripes, can’t wait to see who joins in the fun!



  • Lisa!!!! You are a genius!! Love the bracelet! Might have to do a little shopping at JCrew soon! ;)

  • Lisa, you are so clever! Love this fun idea and love seeing your picture with the bracelet on. . .so cute!
    Barb :) recently posted..Embellish Blog Challenge

  • Wow! That is so clever! Thanks for sharing such great instructions!

  • this is so cool and super fun, Lisa! you always come up with the most unexpected projects! love it! thanks for sharing! =)
    Alice W. recently posted..The Crafts Meow June Release Blog Hop

  • Oh my! I love it! [Remind me to show you the scrapbook albums I've made from fashion store bags sometime!]

    And thanks for the heads up on Stripe Mania! I have a serious fondness for all things striped.

    Julie :-)
    Julie Kirk recently posted..Tips for the Design Team-curious 5- Finding out about DT opportunities

  • You continue to AMAZE, Lisa – and how very “green” you are! This reminds me of all the macrame jewelry I made in the 1960′s. What a great time. Thanks for keeping us so inspired.
    Maureen Morton recently posted..Friend to Friend

  • Super fun! You are so cool!
    Kryssi recently posted..Paper Smooches FOLKal Points Word Up winner announced!

  • You’re so creative in every way! Love this! Looks hard..hehe….
    Tiffany recently posted..Shades of lavender

  • But, girl, what did you get at JCrew????!!!! :p The bracelet is super cute!
    JulieHRR recently posted..Yes- I will really be there! -

    • Julie my friend! I got a pair of capris, a t-shirt, a belt with chevrons on it! (!!), and a madras button down shirt (at long last!!) Love them all!!! :)

      Now I must go back for all the lovies that I left behind :)

  • Lisa, you truly are crafty! I love the bracelet and the way you are able to re-use something
    from the bag!!

  • [...] start calling me The Bag Lady after this, but I just can’t help upcycle bags. Check out this bracelet that I made from J.Crew bag handles, and this card from a Paper Source bag. Ha [...]

  • Lisa, I always love visiting your blog, you are so creative! Love what you did here! The bracelet is fab and what a great excuse to go shopping!
    Heather Maria recently posted..Wedding bits and pieces and gift box tutorial

  • [...] you’d buy at a store. Kinda similar but even cooler because it’s uber eco-friendly: DIY rope bracelet from a J.Crew shopping bag. Another cool DIY of the home decorating variety: DIY Vinyl Wall Art. Could be great for a dorm [...]

  • This is so cool! It also works with bags from Victoria’s Secret and Sephora. Love the look!

  • DIY rope bracelet from a shopping bag.

  • I love it such an easy cute idea :)

  • [...] Found right here. [...]

  • Just found this and it’s awesome! Posted a link from my blog yesterday:) Thanks!

  • OMG! This is fantastic! J.Crew is my favorite store and I have tons of their bags! Now I can make all my friends bracelets for Christmas :) Thank you for such a good idea!


  • Hi Lisa! I love your tutorial! We don’t have JCrew in my neck of the woods, but I’m sure i could find some pretty rope to substitute. I was wondering what length I should cut them though? Thanks!

  • Just love the eco friendly idea and it look simply nice!

  • Hey Lisa what font are you using on your pics? Looks great!

  • Just made one from a bag with silvery rope handles. Instead of a knot I adhered a gem to the end of the braid. Love love love!

  • Haha I gotta say, I thought I was the only one. Well to be honest I didn’t get that far. I’ve wanted to make one of these since J.Crew changed their bags. I love your post since I don’t know the first thing about making bracelets, but I have been collecting the cords every time I shop at J.Crew, with that in mind.

    Here is a picture of part of my collection (approximately 30 bags worth).

    Well keep up the good work..

    • That is a ton of bags!!!! :)

  • I love love love this!!! So creative and a great idea for my tween to make! Thank you for being such a creative kitty~!

  • Brava, clever girl! Love your ingenuity and clearly written instructions! Another landfill item averted!

  • WOW..I am very impressed…..#1 that it would even occur to someone to make a braclet from a shopping bag handle and #2 that you made it so well and last but not least #3 that you were sweet enough to share with those of us not creative enough to come up with this on our own! Thanks! (but ya should have sold this idea to J Crew…ha….they will probably get a hold of this idea and sell them in stores!!)

    • bracelet**not braclet…..it’s really early here and I’ve had no coffee!

  • I made one of these from the handles of a Juicy Couture shopping bag my wife had… she loves it! Thanks for the idea!!!

  • I love your bracelet! I live in a very small town in Georgia! We have only WalMart as our BIG store. What other cording or whatever, could I use?

    • Hi Jill! I think any cording you like would work! I just picked this one because it looked like the fisherman’s bracelets that have been so popular lately. The only thing that I would check is that it’s not too slippery and it’s flexible — that way it will be easier to work with and won’t come apart. Hope that helps! :)

  • Im thinking, why does it have to be a J Crew bag? Many shopping bags have pretty and/ or interesting handles. I save them for gift wrapping and such. Now a new use!

    • Hi ClaudiaC! I agree and I said it before in the comments — it doesn’t have to be a Jcrew bag, you can use twine, cording, other bags, etc .

      I like the JCrew bag though because it looks like a fisherman’s rope style bracelet. (I’ve seen these for sale for around $40, yikes!)

      Well, and it’s no secret I like JCrew! :) :)

  • Great idea. I’m thinking why limit it to J Crew bags? Many shopping bags have pretty and/or interesting handles that would make wonderful one-of-a-kind bracelets. And I’ve saved many, for gift wrapping and such. Now another use!

  • Awesome! I’ll try this! :)

  • Lisa,
    This is AWESOME! I am beginning a new project in the upcoming year where I promote ideas with recycling and repurposing. I would love to include a link to your project or put it on the blog. Please contact me with either permission or that you are interested in your idea being promoted.

    • Hi Julia! I emailed you, thanks so very much for asking. :)

  • That’s awesome, and it looks really easy to do! I might have to try this!

  • What a great idea!! Yet one more excuse to buy something from my favorite store…for the bag!

  • You don’t have to have the handles on any bags. You can purchase this style of cording at any fabric store. The only thing you did’t mention was the length of the handles. I would guess .. 10″-12″ (two lenghts each). My granddaughter would love this….she is definitely a nautical girl.

    • Hi Lorraine! Yep, I said the same thing in the comments. You can use whatever length you like to suit your wrists. :)

  • Lands! Tis perfect gift and you are brilliant! Brilliant! Thanks!!!

  • just made this! it turned out great! thanks for the wonderful idea:)

    • Hi Emma! I’d love to see your bracelet! Glad it turned out! :)

  • [...] Video Makers on Youtube – Do you feel Essence Magazine was dissing natural hair vloggers? DIY rope bracelet from a J.Crew shopping bag! – My next visit to J.Crew will result in cute threads and THIS! It Happened to Me: I Told My [...]

  • thank u sooooo much!! this is such a cute idea! i love both of my bracelets (i made two) one is green and the other one is normal! it was so easy and i now feel creative! :) i’m so excited to show my friends! :)))

  • About how long is a J. Crew shopping bag handle/strap?

    • Hi Lisa! Not sure exactly, but I’d guess about 18 inches? Next time I get a bag I’ll measure it first :)

      If anyone else out there knows please comment, thanks! :)

      • Thanks so much Lisa!

  • Thank you for this wonderful and creative tutorial. I have made the bracelet and proceeded on to use the rest of the J Crew shopping bag to make a gift box to hold the bracelet. Now the whole J. Crew shopping bag won’t go to waste. :)


  • soo CuTe nice idea Brilliant :) http://www.etsy.com/shop/DandyFlorence

  • What an absolutely gorgeous bracelet. Love it.

    PS. I have been blogging for 3 Months.
    My blog is dominantely fashion but has lots about general life, food and music.
    It would make my day if you could check out my blog and if you like it subscibe and continue to read it!
    Thank you for your time

  • I LOVE this tutorial, and so easy! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  • What a good way to recycle a J Crew bag.

  • I love to see creative people recycle in this way. It teaches people to recycle as well as show a creative side. Most people tend to just throw things away.

  • Wow super cute bracelets. Totally going to try this.

  • Wow! That is so smart! Thanks for contribute such impressive instructions.

  • Love these DIY’s!

  • I made this with the handles off of a VS Pink bag and it looks really neat with the neon pink! :) Really easy too! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • This is SUCH a great idea! I have to go find a J.Crew bag lying around so I can make one. I love this!!

  • Lisa, I just saw this on Twitter. It’s great seeing your fab project again! I must pin it so I can give it a go!

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  • Loveeee how creative and resourceful this is. Even though I recycle bags, I never thought about reusing the handles.

  • I love this bracelet, I made five last weekend.

  • [...] 6. Rope Bracelet [...]

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  • Love the bracelet! Might have to do a little shopping

  • [...] Let’s try plain rope weaving with sideboats & scribbles’ DIY rope bracelet tutorial! [...]

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Hey there

Howdy from Austin, TX! My name is
Lisa Spangler and I like to make crafty stuff, eat donuts, and take photos. (Lots of photos.) Especially when hiking with by husband, J. More about me.

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