Coming up with ideas for upcycling old items can be fun, and reusing vintage hard-sided suitcases is no exception. Whether you find suitcases at flea markets or online auction sites, they are ready-made for use as storage containers or furniture. Pretty up even the ugliest suitcase with découpage, paint, stickers, fabric, paper or self-sticking shelf paper.
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Ditch the plastic bins and consider upcycling vintage suitcases into craft storage containers. First decide what kinds of materials you want to store in your suitcase. For example, store scrapbooking supplies to take on road trips and make your next scrapbook part of your journey instead of what happens after the vacation. Line the suitcase with fabric or pretty paper. Attach items such as glue sticks and paper punches inside the suitcase lid with hook-and-loop fastenerss or make fabric or paper pockets. Use hosiery storage partitions as needed in the body of the suitcase to organise supplies or create straps by stapling or gluing upcycled belts to the suitcase sides.
Decorate the outside of a suitcase with pictures from old magazines or sewing patterns. Clean and dry the surface, cut out the pictures and glue them to the outside and even the inside of the suitcase. Use your fingertips or a rubber brayer to smooth out air bubbles. Wipe off any glue that seeps from behind the cutouts with a damp cloth. Let dry thoroughly. Apply lacquer coats using a finish such as Mod Podge. Let dry completely between each coat. The number of layers needed depends on your project and the finish look desired.
Hard-sided suitcases make great little tables. Cut a piece of particleboard or MDF to fit the dimensions of the inside of the suitcase. Angle the corners if necessary to accommodate a suitcase with rounded edges. Place the MDF inside the open suitcase and then flip them both over onto the top of a tall stool. Place a top plate in each suitcase corner and secure with screws that are long enough to go through the plate, the suitcase, and half the thickness of the MDF. Twist table legs onto the plates through the centre hole.
Make a hard-sided suitcase into a chair by first attaching legs to a suitcase as described for the suitcase table. Cut a piece of MDF to fit in suitcase lid as well. Secure suitcase back by attaching two large pieces of L-shaped steel with screws to back and bottom of suitcase. Take two pieces of foam thicker than the suitcase depth by at least three to four inches and cut them to fit just inside the suitcase. Lay the foam on pretty fabric and cut out with at least a six-inch allowance all around. Insert the foam into the suitcase, place fabric on top and tuck in. Glue fabric to inner sides of suitcase.
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