Hello, everyone! I’m Ayumi, your favorite otaku writer here on MANGA.TOKYO.
This is the third article about Ita-bags I write! You can read the other two here:
Today, I want to show you how to craft an Ita-bag from scratch! There are various types of Ita-bags, from small to large and in different styles and shapes, but the one I chose is a small pen pouch size that you can keep in your carrying bag. We don’t want to go to the heavy stuff right away. You can hide it in your regular bag and go straight to an event or collaboration cafe! It’s not heavy either, and I recommend making one like this. The base pouch is sold at Animega shops and bookstores all over Japan (send us a message on our FB page if you want to find out how to get one overseas.)
What you need
・Showa-Note’s Mise pouch (Mise Pochette)
This is a very convenient item for making your first Ita-bag! In general, you can freely make any bag, pouch, and purse into Ita-bags. You can combine a plain tote bag with a clear vinyl bag sold at 100 yen shops as a base bag as well.
To prevent hurting people who accidentally bump into you and the badges attached to your bag, some kind of plastic protection is a must, which is why you can combine the bag with a clear vinyl bag over the top♪
You can open it with a zipper like this, so it’s easy to fix it later too!
・Items you want to attach to your bag
Special thanks to Yasutomo Arakita from Yowamushi Pedal for his contribution to this bag. I added some clear covers on each item too so they don’t get dirty. You can buy clear covers from shops like Animate or Lashinbang. The merchandise in the photo are part of my personal merchandise collection. Yup, my personal belongings.
・A character and your love for the series
This is a must-have. You can’t craft one without your love.
That’s all you need!
Showa-Note’s Mise Pouch has a zippered clear cover, so you don’t have to combine two bags for protection. (Mise is a pun for ‘to show’ and ‘to charm or to fascinate’ in Japanese.) Small pouches like this one won’t be a problem, but with a large tote bag, its total weight can be a huge pain when carrying it. So it’s great that you can make it lighter even for a bit using a base bag like this. Their Mise series bags are very convenient and thoughtful for Ita-bag beginners!
Let’s craft an Ita-bag
Now you have to decide on your arrangement: where to put your tin badges and keychains! I’d recommend placing the larger ones first.
This is my arrangement plan. I placed them all without attaching them to the bag first.
You can attach the strap or string of resin keychains to the back of a tin badge like this. If you want to attach a lot of keychains, you may want to use chain straps.
I think I like the position of this keychain. Now I’ll attach more tin badges! They sometimes stab my fingers and it hurts!
It took me only a short time since the pouch is really small! It looks better when you arrange the items packed closely together. Of course it depends on your taste, but some fans often place many copies of the same tin badge by buying the same item on ad infinitum basis, like I mentioned in the previous article.
It’s cute to have a character doll sticking out from your bag too! I usually place my Ita-bag like this on the table at the collaboration cafe, and appeal who I’m rooting for to other fans there, hoping to receive an item exchange request from someone. I usually hide my Ita-bag inside my carrying bag, but it’s an unspoken rule to show it off when going to an event or Ikebukuro, the sacred town of female otaku fans (aka otome or fujoshi).
What’s best about it is that it’s really fun to carry your favorite character with you and to appeal your love to others. If you buy merchandise but you have no idea what to do with it, or if you want an original pouch or bag of your favorite character, please try crafting one for yourself too!
The shops and stores you can buy Ita-bag materials
100 yen shops such as Daiso: They sell various clear vinyl bags and tote bags. It’s great for those who want to try crafting a casual Ita-bag with whatever merchandise they currently own!
Animate: They sell various Ita-bag materials from chain straps to vinyl covers that you’ll need for your Ita-bag crafting, and they also sell special bags called Ita-mate, sold particularly for Ita-bag crafting. They already have vinyl protection, so you can craft a genuine Ita-bag very easily. Of course they sell character merchandise too.
Tokyu Hands: Wise women in pursuit of originality will find their way to this place. They sell materials that you really need for DIY projects. So, it may be a bit tough for beginners to find materials here since you’ll need to have a good taste and skills, but if you want others to be impressed and praise your Ita-bag, this is the place. The materials sold here vary from simple items to really serious ones. I get the impression that the Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro has a larger variety of Ita-bag related materials compared to other branches.
Animega: Many of their franchises sell Showa-Note’s Mise series bags, and they also sell various merchandise and lotteries. It’s a convenient place to buy items for Ita-bag crafting.
Share your Ita-bag with us
There are many other shops that sell Ita-bag related materials scattered around everywhere, especially in Ikebukuro and Akihabara in Tokyo, or Nipponbashi in Osaka. It would also be fun to go hunting what you seek on your own by checking out many different shops. When you manage to craft a bag after all that effort of hunting materials on your own, you’ll probably find your attachment to your Ita-bag magnified ♡ And you even wouldn’t mind the weight of the bag!
I’ll continue to carry my own heavy Ita-bag, no matter how much it hurts my shoulders! Please try crafting one yourselves! And if you find an otaku carrying an Ita-bag, please don’t hesitate and talk to them! I’m sure they’ll be happy!
If you have an Ita-bag or decide to craft one, share it with us in the comment below!