Pop tabs, soda can tabs, pull tabs, pop-tops… I know many different countries and people that have different names for these unique little pieces of aluminum. My hope in this tutorial is to guide you through the first steps of making a pop tab purse, the rest I leave up to you.
There are many different ways to create a purse from pop tabs, some I have tried, but this particular method has been my favorite so far. The purse itself has lasted nearly 2 years, the only strain being on the joining points of the strap and natural wear to the top of the lining. If you enjoyed this tutorial please consider signing up to my mailing list or blog. I may be a full time artist but I do make time to post about creative crafty projects from time to time. Enjoy reading and following along!
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Before you begin you will need to gather together your supplies. The pop tabs I was able to collect with the help of some very industrious young ladies who left out a collection can at their elementary school. If you are not able to collect them yourself (I personally don\’t regularly drink soda so this would have been impossible without help) then I know people on ebay do collect them and sell them there.
Your First Steps
1. Wash all of your pop tabs. I would recommend washing all of your tabs in a plastic tub to reduce the risk of losing them down the sink. It also will make it much easier to drain out the water and scoop them onto a towel. Pat with a second towel and let air dry. You will be surprised how dirty these are.
2. Cut your first piece of wire, 4 inches long. Bend the wire in the center around your finger to create a horseshoe, hairpin or arch shape. By the end of this project you will be creating batches of these little wire arches to speed things along.
5. Wrap your wire with the wire pliers around and through these central holes four times. Twist the remaining wire together until secure. Clip off excess. Press twisted wire against tabs (can be done with pliers) so that it does not stick out and catch on anything. This whole process can be done with your fingers but they will get very raw quite soon working with the metal.
3. Place four pop tabs, backs up, the top row overlapping onto the bottom.
6. Add a third row of pop tabs below your second row and repeat, adding and wrapping the wire through the new intersection of tabs.
4. Loop from behind your already formed wire through the central holes.
7. Repeat until you have a column of 16 tabs. Continue by adding a third row and repeating until 20 tabs, or until you have your purses desired length.The dimensions for my purse are 16 tabs tall, 20 tabs long, 2 tabs deep.
Assembling the Purse Body
1. Once you have created two front panels, two side panels and a single bottom panel we will begin assembling them together into the purse body. 2. Attach a front panel to a side panel at a 90° angle using the same method you used to create the panels. 3. Attach the remaining side and front panels to create a top- and bottom-less box. 4. Adding the bottom panel is the tricky part. This is where your fishing line comes in. As it was quite difficult to line up the scalloped tabs and attach the panels with wire I opted to use a much more flexible material, fishing line. Tie the fishing line at one end and thread through the sides. You will have to be the creative on this as I cannot show you an exact method. The goal is to make it secure and keep the fishing line out of site and invisible. 5. Now you have completed the purse body!
6. Complete by creating a chain of pop tabs 2 wide for your strap. This can be as long or as short as you would like. I kept adding tabs until the purse fit comfortably under my arm.
1. There are two methods to creating a purse lining, one is to sew your own or second to use an already created bag or purse and simply insert it. I have sewn my own. The complexity of the purse lining will determine how much material you will need. I created the lining with some velvet that I already had on hand and did not need to purchase anything for it except the zipper and ribbon. I would suggest following this simple zipper bag tutorial to get started. Sew with needle and thread, your lining to the inside of your pop tab purse.
2. Add the ribbon to the underside of your strap, sewing it down the center with thread to the wire loops already there from making the strap. Attach this strap with jump rings or with your wire, like you have been attaching tabs.