March 14, 2011

#73 +

DIY Camera Bag
A photo essay

I realized at the start of this project that if I wanted to take a picture everyday I was going to have to leave my house with my camera on a regular basis. Which meant in order to keep my equipment safe, I was going to need a good camera bag. I spent months searching for the perfect one. I wanted a bag that wasn't big and bulky, but it couldn't be tiny, either. I was adamant that it HAD to be pretty. No dreaded ugly black Manbag for me, thank you very much. 

I drooled over the Epiphanie and Kelly Moore bags, but in the end decided that spending that much on a bag for a hobby I had no intention of making money on was ridiculous. I quickly realized the bag I'd been looking for didn't exist, and I was going to have to make my own. So I did. And it took me about 2 hours and cost only $36.00. 

DIY Camera Bag: 
Once I found a suitable handbag (thank you, Target!), Jason was kind enough to donate the orphaned foam mat he had once used under his sleeping bag during scout camping trips. I think we originally paid less than $10.00 for this at Walmart a few years ago. You could use something like an old yoga mat, too. 

To get started, I turned the bag inside out, and measured each section. 

I took those dimensions and then measured and cut the foam to fit each of the walls of the bag. 

Then I shaped and rounded the corners to fit. Each side of the foam padding should be about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch smaller than each side of the bag. 

Once I got the foam contoured to each inside wall of the bag, I began cutting open the lining inside the bag. I made my cuts along the bottom edges of each wall within the bag. I used a seam ripper to cut the lining, but with this particular bag it wasn't possible to rip the actual seam, so I just cut alongside it. 

I had to stop and stitch up the hole I accidentally cut into an inside compartment. Whoops. Don't get too excited with your seam ripper, be sure you're only cutting one layer of fabric! 

I inserted the cut foam panels into the bag through the openings in the lining. Originally, I had planned to sew the lining back into place, but I quickly realized with the added bulk the foam panels added and the fraying of the synthetic lining that stitching it back together was going to be impossible. 

Instead, I turned the bag right-side-out again and hot-glued the panels in place. I then hot-glued the lining back into place as best as I could. 

I covered a few pieces of card stock paper with some pretty green fabric and created a liner for inside of the bag to hide the glued edges of the lining. 

I stopped again to find where the left over foam had disappeared to...

Found it! 

I then cut 2 more pieces of the foam to fit the inside of the bag and covered them in pretty purple duct tape to use as padded dividers. I intend to cover these in the same pretty green fabric whenever I have time to pull out my sewing machine again. 

Finished product. I've got tons of room inside! I normally carry at least one extra lens, an air blower, my flash -  and still have room left over in the center for my camera, with lens attached. I've got extra SD cards and a UV filter in the zip pouch. 

And...there's still plenty of room for my keys, phone and wallet in one of the 6 empty compartments on the outside of the bag (2 big ones aside from the main zippered compartment, 2 smaller ones on the ends, and 2 zipper ones on the front of the bag.) 

Perfection! A stylish, protective, and roomy camera bag for under $40.00.