Soul Sisters & Crafting New Gear

Last night was the Soul Sisters Benefit for the YWCA at The Bushwakker in Regina.  I had a wonderful time performing and getting to know the other musicians - Rebecca Lascue, Judith Morrissey, and Joel Henderson (Poor Nameless Boy) - both on and off the stage.  I also got to chat with a number of other people for first time and saw a few familiar faces.  I want to say thank you so much to everyone who came out to support this cause and to everyone involved in making the event happen!  I'm happy I was able to be a part of it and I was even happier to see so many people there, helping to fund the YWCA and their programs for women and children.

Now, you may not know this about me, but I'm a little obsessed with crafting.  Recently, I felt inspired to make myself a new gig bag, one that reflects my personality.  I used it for the first time last night and in the spirit of helping, I am going to share a bit of a tutorial on how I did it, in case any of you folks are interested in knowing how to make something like this:
(If you don't want to know how I made this, stop reading here, because the remainder of this post is the tutorial.)

As you can see, it's actually more of a gig briefcase (I have multiple gig bags with different purposes).  I didn't think to take a before photo, but it started out as a fairly standard brown leather briefcase (see photo below from, which a family member had given me because she no longer needed it.  (Free stuff!! Boo ya!! - Btw: If anyone tells you no one says "boo ya" anymore, you can be like "Oh yeah? At least one person does, so there!" Also btw: you should probably not take advice on comebacks from me because I suggest things like that.)
Photo from www.styleforum.netAnywho (not a typo, typed "anywho" on purpose), to personalize the briefcase, I used Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Paint combined with Martha Stewart Crafts Fabric Medium (mixed together they make fabric paint).  I used one color (a dark metallic silver) for the front and back of the case and mixed two different pinks together to create the pink around the edges. 

I cleaned the briefcase (with leather cleaner, about a week before I started painting, so feel free to actually follow the instructions on the paint if you want to do it properly, but this seems to have worked fine), then painted the first coat.  I let it dry about an hour between coats (followed the instructions on that one), then after the second coat I waited 24 hours for the paint to dry completely (also in the instructions).  I had to do the painting in more than 2 steps so the paint in one area had time to dry before doing the next section (I painted all sides, including the bottom, and the handle).  I didn't tape before painting, but if you wanted really clean lines it would be best to tape off the areas you don't to paint.

This is the order in which I painted the sections.  In between each section, I waited at least an hour after the 2nd coat had been painted before moving onto the next (I waited about 24 hours before flipping the case over to paint the back, because I wanted to make sure the painted side resting on the floor was completely dry).

1) I painted the top and both sides of the briefcase pink (with the exception of where the handle was resting on the top).
2) I painted the front of the briefcase silver.
3) I painted the bottom of the briefcase pink.
4) I stood the briefcase up and flipped the handle to the other side so I could paint the remainder of the top pink.
5) Day 2, I laid the briefcase with painted front on the floor and painted the back silver.
6) I stood the briefcase up to paint the handle.  I painted one side of the handle, then once it felt dry, I flipped the handle over and painted the other side.

One last thing.  This particular briefcase does not stay open on it's own (notice the silver stick keeping in open in the photo).  Since I didn't want to hold the case open myself, I devised a simple (and free!!!) way to prop it open.  I took a thick cardboard tube that had been the inside of a roll of paper and cut it to the size I needed.  Then, I painted it with 2 coats of the silver Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Paint (without the fabric medium).  I let the paint dry an hour between coats and 24 hours after the 2nd coat.  It worked great for the show last night and when closing the case, I just lay the post flat inside the briefcase. 

Ta-da!  That's how I made my personalized gig briefcase!  I might decide to add even more detail/personalization to it later, but simply painting it has transformed it significantly. Hurray!  It wasn't hard to do but be aware that it does take a good chunk of time.  And make sure you cover your work surface if you don't want to get paint everywhere.  If you have any questions for me, I encourage you to leave them in the comments and I will answer them to the best of my ability.  Happy crafting!