how to-sday . piano clutch

October 25, 2011 separator DIY Tutorial

Let’s start with a [moderately unrelated] riddle: What’s black and white and cute all over (besides the purse you see above)?
This, of course:
I will now pause for your collective “awwwww!” I’ll just trust that you absorbed the full cuteness and then move on to the actual tutorial.
Let’s start with the inspiration: The Kate Spade Piano Recital Clutch. Super cute, right? Popular in the fashion scene. Awkwardly long and skinny. Expensive. Like $375 expensive. Eh, I think I can do better (or at least a lot cheaper – in the neighborhood of less than $5). 


If you find a purse at the thrift shop and already have a couple brushes lying around, you should be able to make this bag for under $5 total. That’s a pretty steep discount over Kate, no?!
  • black acrylic patio paint
  • fine-tip Sharpie
  • paintbrushes – one as wide as your piano keys and one thin
  • straight edge (I ended up using a paperback book instead.)
  • white leather or vinyl purse or clutch


1.   Start by cleaning the surface with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball. This will  help the paint adhere better and last longer. Using either a ruler/straight edge or a thin paperback book and your fine-tip Sharpie, trace the lines of each black piano key. The pattern is three keys, two keys, three keys, and so on. Leave a space the width of a key between each block of three and two. 
2.   It should look about like this when you’re done. I chose to have the black keys coming up from the bottom of the purse. Don’t worry if it looks a little bit sketchy. You can fix that later if you’d like.


3.   Using your straight edge or the side of your book, draw lines coming down from the middle of each key and the middle of each space. I’ve marked the lines to draw in red in the above image. You can bring these lines all the way to the opposite edge, but I stopped mine at the zipper. 


4.   When you’ve drawn them all, it should look like the above image. If you want to, you can now go back and clean up the lines, making sure you’ve got all the keys completely drawn on. As you can see, some of mine are wiggly or don’t have corners. I left it that way.


5.   Dip your brush into the patio paint. You want to use patio paint rather than regular acrylic because it will be more flexible, adhere better, and stay vibrant longer, since your purse will be tossed around, exposed to rain, and so on. Using one heavy stroke from the top of the key to the bottom of the purse, pull the brush back to fill in each key outline. 


6.   It should look like the above photo at this point. If you don’t want the more abstract, “artsy” look, you can now take a smaller paintbrush and fill in the corners and edges until you have perfectly rectangular keys. I left mine “sloppy.”


7.   Now, using your thin paintbrush, trace over the lines between and beneath the keys. You can make this line as heavy or as thin as you want. Mine are a bit wiggly, as it really matches with the whole haphazard feel of the purse. Let it dry, preferably overnight, before you use the bag. You don’t need to seal it with anything – you’re just good to go out in style!
See how I styled my new piano purse here!


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  15. Hey Guys i have a leather clutch. and its quite old, i wanna give it a new look by having another colour cloth over it, but not sure about the type of material and the way to sew it. Can u help??

  16. poet – If you can embroider it, then you have way more skills than I do – kudos!!!

    Thanks for the sweet comments, all!

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  17. Wow, this looks amazing! I think I’d recreate it sewing / embroidering the piano keys on, though… my experiences with painting stuff have been detrimental.

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