Thursday, July 10, 2014

Frugal Camera Bag DIY

A couple of weeks ago, I got a new camera. Instead of the normal point and shoot I have always had, this time I got a Nikon DSLR camera. I also got a great camera backpack to carry all my camera stuff including my tripod on the side. It is sturdy, never feels heavy, and I do not regret owing it. I really like that it does not look like a camera bag. This comfortable backpack is great for vacations and hiking. My only problem? It carries too much and it not very handy on a quick photo shoot or day trip. Say, I want to take the kids to the park…well, I really do not need my tripod and everything else in the bag. I only will be there a couple of hours with the heat. Also, what if I want to meet friends and I know we will be taking pictures…. Well, I do not want to carry around the backpack. I will save the backpack for hiking or walking around the zoo or an amusement park.

So I started looking into camera bags, then camera bag purses, which was more of what I was looking for. I could not believe the price tags on these bags! Yes, most of them are gorgeous, and I would love to have one, and yes, I would use it a lot, but we are a one income family right now. I just do not feel comfortable justifying the purchase to myself much less to my husband. Now, could I see it in the future as a Christmas gift, sure, but not right now, and right now is what I am thinking about.

The kids and I were at Target yesterday. Time for popcorn and drinks, their favorite little mall treat. I see a rugged bag on sale for $14.99. It is deep and has quite a few pockets, and I love the color. The wheels start spinning in my head. I have a sewing machine (not a great sewer, and that is why I do not have dimensions and such in this post. Everyone’s purse size is going to be different anyhow). I have so much pretty fabric, in fact, some fabric I had was coming to mind that I got on sale at Hobby Lobby in the sale bin, and I didn’t use it yet, because I was going to have to piece it with something else to make something anyhow. The fabric would be beautiful in this bag!

Our next stop was Joann’s Fabric store for sew on Velcro and foam for the bottom of the bag (I wanted something really thick and tough like for a cushion), and I then wanted the easy green flexible foam to use everywhere else in the purse. Both of these were on sale already cut. I spent under $10 probably for my whole purchase at Joann’s.

Last night, I started sewing. I used cardboard from the ToyRus box from Little Bug’s school backpack and cut to fit the inside of my bag. I left a little room on one side so it didn’t not totally fill it up. Once I had the cardboard the correct size, I started cutting up both foams. The cushion foam was a little tough to cut, but it still did. I was only using this for the bottom anyhow, and I will find another use for it.

I sewed fabric on the bottom piece. Then sewed two strips of Velcro on the long sides before I sewed the fabric on (these were the only side pieces I used Velcro). Then I sewed fabric on smaller pieces of green foam to box in my camera and accessories. Next, I sewed one thinner, but used longer green foam with Velcro on both end pieces. This one is to protect my camera. I had a little material left so I covered a smaller green foam with no Velcro on the ends (I would have if it was a little longer) to put on the other side to have it as a divider. It worked out great so I do not think I am going to miss the Velcro. I also sewed two straps with Velcro on the end pieces to cover the top of my camera and anything else I am carrying. (what if I leave my bag open and someone knocks it over... the straps will help keep my camera in the bag) Then I made one drawstring bag (pink polka dot bag) to hold odds and ends that I carry with my camera (Lens cleaner, memory card, etc). Right now, I do not have another lens, but I have plenty of room to carry it in this bag and for it to be well protected. The main reason I did not sew all the pieces together, is to make it easy to put in another purse. This is my go-to-bag around town, but if I am going to a wedding, etc, I would probably carry another bag depending on the theme of the wedding. This would still be great for a beach or western theme wedding.

So there you have it…… A frugal camera purse that I love, and this one has two ways to carry it, shoulder straps or a longer strap like a messenger bag. Next, I am looking for a cute charm to hang from it to girl it up some more. I love all the zippers and pockets to hold my stuff. I can still easily get to the pockets and zippers inside the bag too since I did not create the foam to totally fit the bag. I even have my point and shoot camera in there as it is so quick and easy to use for video.

This bag closes easily, and the best part, no one knows I have a camera in there until I take it out. And no one has MY camera bag. And my total price as of yesterday: Around $24.99, probably a little less. I know the fabric I had was under $5.00. So total price: About $30 bucks! The bags I was looking at were wayyyyyyy over a $100.

Anytime I am out and about and there are purses, I am going to keep my eye open for a really nice looking deep purse that will work for a wedding.  Now, I can use the money that I would have spent on an expensive camera bag toward a new lens.

Update: Took this out when I ran some errands, and also took a few pictures. Wow, it sure was nice that no one knew I had an expensive camera in my bag. It was also so easy to take my camera out and anything else that I was needed. I still would like to have a nicer looking bag, and waterproof. It is getting time to sell some things we do not need anyhow. I sell on local Facebook selling sites. This is my mad money.... I can do anything I want with it. So I might still get one of those expensive camera bags, but I like knowing if I do see a cute bag somewhere, I have the foam inserts already sewed and ready for usage to protect my camera.