Plastic Water Bottle Purses: One Crafter’s Tale

I’m a skilled crafter. And I’m a perfectionist. And this is my crafter’s tale. . .  Plastic Water Bottle Purses.

plastic water bottle purses

Small purses made out of plastic water bottles, hot glue and a 7″ zipper? I’m in, all in. I had all the supplies and I was looking for a unique packaging for the Christmas gift cards I’ll be handing out in a few weeks. What clinched it? It was billed as a “fun” project that “comes together in no time.”

With only four steps, I quickly realized that more was left out of the directions for crafting plastic water bottle purses than was included.

Step #1 — “Measure 1-1/2″ from the base of each water bottle and mark with a pen. Use sharp scissors to cut away the bottom of the bottle.” Repeat. I started by using Costco water bottles. Cutting them was easy peasy. Then the hot glue melted through the water bottle plastic and onto my finger when I “pressed quickly while hot for best results.”

Thanks, Gail!

Thanks, Gail!

Add to directions: Use thick-walled plastic bottles or else the hot glue melts through the bottles on contact, leaving the zipper gunked up with dried glue/plastic and your fingers worse for the wear.

Hint: Ask a girlfriend (thank you, Gail) for her high-quality plastic bottles for this project. And be prepared for the bottles to go shooting out of your hands and across the room when you try to cut through the plastic using “sharp scissors.”

After I cut down six thicker-walled, name-brand water bottles and lined them up on my kitchen island, I unwrapped several colorful 7″ polyester zippers left from the days when I sewed my own clothes. They fit nicely inside the cut-down water bottle, per the instructions. Now all that remained between me and the finished project was Steps 2, 3, and 4.

Step #2 — “Secure the zipper to the inside of one bottle with hot glue. “Small lines of glue” were suggested.

hot mess of glue blobs

hot mess of glue blobs

I applied little blobs of hot glue onto the bottle edge and pressed a navy blue zipper into place. The glue dried clear on the navy background and “foggy” where the glue overlapped the plastic bottle. It looks sloppy. I can’t picture myself putting a nice gift cards inside that hot mess and handing it to one of my twenty-something relatives with a straight face. And even if I could get over the sloppiness of it all? The giftee would never be able to unzip that zipper to get his/her hands on the gift card. The zipper teeth “stick” because I aligned the bottom edge of the zipper teeth against the top edge of the plastic bottle.

Add to directions: Hot glue the zipper in place using the smallest bits of glue possible, leaving a generous 1/4″ between the plastic edge of the bottle and the actual zipper teeth.

glue looks a little better on a tan zipper

glue looks a little better on a tan zipper

Not ready to give up after only one attempt, I cut down two more bottles and chose a tan zipper, hoping the glue wouldn’t be as noticeable.  AND I applied little hot glue “lines” directly onto the zipper fabric, instead of little blobs onto the plastic bottle.

Hint: Work fast or the glue will dry on the zipper fabric before you have a chance to press it into place. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend an inordinate amount of time picking dried glue off and trying again.

I sill wasn’t willing to give up. So I pulled out a brown metal-toothed zipper and began to apply it to the water bottle. Using hot glue, of course. I gave up halfway around Step #2. It just looks too crappy to continue.

Step #3 — “Open the zipper, and attach the top just like you did the bottom.”

Back to bottle #1: I did as instructed and the glue blobs looked like a hot mess on both sides of the zipper.

Back to bottle #2: I applied thin lines of glue to the zipper fabric. And I allowed 1/4″ of space between the edge of the plastic and the zipper teeth. By using the tan (lighter color) zipper, the dried glue is a bit less noticeable. Allowing more room between the zipper teeth and plastic means I can actually open and close the zipper, albeit with a bit of a struggle.

Step #4 — “Zip the container together, and you’re ready to store your stuff!”

This project was an Epic Fail for me. I wasted a few hours of my time. I’m nursing a couple of hot glue burns on my fingers. And I still don’t have a cool container for those gift cards I’m buying!

Do you have any clever crafty container ideas for me? Let me know in the Comments. Please!


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