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Tote Bag Charm and Gift Box for the Inventor

You are going to LOVE this project!


By: Christine Candora-Hickey, Artistic Guide

Box - Finished size: 2" x 1.5"
Charm - Finished size: 2" x 1"

This tote bag charm is a great piece of art-on-the-go.  Attach it to your tote bag or purse for a little something to lift you up during the day.  Make a matching gift box to give as a gift to an art buddy so that she can attach it to her tool tote!


Just Be (Studio Calico)
Polka dots, distressed stripes (Black Market Paper Society)
Shimmer white cardstock (Stampin' Up!)
Embossing ink (Ranger)
Memories black dye ink (Stewart Superior)
Primo pearl clay (Sculpey)
Carbon Black acrylic paint (Golden)
Assorted glass beads
Matchbox (recycled is best)
Silver tone craft wire
Jewelry findings
Glue stick (UHU)
Red line tape
Non-stick craft mat (Ranger)
Paint brush
Wire snips
Flat-nose pliers
Tissue blade


Gift Box:


  1. Slide out the "drawer" portion of the matchbox.  Set aside.
  2. Carefully pull apart the matchbox cover so that it is one flat strip of cardboard.  Cover with distressed black scrapbook paper.  Adhere scrapbook paper with glue stick.
  3. Repeat above directions with drawer portion of matchbox.  Carefully pull apart the drawer so that is is one flat strip of cardboard.  Cover with polka dot scrapbook paper.  Adhere scrapbook paper with glue stick.
  4. Reassemble both parts of the matchbox.  Use red line tape for strength.
  5. Stamp "Just Be" with black dye ink on shimmer white cardstock.  Cut out and adhere with glue stick to the top of the matchbox.



  1. Begin making charm by conditioning clay.  To condition, break off a portion of clay and start rolling and squeezing in your hands.  The heat of your hands will soften the clay.  
  2. Once softened, roll the clay into a ball approximately 1" in diameter.  Place ball of clay on craft mat and flatten to 1/4" thickness.  [I simply used the cover of my ink pad to flatten the ball].
  3. Ink the "Just Be" stamp with embossing ink.  The embossing ink will act as a "release" so that the clay will not stick to the stamp.  Stamp the image into the clay using firm, even pressure.
  4. Remove stamp and trim around image using a tissue blade.  Tissue blades are extremely flexible making them perfect for trimming around curved images.  An exacto knife will work as well.
  5. Make a hole for stringing the bead.  Enter the bead from the side using an awl - do not go all the way through the bead.  Turn the bead and enter from the other side with the awl.  This will create neat holes.
  6. Bake clay in oven according to manufacturer's instructions.
  7. When cool, the bead is ready for a wash of color.  Mix one drop of black acrylic paint with 5 drops of water.  Quickly brush on and immediately wipe off.  Applying the wash will allow the words on the bead to "pop" and come into view.
  8. Once bead is dry, it is ready for stringing.  Cut a length of wire about 8". 
  9. Thread what will be your bottom bead first.  Position it in the middle of the wire and then bring both ends of the wire together.  Give the wire one twist to secure the bead in place.  
  10. Continue stringing the remaining beads, but now you are stringing them with the wire doubled.  Be mindful of the length of the box when choosing and stringing beads.  Also keep in mind that you will still need to add your finding.  
  11. To attach the lobster claw finding, separate the end of the wire.  Thread one wire through the finding coming from one direction, and thread the other wire through the finding coming from the opposite direction.  Carefully pull the wires so that the finding sits close to the last bead strung, but not touching it.
  12. To finish off, wrap the ends of the wire around the space between the last bead strung and finding.  Use wire snips to cut any excess.  Use the flat nose pliers to flatten the ends against the wrap.
  13. Place charm inside gift box and present to a friend!

Christine is giving away this Charm and Gift Box to one lucky winner!  Be sure to leave a comment at the end of the project for your chance to win.  Drawing will be held next week. 


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7 Responses »

  1. Thanks Bea
    I am looking forward to recieving it and enjoying it. Thanks again Christine

  2. And the winner of Christine's wonderful Gift Box and Tote Bag Charm is Debbie! Congratulations, Debbie!!!! Christine will send your package as soon as possible. Enjoy!

  3. That is fantastic!! thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Christine
    What a kool idea. I like decorating my tool tote so this is a great idea for that or anything else you can think to attach it to as well. I like the idea of the matching gift bow too

  5. I love projects using recycled matchboxes. Thanks for this great idea.

  6. This is a unique idea and would make for lovely purse attachments too or even one's own zipper pulls depending on the stamp you used with it! This one would go so well with my current bag 🙂

  7. Oh Christine - this is so cool. I'm going to give this a go.