Back when I first started selling on Etsy, knitted bags were my thing. Frustrated (actually, appalled) at the cost of commercially available handles, I came up with my own version.
One of the nice things about these is that they can be matched to the colour of the bag. Another nice thing is that they can be removed easily if you want to wash the bag. Which makes them perfect for the printed cloth bags I'll be making soon!
Here's how they're constructed:
You'll need a sharp knife, and a leather hole punch or a hand drill - or something, at least, that can make a decent hole.
plastic tubing, about 2mm thick. It's available from hardware stores, and I think it's used for water features and fish tanks. Take care that it's not too thin, or the handles will be floppy, and not too thick, as the plastic can look blue. My handles are 57cm long, so 1.2m should be enough.
2 small cable ties
A length of ribbon or a crocheted chain for each handle.
A bag that needs handles. (These handles are for bags that have a casing around the top edge.)
Cut the tubing into 2 equal lengths (57cm long). Trim the ends, cutting them so that they'll meet each other cleanly, not at an angle.
Make a hole, either with a leather punch or a drill, about 1cm from each end, going through both sides of the tube.
Thread the ribbon or crocheted chain through the tubing. The easiest way to do this is to thread a length of thin wire through, bend the end to make a narrow hook, and pull the ribbon/chain back through.
Feed the tube through the casing of the bag.
Stick a cable tie through the hole in the tubing, through the crochet chain (or past the ribbon), and out the other side. Don't pull it all the way through. Leave the stopper sticking out far enough that it will be able to reach the other hole.
Holding the cut ends of the tube flush with each other, stick the cable tie through the other set of holes. Pull the ribbon/chain tight, knot the ends together, and trim. Try not to cut them so short that they'll be hard to undo. Feed the ends back into the tube.
Push the end of the cable tie through its stopper, and pull it as tight as possible. (Use pliers, not your teeth....) Trim the cable tie.
To remove the handles, just cut the cable tie.
You are very very clever. :)
VERY cool!!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing blog:
That is so cool
I've been looking for that rubber thing, but no one could understand what kind of rubber i was talking about, and to make handles??? (this girl must be crazy), yes.
So now i can go and ask for the stuff.
And your knitting is full of color :)
very pretty :)
You are so smart! And crafty!
Fantastic idea! As well as being incredibly practical, they make the bags look so funky!
Cool idea!! I used to make webbing tubes and insert the plastic tubing inside that for a handle. I forgot all about them until I saw this.
Great tutorial! I can already think of some other applications for this!
Yup, sheer genius
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your handles.. You are so smart.. Nice chunky, funky, textury hand-spun yarn would look fabulous in there too. You rock girl!
How lovely of you to share such a great idea. Thanks for your generosity.
This is ingenious AND attractive. And it has great potential for multiple uses...
wow! great tutorial, brilliant handles and beautiful colours.
p.s. thanks for your v sweet comment on my artists who blog interview. x
Thanks for the tutorial. I would NEVER have guessed how to make such practical but fun handles!
You are BRILLIANT! I like to crochet purses and I've never been happy with crocheting the handles OR buying the expensive ones in the store. This idea is PERFECT!
Nice tutorial! I have often wanted to make knitted bags with pretty handles, but then baulk at the price. Yours are lovely; what a good idea.
Must.....have....those...bags in my shop! Can you come round this weekend or before Jezze? Would love to see your work :)
theys so cool and so clever!
Love this! I love the thinking-outside-the-box solution to overpriced supplies...
Absolutely great. I hope you're planning on making some knitted bags again sometime... can't wait to see the printed ones too.
Oh dear, I don't think I can handle this much cleverness! :-D
Absolutely FANTASTIC idea! Love it. Thanks for sharing :-)
This is so cool!!! Fantastic!
Thnak you so much for sharing!
very cool! i love working with plastic tubing, there are so many fun things you can do with it. i've done sculptures with the tubing full of red beads, made bracelets with little kids (thread a tulle strip through and tie the ends in a bow!), etc, etc. it also looks very cool when you crochet around it, or sew a strap to pull over it.
Absolute Genius! I've got some aquarium tubing in my "junk closet", and I'm definitely going to try this out! The price of handles is the #1 reason I don't have more bags in my shop.
this is like the cleverest thing I've ever seen!
what a fabulous idea! i love it!
that is great! I always knew that there is a way to make your own handles - thank you for that!
I hadn't thought of the handle in a circle with the tie. I've made similar that I fold the ends and leave a loop, screw (closures one side looks like a tube, but has threads, the other is the treaded side-these 'screws' have a name and I can't think of it!) together and attatch to cigar boxes, and jeans purses. I've filled them with beads, and chains, and ribbon. Your bags are very pretty.
Hi Jezze! How nice to discover a fellow South African that crafts and blogs as well! I just found this link on craftstylish and will be browsing your blog now. Feel free to come visit me as well!
Wow, thanks for sharing, this is SO cool !!
Wow, that is amazingly creative. Thanks for sharing your fabulous idea. bless you for sharing your talent with all of us!
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted
This is really cool, where were you when I needed this, lol. I make handbags also and I like you also thought the price of handles are too expensive and I wanted to cover mine. So I also bought the piping and threaded it through the crocheted covering for handles. I like your way much better.
That is one of the best ideas that I have seen in a long time. Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to try it out.
This idea is very very nice!
Thanks for the tutorial!
This is great, fabulous,cool, amazing, an idea from a genius!!! So I did link you on my blog! Hope you don't mind!
If you have other of this ideas please let me know! I'll surely follow you from today! Hugs, Renata.
Great idea! thank you!
Nice and chip. Excellent!
this is so smart!! we added a link to ftiaxto.gr, a greek site dedicated to crafts, http://www.ftiaxto.gr/content/view/718/57/
thanks 4 the inspiration!
I love your method of joining the ends! I've had plastic tubing in my craft room for years and figured I'd eventually find out a way to join the ends that I like. Thanks!
Great idea! I was just looking for some clear handles and I think this will work great!
p.s. I'm going to check out your etsy shop too...
WHOA!!! FANTASTICI!!! ^^ did u try some bracelets whit this technique? that should be great!
Hi! Just to let you know that I linked this clever tutorial to my blog. I love your blog esp your prints. I will post about the creative process of designing prints on my blog soon and I'd like to feature you,too. Thanks for sharing :)
The Tubing handles!! wow, what a great Idea.
I knit a lot and make gifts for Christmas. I thought of bags but the handles are too expensive for my budget
Wow!!! now I will be making them with this handle Idea I have 6 to make Handles are sooo expensive.
Very clever indeed. Thank you so very much. This just cut the cost of 6 bags by about $130.00 Canadian.
Very clever and very nice!ks for the idea!
thanks for the wonderful tutorial; i was looking for how to make the clear tubing handles..i have lots of tubing from fountains and the hospital,lol.
i will link when i make some!
I have used rubber tubing as purse handles before and havefound that if you heat the ends of the tubing with either a hair dryer or heat gun (being careful not to melt it) then it is easier to make the holes and they come out neater. Hope this hint helps.
That's a great tip! Thanks, Angie.
Amazing! You are so clever and creative!
Thanks for sharing, i'm surely will use it for my new handmade bag :)
When I asked for tubing and zip-ties, I got some strange looked from the sales rep. lol But thanks soo much for sharing this. There's no way I could've afforded the bsmboo handles.
Thank you so much for this post. I totally agree with your comments about the cost of handles and your DIY handles look fantastic. I'm off to the DIY shop as soon as I finish this comment. My fettuccia arrived this morning and I can't wait to get started.
I love this idea! I hope you don't mind if I use it on my bags. I've been trying out different ways to make handles that aren't the gosh-awful expensive ones from the craft stores.
I might try a variation...finish the ends and attach a snapclip. Hummmm...any ideas?
Thanks for your idea and your tutorial.I made a link from my blog to your blog. Your blog is fantastic!!
Hello, I have made handles by your tutorial... thanks...
Fantastic idea! Thanks so much for sharing. x
I started using the tubing about 10 years ago,lot of cute things to put in the tubes.chicklet gum,ribbon ,rope etc
As they say great minds think a like funny jezze i wanted to make a handle about 1 year ago and came up with that but i did not use cable tie i use a please of stick and screws o sorry i make burlap bags and put some of the colour in the tube and i just finish 3 more bag with that handle that some one order great job
Cool! I'll have to try this. Thanks.
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