Sunday, April 1, 2012

Retro-fitted Suitcase

Pin It  A few weeks ago I blogged about my secret love for vintage suitcases, and posted a photo of a suitcase I had recently acquired.

Recycled crafts:  suitcase ready to be repurposed

Since then I have been working hard to turn that hot pink baby into a portable "Beading Station" for my jewelry making.  I hesitate to actually call it "making," since my main contributions to this hobby have only been "making repairs" and especially "making purchases."  But soon that will no longer be the case!  (Get it?  Case?  Hyuck hyuck.  :)

Here's a quick look at the finished product:

Recycled crafts:  finished repurposed suitcase
Pin It Retro Suitcase Beading Station
Before I start, you have to take a look at what I was dealing with:
Recycled crafts:  what will go into the repurposed suitcase
A huge pile of jewelry making stuff--boxes upon boxes!
And here is how the transformation went:
Recycled crafts:  beginning the repurposed suitcase
In the pictures it doesn't look too bad, in real life it was tattered and torn.  This all had to come out.
(FYI, check back in a few days to see what I did with the elasticized pocket!)

Recycled crafts:  the Skil Cutter used on the repurposed suitcase
My handy Skil Cutter--love this thing!  
It cut through the thick cardboard flap as well as the cardboard 
covered trim around all the edges.  

Recycled crafts:  removing lining from the repurposed suitcase
After the flap and edging, the fabric was easy to rip out.  (I should have used a mask to keep from breathing in the completely disgusting buildup of dust and who-knows-what-else that had accumulated underneath...)

Recycled crafts:  cleaning the repurposed suitcase
Then came the cleaning and scraping, lots of cleaning and scraping.

Recycled crafts:  industrial glue, tile and paper used in the repurposed suitcase
Next came a tube of industrial strength glue, a bunch of old parquet tile leftover from a project, and a bunch of business letterhead paper wasting space in my paper box.

Recycled crafts:  gluing in the magnet strip for the repurposed suitcase
I used some more glue on the back of a magnet strip I had bought from Ikea.   (fyi, this is actually supposed to be a knife rack for the kitchen.  I do use one in the kitchen... and three in my studio.)

Recycled crafts:  magnet strip and tile in the repurposed suitcase

Problem was:
Too brown, too blah, too yuck!
I agonized over it a couple of days, and then I knew I had to make a decision:    
Should I keep going, or should I rethink this project?
I really hated it.  It was so UNINSPIRING!

Recycled crafts:  magazines used to modge podge the repurposed suitcase
So I broke out some old beading magazines and started cutting and pasting again.

Recycled crafts:  almost finished with the repurposed suitcase
Pin It And just like that (actually it was a couple more hours of work) 
I went from hating it to loving it!
Now I was ready to finish the project:
Recycled crafts:  creating the table supports for the repurposed suitcase
I inserted two nuts and bolts to hold up a removable
work "table" that would span the depth of the case, 
wrapped the ends in plumbers tape to prevent scratches.
Recycled crafts:  brackets for the table for the repurposed suitcase
One of the brackets that had held up the cardboard flap I left in place. 
It would hold up the other side of the table.
Recycled crafts:  worktable for the repurposed suitcase
I also papered the table (a piece of thin plywood) with more magazine pictures.    
Recycled crafts:  clear tubes and velcro for the repurposed suitcase
Tubes attached with Velcro will hold beads.

Recycled crafts:  organizers for the repurposed suitcase
Heavy duty Velcro holds two plastic organizers in place.

More Velcro holds a round metal plate (which is actually the top of a cookie tin)
that can be left in place as a magnet board or be removed to use during projects.  

The magnet bar holds metal containers for storing larger beads and charms
as well as tools being used during projects.  

Boxes in the bottom have clear tops for easy identification.
Recycled crafts:  finished repurposed suitcase
And here she is with the worktable in place.  This is going to be so awesome to use!

Recycled crafts:  before and after repurposed suitcase
Pin It Before and After

Well, what do you think?  Was it worth the time and effort?
After a few projects, I'll let you know.  ;)

Until next time,
Go get crafty, Sister!
~Sister #2

Today's Creative Blog

Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommy


  1. You did a great job, it is amazing. I bet it is so fun to get your beads out now. I love how empowered creating something like this makes you feel. You should be proud girl!

  2. Brilliant!! Hugs and Happy Easter Wishes xo

  3. My beading stuff looks like the "before" picture. :) Brilliant. I also have an old suitcase that I bought at a tag sale. I always feel guilty when I look at it upstairs in an unused room thinking I shouldn't have bought that. Well, now I can say "I'm GLAD I bought that". I'm going to "pin" this so when I'm ready I'll have these directions to finish it up. Thanks, Linda

  4. Super creative use of a suitcase. I love it. I am you newest follower. Great blog.

  5. i'm amazed at this. now i want to look everywhere for cool containers to put crafts in. love the vintage suitcase. excited to check out your blog. thanks for sharing!

  6. My little suitcase looks nothing like yours! but maybe some day it'll get close.
    Great ideas I can surely use. Thanks!

  7. What an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing and can't wait to see what you come up with next!!!

  8. Stopping over from your feature at RoadKill Rescue. This is an excellent idea. I'm pinning it.


  9. I love it, very good Idea,

    because I love traval with doll, north I have a good place...
    thank you for sharing with us or Idea..

  10. Astoundingly fantastic! Well done sisters three! I've been hoarding suitcases and vanity cases for this type of thing! TFS
    Helen -- Firenze Cards

  11. This looks great! I love old suitcases and have quite a collection of them :) I may have to make one of them into something super terrific like this!

  12. I'm making one for my jewelry supplies! I make jewelry and collect vintage suitcases, so this is right up my alley! Love it! I'll post photos so you can see how mine turns out! Thanks and keep up the great work!
    Envisage Vintage Jewelry-

    1. Awesome--I can't wait to see it! I will definitely link to your post as well.

  13. i just bought that *EXACT SAME* suitcase a couple weeks ago from Goodwill!! Literally the exact same one, down to the color, for the exact same purpose! Thank you so much, your tutorial is awesome!

    1. That is awesome! I'm so glad I could help. Please send pics when you're finished so I can post them!

    2. That is awesome! I'm so glad I could help. Please send pics when you're finished so I can post them!


Your comments mean so much to us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Those Crafty Sister are 
ready to create a unique upcycled, 
recycled, craft gift or teach you 
basic diy craft skills. Join us 
our craft blog where you can see what 
we've been crafting and sharing lately.
Pin It