Fake Your Own Céline Bag

For champagne tastes on a juice-box budget.


A women’s handbag holds her wallet, lipstick, phone, and keys (to her soul). Would you want someone to look into your soul to see that it’s CHEAP or FAKE? A status bag says so much more about you than words ever will. No one will care if you’re kind, creative, or good at math if that pouch of dead cow you’re carrying around is ugly! As Sylvia Plath once said,* “Meaningful relationships and empathy fade, but material objects are eternal.”

I’m a sucker for nice, well-designed things, but I think status symbols are gross; possessing something just because it proves that you can afford it seems so silly and boring. I once gave in to the allure of status handbags in middle school when some local flea-market vendors were selling “replica” designer handbags that I believed were real. I begged my parents to take me to what I thought was a secret gateway to a high-end luxurious lifestyle, where I could trick people into thinking I was wealthy and important for the going rate of two for $25. For a while, I carried around a black nylon tote with a Kate Spade label affixed to it and felt like I was the chicest 12-year-old around, but once the sloppily glued tag fell off I saw the bag for what it really was: a really ugly, poorly made bag.

I’ve noticed a lot of celebrities being photographed carrying around this handbag by Céline, which means I’ve also noticed a lot of regular people pining over it or buying counterfeit versions. Inspired by the fashion house’s name, I decided to make my own interpretation of the Céline bag. I probably won’t be able to afford a real designer handbag any time soon, but whatever—my heart WILL go on!

What you’ll need:

  • A plain cotton tote bag.
  • Iron-on transfer paper (available at craft and office supply stores or at Amazon)
  • An inkjet printer that prints colors (if you don’t have one, ask a friend or bring your paper to a copy center like Kinko’s and upload your photo there).
  • An iron.
  • A fabric marker (available at craft or fabric stores).
  • A pair of scissors.
  • A cherished photo of Celine Dion.


How to make it:

1. Find an image of Celine Dion (or anything, really) that meets your standards; I used this one. Download it and use a photo-editing program like Preview or GIMP to resize it to fit the dimensions of your tote bag. I sized it to about 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide.

2. Insert your iron-on transfer paper into the printer according to the instructions on the paper package (some of these kinds of papers need to be loaded into the feeder instead of the tray, or fed to the printer by hand one sheet at a time). I used a paper made from cotton fiber that irons on seamlessly.

3. Print your image onto the paper, and let it dry for about half an hour.


4. Then, cut out the portion of the picture that you want to use. Position it transfer on the tote bag to your liking.


5. Follow the ironing instructions on the paper’s package. I set the iron to the hottest cotton setting, without steam, and ironed for 20–30 seconds.

6. Once your transfer has fused to your bag, let it cool, then start adding details with a fabric marker. I referenced the features of the original Céline bag and drew freehand, focusing on the strap tabs, the curving sides, and the zipper. I drew the fake zipper about six inches below the straps.


If you’re not comfortable drawing freehand, start out by drawing lightly in pencil and erase any mistakes. Then go back over your sketch with the fabric marker. Be sure to mimic the original logo:


7. Listen to this song and carry your new bag proudly.


* Not really.


  • Marian July 18th, 2013 7:33 PM


  • garoons July 18th, 2013 7:36 PM

    this is so adorable!!
    I love DIYing, and this surely made me giggle.


  • Laia July 18th, 2013 7:37 PM


  • haleigh_ July 18th, 2013 7:38 PM

    Oh, you know I got love for affordable fashion and a good pun, all in one.

  • loonylizzy July 18th, 2013 7:56 PM

    oh my god this is perfect

  • AidaA July 18th, 2013 7:57 PM

    this is too amazing! You are too amazing. i love making DIY totes. I even made a Steve Buscemi (cos he’s a boss) tote!

    • Erika Wilder July 18th, 2013 10:10 PM

      Ha! ^ That’s funny, because I once made a Steve Buscemi pillowcase for a friend. I took it to a photocopy shop to make the heat transfer, and in a hilarious turn of events, the man who worked there misunderstood me and applied the transfer so that Steve was poking up from the open end of the pillowcase (rather than positioning it landscape-wise, so it would look as though he were sleeping next to my friend). The recipient of this gift made the most of the mistake: she cut neck and arm holes into the pillowcase and wore it as a sort of shirt.

      Next time, tote.

  • queserasera July 18th, 2013 9:48 PM

    oh man too cute to be true

  • Maryse89 July 18th, 2013 10:20 PM

    this is hilarious and amazing

    i have a t-shirt that i found in a thrift store with Celine Dion’s face on it (it’s from one of her world tours in 1998) that I wear all the time…so now I’m tempted to make this bag and wear it with that t-shirt and make people think I’m some sort of insane Celine Dion fangirl

  • AngstyTheBrave July 18th, 2013 10:50 PM

    Ah, puns, fashion, DIYs and Canadian singers. You never fail to amaze me Rookie.

    PS – Is it weird that I’m naming a character in a movie of mine after Tavi?

  • azultardis July 18th, 2013 10:58 PM

    omg this is perfect, I’ll definitely be doing one with 1D or the cast of criminal minds

  • carolineyall July 18th, 2013 10:58 PM

    Gabby, your DIY stuff is always so perfect! A++++++

  • FiveDimesForNineLives July 18th, 2013 11:09 PM

    Wow if this isn’t the cutest most creative thing I’ve seen. I want to make one now! It reminds me of the tee shirts based on designer brands that have puns for names.

  • Wen Yi July 18th, 2013 11:23 PM

    So much genius in a post!! I’ll be doing this ASAP

  • elliecp July 19th, 2013 2:05 AM

    This is brilliant <3

  • rowenabee July 19th, 2013 4:25 AM

    Genius! Ha!

  • sissiLOL July 19th, 2013 5:55 AM

    Very genial!!

  • Mary the freak July 19th, 2013 8:06 AM

    haha, this is so great! (:

  • Tavi July 19th, 2013 12:11 PM

    gabby this is my favorite

  • julalondon July 19th, 2013 2:31 PM

    I love Rookie for phrases like “For champagne tastes on a juice-box budget.” <3 <3 <3 This DIY is amazing by the way!

  • umi July 19th, 2013 10:26 PM

    i think im gonna make one with solange or g-dragon

  • heyashes July 21st, 2013 11:15 AM

    oh my god this is great! what about making a “birkin” bag? haha

  • Ginny July 22nd, 2013 12:18 AM

    every night in my dreams i see THIS DIY!!!!1 hah ah haah

  • kathryn-s July 23rd, 2013 3:36 PM

    i luv u rookie and gabby and celine dion

  • annabananaaa August 4th, 2013 11:19 AM

    lovely idea

  • annakarenina August 23rd, 2013 2:47 PM

    too hilarious