Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Vintage Suitcase into Mobile Studio

Once only a lonely lost piece of luggage
Now this cutie is full of gift tag and correspondence goodies...

I like a good vintage suitcase, but after you aquire 40 or 50 of these little darlings it might begin to occur to you that you can and quite frankly MUST give them a second incarnation of true utility, or buy them their own house or something.
While thrifting in my old hometown got a sweet little green case and I was reminded of of something I saw on Koreana's Flickr that she had scanned from a Cottage Living (I think) article.

So I gutted the little darling.
It was yucky, wear gloves.

cute on the outside...groddy on the inside. But for 2.00, who cares?

And now my step by step Tutorial on the vintage case upgrade.

You will need
a stripped out vintage suitcase
paper bag or large paper to trace a pattern. sturdy is better
fancy paper or fabric- amount varies by case size I used 2 large sheets of paper
foam core enough to make an insert for case lid and bottom
a large piece of poster board- enought to wrap around the sides of the case top and bottom
I used bias tape for an accent trim
flat elastic for tool loops

spray adhesive
hot glue

craft knife and scissors

1)Use a paper bag to make a template of the lid and bottom of the suitcase.
2) Use the template to cut the shape from foam core board or corrugated cardboard.

3) Lay out the tools the way you'd like them to hang in the case. Mark the back of the board where you will add elastic loops. (In the final design, the large pinking shears were too heavy for this lid insert.)

4) Cut the paper extra large round the board

and clip notches in the overhang, so it will lay properly as it's folded over.

5) Mount with spray adhesive. Fold over edges and let dry

6) Cut strips of the poster board to fit into the edges of the bottom and the edges the lid of the case. Cut paper to cover; enought to fold over the top and have 2-3 inched of notching clips on the bottom. ( Similar to lid insert.) Glue to cardboard, I used the spray adhesive.

7) Fit sides to inside of case.

You might need to slice 3 or 4 really deep notches to go around rounded corners.

Hot glue into place. Notched ends can be secured with white glue or more hot glue,

8) Apply bias tape as an accent and to hide little goofs.

9)Now lay out the tools and add the elastic loops to hold them in place. I pierced the paper and board witha sharp clean standard screw driver, and fed the elastic through from the front to prevent paper fraying. Mine are secured with knots and hot glue on the back side.

10)Hot glue in lid and bottom panels

11)Fill and thrill to the joy of your super custom stylish craft case.

12) Decorate the outside of the case as you see fit. Mine got a floral racing stripe decoupaged to it. But a stencil could have been really cool too...

Wanna be penpals? I got the paper.

Smooches dolls,


Julie H said...

What a great idea! If I didn't already have a ton of scrapbooking totes I would so be doing this :)

willywagtail said...

Love it! Innovation feeds the soul!

ee.spenner said...

FAN-frickin'-tastic. Love the idea. I know what I'm doing this weekend!

Maddie Kertay- The Domestic Anarchist said...

Ohhhh.. I have one like that it is a flaming shade of orange!.. I use mine to hold my soldering tools. But yours looks ever so much more cool and hip.

I understand how they can be addictive, but I was strong and passed one up this afternoon since while cuteish and blue on the outside I has a strong feeling that it might have been used to ferry stolen organs across from border countries given the way the inside looked!


Anonymous said...

This is so clever. You never cease to amaze me! NEVER!

ittybittyandpretty said...

you totally ROCK!!!
everything you do is so creative and wonderful, even though i will probably never ever do this i just love it!!

Anonymous said...

This is really impressive! Great tutorial!

Anonymous said...

I'd be your penpal - I've got lots of practice too! And the finished suit case looks great, I like how you wrapped the matches in matching paper!

Shelley Noble said...

Wonderful! You are the best, Betty.

Pam @ Frippery said...

Love this! Pam

sulu-design said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. You totally rock. This project is awesome, as is your tutorial for it.

a paper {life} said...

Wow....you are one talented person. I can only aspire to see what you see.

Thanks for sharing
Cheryl S

Anonymous said...

You are so awesome, I *love* this! I'll be linking.

Regina said...

Love this! Now I'll have to add suitcase to my thrift list.

fawndear said...

I just found your blog and already know I'm going to be visiting often. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.

Angelina said...

What a cool project! I've always been intimidated by relining old suitcases. I wish I had seen this tutorial years ago when I had a small collection of them.

Anonymous said...

you are amazing. has anyone offered you your own television show yet? you totally need one.

Anonymous said...

You rock! Thanks for the tute!

Miss Rascal said...

Love it!
I did some revamping on my wicker cases last year and it made such a difference.
Keep up the good work!

Melissa of {craftgasm} said...

How lovely! I've got two old cases that I currently use to house my projects of the moment, but this would make them SO much prettier.

I think they'll soon BECOME my projects of the moment...

Leslie said...

Pretty great idea. Thanks for the process photos too.

amy dame said...

this is amazing! i'm not into the carriers that i see at the craft store, they just feel boring and plain to me, but this! this i'm into! i have a few (i had to cut down my collection!) vintage suitcases that hold supplies for certain specific projects already, now i need to make them all pretty!

thank you!

Kelly McCants said...

I love it! I have a great big suit case that I use as a side table, I could do this so it multi tasks for me.

Michele said...

How cute is that!? Thanks for the tutorial... always so helpful. ~Michele

laura said...

Oh wow. I see I'm not the only one totally inspired by you. This is so well done!

p.s. have you see the new trailer for Where The Wild Things Are...I was skeptical, but the trailer knocks me out! I know you like children's books too...so I thought I'd let you know just in case.

Providence Handmade said...

LOVE it! I made one for my daughter's art supplies but it never occurred to me to make one for myself! Where did you get that gorgeous paper?

You can call me Betty, or Bethany, or Beth ...Just don't call me late for dinner. said...

Hi Stephanie!

I got it at the Paper Source. It is just their lovely thick gift wrap.


Oh... Mercy said...

I love, love, love this- It is just what I need.
I have 3 suitcases that are just storing things right now- lots of family pictures and whatnot that I am going to scan to disc and then send the originals to my brother.
I am moving to a new apartment and paring down, then within a year I am moving to Australia and paring down further- I've been thinking about how to organize my craft and art supplies- There are categories of course- fabric and bead stuff, paper stuff and painting stuff- and /wire/metal stuff- (guess I need to get one more case)
so many different tools, work stations equipment and supplies!!!
I'll be destashing on etsy but-but-but- its soooo hard to get rid of some stuff.

Thanks so much for this- Its a big help.


Katie Cannon said...

Oh my goodness this would be great for my small crochet projects. I love to work with embroidery floss for small floral items. I would be able to take it anywhere. I think I need to make a thrift shop run tomorrow. Thanks for the great idea.

Geek+Nerd said...

I just found a great old make up case that's in need of some TLC - this is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. I saw a little suitcase - very chi chi - made up to be a first knitting or sewing or tea party kit for a small child (can't remember which). It cost around $80. So your project lends itself to gifts that are based on assemblages of cute objects.....
eeloh at eeloh.wordpress.com

SweetMeat Sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SweetMeat Sunshine said...

This is spectacular! I have a suitcase that I have been itching to make into a crafty carrier. I searched and searched looking for ways to redo the inside and yours is the best yet! THANKS :)

TheresaK said...

I just stumbled across your blog...awesome tutorial!!! it is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God. Thanks for this, Bitter B.

I picked up a very old cosmetics case outside an op shop (that's Australian for Thrift store) yesterday.

I am gutting it now. It is a hideous, painstaking time-consuming process.

You're right .... it's very grotty work! Espècially when you're taking out rusty staples.

I tried taking out a line of super-tough twine stitching, then realised the case would probably fall apart if I did that. Slowly does it.

I need to remove some paper that is very well glued to the aluminium tubing on the inside.

I think I'll use eucalyptus oil on a damp rag. It's quite a learning process.

The exterior is a horrible buff colour. I want to see if leather tint will work on it - you know, the stuff used to dye shoes. I'd like to get it a bright red.

One thing is clear, they don't make em like they used to!

I think I'll wash my hands now and put it away for next time. And get on with something that will give me a little more in the way of instant gratification!

I can see an end in sight. Just not today...If it ends up looking anything like yours, I'll be very happy.

I will send before and after photos, or post em on my blog.


Amy said...

This is my first time at your blog and I love this so much! I will be making one for mobile knitting, and I think I'll link to you on my brand new blog too.



Green Girl said...

hi Betty,
i made a post on vintage suitcases today, and im including your creation. this is a cool idea to make from a vintage suitcase. hope you could drop by, http://theshopbug.blogspot.com/ thanks :)

Devona said...

I found you via Recycled Crafts at Craft Gossip. I really love this case. I just made one, too, using fabric to line it instead of paper. I also made a grid of cardboard covered with fabric to make separate compartments on the bottom of the case so that I could keep supplies separate. My case has become my favorite thing. Now I want more. If I make another I will try it out with paper.

I love the pattern you chose. It really complements the color of the case exterior.

Unknown said...

fab idea

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha...so this is what I'm saving all those vintage travel cases for? Lovely idea!
I've been afraid to tear out the old yucky linings, now I can go at them and jazz up all my collection.
Thank you for showing how it's done.
Time to buy more of those little cases....yes!

Molly said...

I LOVE this idea! I linked to it from my own blog:


Thanks a bundle, just very, very awesome!!!


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I, too, linked this idea over at my blog. This idea is one of my favorite uses for a vintage suitcase. If you think of all the money we've spent on carrying totes for our crafts, this is a bargain...and much more creative. Thank you so much for this tutorial. What a great contribution!

日月神教-向左使 said...
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Shannon in Little Rock said...

I knew that if I hoarded train cases long enough, I would eventually find someone to show me how to redo the insides!! You will be famed in story and song, my friend! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and creativity.

Christina-2hourparty.com said...

I've been thinking about this project since I first saw it a few months back on Craftzine. I just got back from Goodwill and found not one- but TWO- awesome suitcases. I can't wait to share my final project with you! ... if you want to see it, that is.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Thanks for this wonderful idea! I am going to be working on mine this weekend. Very excited. I'm an Aussie living in the US for a couple of years, I love that I will have a little piece of America to take home and keep up with my craft projects!

Anonymous said...

The Restless Muse says:
Have been looking for a way to do this. Thanks for the tutorial ..I'm off to Michales!

Train Cases said...

Exclusive and interesting post.. thanks for sharing .

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