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Published on April 26th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe

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Suitcase DIY: 3 Craft Projects for Vintage Suitcases

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Suitcase DIY: 3 Craft Projects for Vintage Suitcases
What is it about vintage suitcases? I think they carry so much history. Those sturdy, beautiful, old-timey pieces of luggage are packed full of trips and stories. Vintage suitcases are not so ideal for modern travel: they’re heavier than modern suitcases and often don’t have those handy wheels on the bottom, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still worth salvaging! Here are a few suitcase DIY projects that rethink those suitcases.

3 Suitcase DIY Projects

1. Suitcase Shelf

What a sweet suitcase DIY idea! I love that she went for repurposed twine and newspaper to line it. You could also fix up the lining with fabric instead of paper. It would probably be a bit more durable that way. I think this would be a great way to store craft supplies. It’s a nice, hidden storage solution you can open up when you need to access what’s inside.

To mount the suitcase on the wall, you can either drill a couple of holes and hang it with screws or attach picture wire to the back. If your suitcase is heavy, I’d go with screws and some heavy duty wall anchors.

Suitcase DIY: 3 Craft Projects for Vintage Suitcases

2. Craft Market Display

Suitcases make for amazing display pieces at craft markets. They give your tent or table some really nice ambiance, and they double as carrying cases for your wares. You can go simple, like I did in the display above or build yourself a whole display situation inside of your suitcase.

I use another suitcase to display my reusable fabric snack bags, and for that one I strung a piece of thin twine along the back of the suitcase and hang the bags up with clothespins. To string the twine, just use a big embroidery needle to string it through the lining at the top corners on each side and tie a strong knot. If your suitcase doesn’t have a fabric lining, you can glue small hooks up instead.

Suitcase DIY: 3 Craft Projects for Vintage Suitcases

3. Make a Pet Bed

Over at Cut Out + Keep, you can learn how to turn a vintage suitcase into a cozy pet bed. Please make sure you take special care when you add the safety mechanism. You don’t want your adorable pet bed to snap closed on your fur kids!

I’m sure there are other fun ways to repurpose those vintage suitcases! Do you guys have any suitcase DIY projects in the works?

Image Credits: Suitcases photo by Drew Coffman; market display by Becky Striepe, cat photo by [chronic-shock]



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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://www.gaia-noir.co.uk Jane_Faye

    * Drools over pics of gorgeous old steamer trunks and vintage suitcases * :)

    I’ve seen the results of a few upcycling projects on Folksy, where old cases have been decoupaged…and I use some beautiful vintage cases (that I got from where someone had actually just thrown them in a skip!) to store all my half-finished and potential craft projects. It’s better than a shelf or basket, because there’s a natural way of gauging when I’ve left too many half-done – if I can’t shut the blooming thing, it’s time to finish more projects off!

    Quite liking the pet bed idea, though. Our cat is very fond of hanging out in box-like objects.

  • SC

    Please only do this if the suitcase is half rotten or already 75% broken. Seeing gorgeous vintage goods destroyed by glue and paper is a tragedy! They are rare and beautiful as they are.

    If people want to get “handy” with luggage, why not get a cheap modern suitcase that is common? They can be found used at second hand stores. That saves the earth, too!

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