Many handbags and purses use leather as a primary fabric, including for the main pouch, as trim, and for the handles. Over time leather may crack or break, especially if the purse is used to hold heavy items or if it is used excessively. You can repair leather handles that have separated from the body of the purse by using leather glue, super glue, or wood glue, all which can be purchased at a hardware store or home repair store.
Use a small misting bottle filled with water to gently dampen the leather at the site where it needs to be repaired. Be sure that the leather is only slightly wet, not soaked, as leather is very absorbent and shows water stains easily. Leather that is too wet will also not hold adhesive, such as glue.
Place a small amount of glue at the point on the leather bag where the handle needs to be reconnected or on the handle itself if only the handle portion broke. Do not use excessive amounts of glue.
Reconnect the handle to the point on the bag where you have just placed the glue or reconnect the broken parts of the handle together.
Use a ribbon or string to tie down the leather handle at the point where it is now reconnected. Use this method if the handle itself broke in two to hold the glue in place while it dries. If the area where the break in the leather occurred cannot be tied with string, such as if the handle broke off the surface of the purse, lay the purse flat and set a heavy object, such as a book, on the area where the leather has been glued back to the purse. This will press the leather down on the glue and hold it in place while the glue dries.
Allow to dry thoroughly, typically around 24 hours, before removing the string or book. The handle should be ready for use.
Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.