an unassuming old suitcase.

You all know of my love for vintage suitcases, right?

I put them into two categories.  First there are those that are charming ‘as is’ and should not be altered.

Like these …

And then there is the 2nd category, those unassuming old suitcases that just don’t quite have enough personality on their own, like this one …

It’s rather beat up and just not terribly attractive (in my opinion).

I have used milk paint, chalk paint and Fusion acrylic paint on suitcases in the past.  I find that Fusion doesn’t always adhere well to vinyl.  Milk paint works perfectly well, but you don’t get the chippy quality that makes milk paint shine, so I feel like it’s rather wasted here.  So these days my go-to paint for a suitcase like this is chalk style paint.

Before I started painting, I cleaned the suitcase with Krud Kutter Kitchen Degreaser.  I then rinsed it down with a damp cloth.  Then I gave it two coats of Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

Once that was dry I added a French Laundry stencil using a warm white craft paint.

Somehow it seemed appropriate to put a laundry advertisement on a suitcase.

I used parts of the stencil on top of the suitcase too.

You’ll notice that I painted every bit of this suitcase including the handle and the clasps.  I don’t always do that, but this time I’ll admit I was feeling a bit too lazy to cut around those things.  Plus, I rather like this look.

Once painted I went over the surface ever so lightly with some 220 grit sandpaper just to smooth it out a bit.  I followed that up with some of Fusion’s Clear Wax.

Boy, I wasn’t planning on keeping it, but it sure does look great paired up with Collette and Lula.

I never planned to keep Collette either (the one on the left), but after I finished giving her a makeover I couldn’t part with her.

So now I have two dress forms in my bedroom.

And even though the suitcase looks fabulous with them, I don’t really need another suitcase at my house!

In fact, I already brought it in to Reclaiming Beautiful to be sold.

Plus I still have a couple more suitcases in this style waiting in the wings to be painted, so if I change my mind I can always paint up another one to keep for myself.

27 thoughts on “an unassuming old suitcase.

  1. It looks great! The all one color thing is popular now anyhow. Have you seen all of the houses where the trim matches the house paint? Same with interior rooms. I can’t help but notice Lula’s tool belt! That is amazing, marine lumber! I thought they were in your Q branch. I think they would scare me to death in the middle of the night ha 😉


    1. I have not seen the ‘all one color’ on the exterior, but I have seen it for interiors. I can’t decide how I feel about it. It seems counter intuitive if you have great trim detail (crown molding, etc) to then blend it in by using the same color as the walls. Yet, at the same time I do kind of love how it looks. Clinton Paul (the owner whose name is on that tool belt) was Mr. Q’s step-grandpa! And finally, Collette and Lula are far too polite to ever scare anyone in the middle of the night 😉


  2. Another inspiring post! I have either 3 or 4 vintage suitcases sitting in the garage that need a facelift. Right now I’m obsessing and updating trays, but looks like suitcases should be next! Beautiful job and I love the French stencil. Is that one you have had forever and it’s no longer available? Or do you have the vendor name you purchased it from? Thanks!


    1. Sadly you are correct. The Etsy vendor I purchased that stencil from is no longer in business which is a huge bummer because it is absolutely one of my favorite stencils!


  3. Thanks for doing a detailed how to on the suitcase. It turned out great. I’m pinning this post for the future. But like Love, love, love those dress forms. But like Meggan they would startle me in the middle of the night as well. Lol!


      1. It’s just when you have a spouse that travels from time to time any silhouette can become scary when a loud noise wakes you up and you catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye. Particularly when you’re half blind with contacts in. That said I do love them! Cool story about the apron! Have a great weekend!


      2. Oh man, so true! I am not good at being home alone at night myself. Why do I have this mental picture of those dress forms slowly creeping towards me at night as I’m sleeping now??


  4. Love your suitcase update! I am an old suitcase addict too-they are all over my house(but filled mostly with various craft supplies, so serving a very important function while also looking cool😉)! I have others set aside, waiting for a makeover, that I hope to eventually sell. Sometimes it’s a challenge deciding whether to paint or decoupage them, but then again, they were tossed aside, so why not give them a second life with a makeover?! Someone who ignored a suitcase in its original state might fall in love with the new, updated look. Nothing wrong with that!


  5. The suitcase is beautiful, and I love the apron on Lula! If you ever decide to part with that, let me know. That’s a neat local find! The jewels on those two gals are beautiful too! Nice additions to your bedroom.


    1. I probably won’t ever part with that apron … well, it really does belong to Mr. Q anyway. As I mentioned in a comment above, that was Mr. Q’s grandpa’s lumber supply co. He’d probably not be on board with me selling that particular item 😉


  6. I love a good suitcase makeover and this one turned out great! I’ve been looking for a dress form for quite sometime and I love the two of yours paired together.


    1. I just checked Craigslist and found two similar to Collette. One was $79 and one was $99. It’s hard to find them much cheaper than that, but maybe if you keep looking you’ll spot a bargain!


  7. I have such a love for old suitcases. They are the closest thing I have that comes to a collection. I always have plans to paint them but then my husband or one of my kids takes them! I love each and every suitcase refresh you’ve done. I’ve saved them all to a file for inspiration for the day that I get to keep one. If only my family would keep their hands off of one of mine long enough for me to use one of your ideas! The stencil you used on this one is perfect and one I’d love to have.


      1. Oooh! I like the way you think! My 12 year old brought home a vintage red plaid-ish trumpet case from the thrift store last weekend. I feel in love with it but he hid it from me!! Since they take mine and hide the good stuff, I do believe I’ll take your advice and get some more. This time I’ll hide them until I finish painting them. I still can’t believe he hid it from me!


      2. Someone once gave me an old trombone case and I added “toot your own horn” to it. It’s one of those things that I sold and have since really wished I’d kept it. You can see it {here}. Maybe it will inspire you Christie!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love the trombone case!! Both my kids play trombone and loved it, too. Sadly, I asked if I could add “Toot your own horn” to their case and it was a no-go. Why do they have to rain on my parade. I’ve now found the hidden trumpet case so maybe it’s time I get sneaky! LOL!


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