See How I Turned an Ordinary Basketball Into a Fashionable Handbag

by Sukari
21 Materials
3 Hours

One of my absolute favorite things is creating something new and unexpected out of something else entirely. That’s what I did when I turned an ordinary basketball into a gorgeous handbag. The end result is cool, handy, and one-of-a-kind. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps of how I made this unique basketball handbag from scratch.

Tools and materials:

  • Chipboard
  • Craft foam
  • Leather or vinyl
  • Grommet kit
  • Pattern paper
  • Skyver if using leather
  • Chain
  • Metal D square rings and rivet
  • Basketball (28.5” diameter)
  • Zipper (size 10)
  • Double-sided tape (that is used in handbag construction)
  • Basketball pin
  • Edge paint
  • Roller or paintbrush
  • Orange nylon thread or clear transparent thread
  • Glovers needle
  • Blades: box cutter and hook knife
  • Hardware for handles (I used 4 O rings, 2 small U rings, and 4 large U rings)
  • Screwdriver
  • Rotary punch
  • Pliers
  • Binder clips
  • White pen or marker (or any color what will be visible on the basketball)
  • Ruler
  • Stay paper
  • Rubber cement
  • Bone folder
Basketball bag
Mark the basketball

The very first thing I did was mark the opening of my basketball bag. I took the corresponding pattern piece and taped the center of it to the center of the basketball, then continued to tape it down that line. I then marked the outline of the pattern onto the basketball. 

DIY basketball bag
Mark the handle placement

I measured the distance of my marking to the end of the line on the basketball, then measured 1¼” from the line that I drew and marked it for the location of the handles. I placed the hardware for the handle in place, then marked the location on both sides of the hardware. I moved over 3” and marked the location of the second piece, again on both sides of it. I then repeated this process on the other side and on the ends of the line. For a visual of this part of the project, head over to minute 6:33 in the video.

How to make a basketball bag
Remove the air from the basketball

Using my basketball needle, I removed most of the air from the basketball. When there was only a bit left, I pushed the air up to the side of the basketball with my markings so that I had a firm surface to cut. I then took my knife and cut out the strip that I had marked.

Custom basketball bag
Insert the handle hardware

Using the smallest size on my rotary punch, I made holes on the marks that I had previously drawn. Then I took the washer my hardware came with and placed it on the inside of the bag on the holes and inserted my screws. I then put a drop of nail polish on the outside of the screw to reinforce it and screwed on the hardware. When I was satisfied with the placement, I screwed on the other side as well. I repeated this for all six pieces of handle hardware. 

Easy basketball bag
Paint the edges of the opening

Because I cut open the basketball, the edges of the opening looked messy. So I grabbed some edge paint and painted the edges to match the outside. The brand of edge paint I used was Angelus, and I mixed together their English Tan and Tangerine colors until I had the perfect color to match the basketball. 

Make your own basketball bag
Prepare your zipper

I haven’t found a glue that’s strong enough for the zipper, so I like sewing it in place, especially since I know there’s going to be a lot of tension on the zipper. I measured the opening of the basketball bag and added about 1½” to both the top and bottom of the zipper, and that gave me the length I needed the zipper to be. I also added a zipper stopper to the bottom of it to give me a clean stop. 

Basketball to bag
Attach the zipper

I put the double-sided tape onto the outside of the outer edges of the zipper. I then removed the paper part of the double-stick tape that was on my zipper and inserted it into place from the inside of the basketball. I lined it up so that the zipper ending was right in the center and right at the bottom edge. Then I pressed the zipper all along the inside of the opening. I used binder clips to hold it in place, then, using a thimble and glovers needle, I hand-sewed the zipper down.  

How to DIY a basketball bag
Prepare the handles

I used the pattern for the handles as a stencil to cut out the foam. Then I used it to cut out stay paper as well. Stay paper is made so that it bends easily one way, but not the other. I cut out two shapes of the stay paper per handle, each one going in the opposite direction so that each handle would have one that bends one way and another that bends the other way. When all the pieces were cut out, I used rubber cement to glue the stays to the foam pieces. 

Basketball upcycle
Add fabric to the handles

For the top of the handles, I decided to use nylon fabric. I then took my handle pattern, with ⅜” allowance added all around, and traced and cut four of them from the fabric. I then glued this to the stay and allowed it to dry before turning the edges over and pressing them down. Next, I glued the sides of the handles together, foam on one side, and chipboard on the other side. Then I used my edge foot to sew all around the perimeter of the handles, and marked where I wanted to insert the grommets.

Turn a basketball into a bag
Make the shoulder strap

To make the shoulder strap, I sandwiched bonded leather in between two layers of leather. Using rubber cement, I put glue on one side of the bonded leather and one side of each piece of the leather. I waited for the glue to dry and be tacky, then I placed the bonded leather, glue side down, onto one piece of leather. I smoothed it out with a bone folder, then placed more glue on top, and let it dry a bit before layering on the last piece of leather. Then I took my pattern and cut the strap into the right measurements. I cut it raw-edge and did a stitch all around it. If you’re doing this project, you can also paint the edges of the strap with edge paint. 

Basketball to bag upcycle
Add the chain and handles

Once the strap was done, I put in D rings on the ends, turned the leather over the D rings, and inserted the rivets. Then I took the 1 yard of chain that I’d purchased and cut it in half so that I could attach it to either side of the strap. I used a special tool to open up the chain, but this can also be done with two needle-nosed pliers. I opened one side of the chain, put it around the D ring of the strap, then closed it back up. Once the chain was attached to the shoulder strap, I attached it to the basketball. Lastly, I attached the O rings to the handle hardware and attached the handles to the O rings. 

Refashion a basketball into a bag

There you have it! I’m obsessed with this basketball bag. It’s so cool and unique and I just love that. Not to mention there’s so much room inside of it, so I am very happy with the outcome of this project. What do you think? Would you use a bag like this? Furthermore, would you make a bag like this? If you do, be sure to drop a pic in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Chipboard
  • Craft foam
  • Leather
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
2 of 21 comments
  • Mezzaluna Mezzaluna on Apr 25, 2021

    This is SO AWESOME!! Way beyond my skill level - but I LOVE the idea so much. And the way the gold hardware picks up the gold of the printing on the ball - fantastic.

  • Susan Beery Susan Beery on May 20, 2021

    Great idea to accompany an avid sports fan to summer time games!! Definitely an entrepreneurial business starter.