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A few months ago I showed you a preview of the camera carrier insert I sewed. I didn't hold on the tutorial by accident, I actually wanted to give my honest review (and changes I would make to improve) along with a tutorial. I've been using the carrier for months now and it works great with the exception of some details I will describe so you can improve your own version (if you decide to make one for yourself)

camera carrier tutorial

I have to say that I completely love my camera carrier, and changing purses is super easy! My carrier fits in all my purses, in some tighter than others, so when I need to carry more than just my camera I simply choose a bigger handbag, works beautifully!

camera purse insert

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The problems I've had so far with my carrier are the following:

  • The outside felt is getting a little worn, from getting contact with a lot of different liners from my bags (If I were to make it again, I would use a cotton or outdoor canvas on top of the outside felt piece)
  • The handles, even though they are very pretty, they are not very resistant, so if  I were to make it again, I would reinforce the traps and stay with an old fashion strap instead of trying the “prettier” version I did for mine. but if you like them I will explain how to reinforce them too =]

So now to the materials and instructions, because you should make one for you too!

For the main body you will need:

  • 2 pieces of 24″ by 18″ piece of your choice of color felt or fleece
  • Add 1 piece of 24″ by 18″ canvas/outside fabric if you decide to reinforce yours (recommended)
  • 1/2″ foam
  • About 20″ long piece of Velcro, cut in pieces of 4″ long.
  • Needle, Embroidery floss and scissors





C- For the handles, I would recommend you to just make plain reinforced ones with fabric and using rope for the inside because the handles are what carries all the weight when you exchange purses. But if you like this shape of the handle I will describe how to make them, just add rope to the inside before you close it (that will reinforce it enough)

  1. You will need to cut 2 pieces of 5×12″ of felt.
  2. The fold it 3 inches from the bottom.
  3. Mark the center and also mark a 45-degree angle like the picture shows.
  4. Sew 1 1/8″ wide to each side (I measure straight not the angle)
  5. Repeat that on all 4 corners, turn inside out, place rope inside and pin to topstitch.
  6. Topstitch both sides and your handle is ready!

D- after the handles are ready is time to add the loop side velcro to the inside part of the body piece. I used 4 pieces of 4″ long. I sewed them in the center of the right side, on the front (the one that has 2) I sewed them at 7″ and 3 1/2″ from the right side, and for the back I sewed it at 7″ from the right side (notice that the first front and the back match)

E- Now it's time to sew the foam to the inside felt piece (because we like a clean outside) so pin it in the center, remember that you will be placing the foam on the wrong side of your inside piece, and in order to sew on top of the foam I used tissues that I pin on top of the foam, that way your feet will not get caught by the foam.

F- After you are done sewing you will have to carefully rip the tissues off, I had some little pieces stay, but I didn't care because that will be covered by the outside fabric anyways.

G- As a last step before closing up, I added 2 pockets that are optional, I do use them for extra cards and my camera's remote control, so I would recommend them. For the left pocket I just added a 6″ wide piece to the side, and for the back pocket I use a leftover piece that fit perfect right after the velcro (about 7″ wide)

H- Now we need to make a sandwich with our pieces to start closing up. First, we need to place our inside body piece and on top of it the handles, make sure you pin them right in the center and leave about 1/4″ to the outside.

I- Next up is our outside body piece, in the case you are planning on adding an outside canvas piece for the outside you need to place it before the felt with the wrong side facing up. after that place the felt piece and shown in the picture.


J- Sew along the 4 top parts, where the handles stick up and the other 2 opposite sides (you will end up with holes on the sides, and that's good)

K- Turn inside out your body main piece and it should look like mine =] topstitch all the top edges and reinforce the handles by passing more than once over them.

L- Now we can insert the 4 pieces of foam where they are supposed to be and pin really close to the foam so that you can put the sides together more comfortably.


M- Pin the sides together and sew as close as you can to the foam. This part can get a little tricky because it's super thick and the foam on the side does not help, but go slow and with a lot of patience =]

N- Once you have the 4 sides you can trim it, but leave at least 1/4″ after the seam to avoid any stability issues. After that I hand-stitched the edges with matching embroidery floss, you can get as fancy as you want with the edge =]

O- Silly me forgot to take pictures of the insert, but below you will see a graphic of the pieces you will need and I will describe the process below.


A- First you need to cut your 1/2″ foam pieces for the container (I will describe the dividers later on)

  • 2 pieces of 10 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ (front and back)
  • 2 pieces of 4 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ (sides)
  • 1 piece of 10 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ (bottom)

B- After that, you will need to cut 2 layers of felt (the outside and the inside of your carrier) plus the outside fabric if you decide to reinforce the outside. To do so I placed all my foam pieces 1/2 an inch apart and traced, then added 1 inch on the outside like shown in the picture.




The pieces for your insert are:

  • 3 pieces of 3×6″ foam (center divider)
  • 1 piece of 6×6″ foam (full divider)
  • 1 pieces of 7 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ felt (center divider A) fold it to make a 7 1/2″ by 5 1/4″ piece
  • 1 pieces of 4″ by 10 1/2″ felt (center divider B) fold it to make a 4″ by 5 1/4″ piece
  • 1 piece of 7″ by 10 1/2″ felt (full divider) fold it to make a 7″ by 5 1/4″ piece

For the insert you are going to start by making 3 tubes, simply fold your pieces as instructed in the material list and sew along the bottom parts of the 5 1/4″ tall, like in this illustration:

camera inser graphic

camera carrier inside piece

I would recommend you to check on your inside pieces before closing and adding the velcro just in case, if your felt or fleece is thicker or thinner than mine there can be a little adjustment that you should make (but they should be minimal)
And there you go! your camera can be protected and carried more comfortably everywhere!

camera purse

camera purse

camera purse

camera purse

camera purse

camera purse

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial, I know a lot of people were anxiously waiting for it! Sorry it took me so long, but that's what I get for having such bad morning sickness hehe =] Now I have to work on finishing the Mr. and Mrs Joyful ducks, hopefully that one will be ready in the next couple of weeks.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

* This tutorial is provided for personal use only. If you wish to sell items made with this tutorial please purchase a limited production license.
Check the Site policy at the bottom for further information, Thank you!



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Joy Kelley is a Chilean Designer & lettering Artist. Mom to 3 little boys. Crafter. Pattern lover. Color obsessed. Lemon pie dependent. And the hand behind the HowJoyful Studio & HowJoyful Shop. Read more about her & the blog here →

63 replies
  1. Cece
    Cece says:

    YAY! I’ve been waiting for you to post this since I have a regular purse I would love to make into a camera safe bag…now I just need to find time to actually sew. :)

  2. Diane | An Extraordinary Day
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    Wow!! The carrier looks fabulous! What a great idea, too. It’s sooo much work to put together a detailed tutorial – thank you. I’m pinning this now so I can try it when I get a little extra time.
    Hope you feel better soon.

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      You are very welcome Diane, it does take time to make things detailes but I think its worth it =] Thank you!

  3. Laura
    Laura says:

    What a great idea! And it looks really cute too. I will have to try this if I can find the time. My camera bag is so clumpy and awkward. Thanks :)

  4. Ann
    Ann says:

    Love this! I don’t carry a camera with me, but it has given me a great idea on a purse organizer. I tried to make one last year using plastic canvas as the support. This is much better!

  5. sande
    sande says:

    this is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for!! thank you so much, you brilliant woman!!!

  6. Tina
    Tina says:

    I was so excited to find this tutorial! (thanks to pinterest) I’ve been searching for a long time for something like this that and I gave up thinking maybe I could try to make my own, I like the option to switch bags too. Now thanks to you that will be much easier. Great tutorial and details, you’re the best!

  7. Anni
    Anni says:

    I was waiting for this tutorial and you really explained everything so awesomely!! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us, you rock!

  8. Vivian Tyson
    Vivian Tyson says:

    Thanks. I bought a tote and wanted to buy an insert. After seeing this, I’ll make my own. Thanks for putting the tutorial together.

  9. Mollie
    Mollie says:

    I’ve seen a few people do this, but this was the BEST tutorial for it.

    And it helped that we have the same camera! =]

  10. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    Beautiful tutorial! The steps are so nicely outlined. Thank you!
    This might be a dumb question, but what are the dimensions when the carrier is finished? Thank you again!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Hi Melanie, the finished carrier’s dimensions are about 10 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ (just like the main pieces of foam) =]

  11. Audrey
    Audrey says:

    So very cool…thanks for the instructions! Now to find that “perfect” purse on sale/ebay (refuse to pay full-price at Sears). But I have a question…why did you choose felt rather than the typical nylon-type fabric used in traditional camera bags? Thanks!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      I actually wanted something very soft and I had a tons of this felt laying around, so not much of reason other than that. Have a lovely day!

  12. abby
    abby says:

    you make this tutorial look easy and do-able! you did an excellent job and i can’t wait to try it out myself!!

  13. balik
    balik says:

    really great Idea, but camera gear would be little more secured if there were a zipper on top.
    good work.

  14. Svend
    Svend says:

    You’ve inspired me! What a cool idea. I have two camera bags but this gives me lots of ideas. So often you just want to take a regular bag with all your other gear but mixing the camera up with it is not a good idea. On a ski trip recently I broke a UV filter because the camera was in a plain unpadded bag.
    I’ll have to hijack the wife’s machine… again! Last time it was for a file bag, the time before that it was a bag for my fishing gear.

    A question. The last time I tried to sew Velcro it was too tough or thick and the tread kept breaking. Is there a special type I should buy? Or some special thread?

  15. Niky
    Niky says:

    Hi! I just received my first DSLR and I was searching for a cute and handy bag when I found this.. Your project is simply wonderful!
    I just wanted to ask one thing: have you ever put inside it your camera with a lens on? Does it fit good?
    Thanks again for sharing!!

  16. Nienke
    Nienke says:

    Awesome tutorial! I made my own carrier, see pictures on my blog :).
    Mine didn’t turn out as neat as yours though, sewing the foam to the fleece was hard! Even with a walking foot and a Bernina! :-/ But I absolutely love the carriere, although it seems a bit small with the lens on the camera. Your tutorial was really good to follow, the only part I didn’t get were the (beautiful!) handles. Left me a bit clueless, haha :).

  17. Samuel H
    Samuel H says:

    Very cool!

    Except you shouldn’t use polyurethane foam: it degrades with time, and while doing so it emits gases that can damage your glass.

    Use poliethylene foam instead (or any other stable foam).

  18. Muhammad Farooqi
    Muhammad Farooqi says:

    hahaha.. so easy.. so beautiful.. i’d rather love to put it’s cover and will use some solid more durable outer shell for my camera.. i just bought a camera a few days back.. and didn’t get it’s bag yet.. but this tutorial compels me to make my own. Thank you sister.

    btw.. can you please put some tutorial for the straps (neck strap for camera) and (hand strap as well)..
    Thank you

  19. Jen
    Jen says:

    I love this! I’m so impressed you just came up with this, and I like it so much more than my camera bag as is. But I’m wondering about felt or fleece being a little linty for my lenses. Might try it with a more camera friendly fabric? Or is this not a problem you’ve come across? Just hate the thought on lint trapped deep in a lens.

  20. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    Super excited to see this on pintrest, I have been wanting one of these! Thanks for tutorial, can’t wait to check out the rest of your blog!!

  21. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    You are a genius!!!! If I could sew I would make this! Of course, it would be better if I had a great camera.
    Thank you for your tutorial. I’m sure it has been a great benefit for many.

  22. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    Amazing! But could you clarify how the handles were made? I’m trying to make this now but that step has me stumped!

  23. Megan Oot
    Megan Oot says:

    I really appreciate you posting this. I just got my first nice camera, and this will ensure that it stays safe.

  24. Eva Mari K Bjørgum
    Eva Mari K Bjørgum says:

    This is AWESOME! I’m making art totes for my grandchildren and wondering how to make an adjustable insert for THE artist among them I googled and here you are!

    Thank you so SO much! I have linked to this tut’ on a sewing website I belong to as well. Again thank you so much for being so generous!! :D

    Best regards from Eva Mari in Norway :)

  25. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    When you cut the fabric for the handle, cut 18 inches rather than 12. 12 inches does not work, but 18 is perfect. The handle section is a little tough to follow.

  26. Viviana
    Viviana says:

    Hola! Estaba buscando bolsos de cámaras en Amazon y me salió este diseño… lo encontré genial! De todas formas lo voy a intentar, cuando encuentre tiempo.

    Otra cosa, me parece aún mejor que seas Chilena! Sigo blogs de otras partes y nunca me he topado con una chilena. Me ha encantado tu blog!

    Sería genial si podemos seguir en contacto y quizás intercambiar ideas. Tengo un blog de hace un tiempo, pero recién ahora lo estoy intentando revivir. Veré que pasa.

    Un abrazo desde Viña. Saludos!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Oh! que genial que me encontraste! no hay muchos chilenos en la blogosphere huh? que genial encontrar a otra compatriota, te envio un saludo grande! si me gustaria mucho estar en contacto, estas en Instagram? mucha suerte con tu blog!

  27. Nana
    Nana says:

    Hi I’m just a kid who bought a camera and the carrier is too expensive to buy!! I really want to make this but with straps and a zipper but the question is how do you do that?? Btw your carrier looks awesome and I want to keep it for myself because mine will look hideous. Pls answer fast it’s an emergency :p

  28. Shea
    Shea says:

    I was wondering what the dimensions of this are. I want to make this, but I also plan to sew my own bag to place it in and I wasn’t sure what size bag to make. Thanks.

  29. Amaia
    Amaia says:

    Wow, so cute! I definitely want to make this little bag for my camera since I find all standard camera bags so ugly and unpractical! I want to carry my camera with me most of the time and having it in this little carry on bag is just perfect. Thanks for sharing it!

  30. BabyBumpBeyond Heather
    BabyBumpBeyond Heather says:

    I found your blog through Pinterest, and first off, I have to say, I LOVE you header! Your blog has a great design!

    Second, this is a fabulous tutorial! Thank you for posting!

  31. Dayna Lee
    Dayna Lee says:

    I’ve made a few liners like these and I’ve learned that not all foams are created equal and some can be downright dangerous (to the camera). The ordinary cushion foam that they sell at the sewing store is great for seat cushions but not the best choice for camera bags. It’s too soft and compresses too easy to protect against a hard blow with a sharp hard object. That type of foam deteriorates rapidly and can vent gases that can be harmful to camera lenses. It also gives off a fine dust that can work through fabric… and it’s sticky dust! Get that dust on your camera sensor and it’ll take a trip to the repair shop to get it off.

    The foam dividers in my Tamrac camera back are much firmer, so I was looking for something like that.

    Then I found a sheet of packing material that has the same firmness and stiffness as the camera bag dividers.

    It took some research to find out what the material is but I finally identified it as “closed cell polyethylene foam”

    It’s stiffer than the common rubbery foam, so it creates a more rigid structure that retains its shape. It’s also a lot more firm; it does not compress easy and can protect against a sharp blow with a hard object. The material does not vent any harmful gases or create dust. And it does not break down over time the way cushion foam does.

    Its actually lighter than regular foam.

    In appearance the surface is slightly shiny with a bumpy orange peal texture. It feels smooth and slippery between the fingers. It cuts easily with a knife and because it does not compress it’s easy to cut into precise shapes and sizes.

    The problem is finding it. You cannot get it at craft stores or even the big packing supply companies like Uline do not carry it. I found industrial suppliers that carry it but they only sell it in large packs of sheets for several hundred dollars.

    You can see it at this supplier:

    click on any image and then scroll to images # 17 and #12 and you’ll know exactly what kind of foam I’m talking about.

    Unfortunately, they require a minimum $200 order.

    This kind of foam comes in wide range of firmness and density, so trying to find the right stuff online is a challenge. I really wanted to pinch it to make sure I was getting the right firmness and rigidity. I shopped around all the arts and craft and packaging stores but could not find it.

    Then I found a sleeping bag matte at Walmart for about $8, made of the material I was looking for. 3×6 ft in size so you can line quite a few bags. I made linings and dividers for two handbags and converted a cheap backpack into a camera backpack out of one camping matte. There are different kinds of mattes at Walmart , not all are polyethylene, so look the product up to make sure it’s polyethylene and not polyurethane or some thing else.

    This type of foam is far superior to the type you find at the craft stores. Now that I’ve found this, I’ll never buy another camera bag.

    I’ve also made customized inserts for regular handbag stuff. The standard handbag design is woefully inadequate so I’ve made inserts with special pockets for all the things that tend to get jumbled at the bottom of the bag. Now everything has its proper place.

    • Randomcreativity
      Randomcreativity says:

      Thank you for posting that, I thought of using mouse pads, but didn’t think to look in the camping department for a foam mat :)

  32. Randomcreativity
    Randomcreativity says:

    Thank you for the lovely tutorial – I am going to use your pattern as a guide to make a bag for my camera, which is a different size, and seeing how you have everything laid out is so helpful. Thanks!

  33. Purse Organizer
    Purse Organizer says:

    That is indeed very clever, I am surprised that they don’t make something like this although I imagine you couldn’t beat the price-point of doing it yourself but I also imagine that not everyone is as gifted in crafting as yourself! Would you feel comfortable making 30-50 for us? If you’re looking for more “purse organizer” ideas take a look at;

  34. Terri
    Terri says:

    Thanks so much for posting this tutorial! Because of it I was inspired to pick up a $20 pleather hobo bag from Walmart and with less than $5 of 1/2″ padding and some scraps of fabric I had around from a quilt I’d made last year I now have a stunning new handbag that I can’t wait to use at my next shoot.

  35. Filip
    Filip says:

    Your tutorial inspired me to make such a bag insert myself. As my sewing skills are pretty limited my carrier does not look as pretty and professional as yours…..but it does the job. Thank you so much!

    Greetings from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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