suited to suitcases.

I was searching for something on my blog the other day and as I searched thru old posts I noticed a few themes when it came to my smaller, non-furniture, projects.  I was going to write just one post sharing all of those themes, but it started getting really long.  So I decided to make it a series starting today with the first one …

vintage suitcases.

First of all, I want to note here that I only paint the damaged and/or ‘ugly’ suitcases.  None of the suitcases in the photo above have been painted.  And of course, ugly is in the eye of the beholder.  But for me that means the 1950’s Samsonite style luggage like this one.

After painting them, I like to dress them up in a few different ways.

Back in the early years of the blog I was known to hand paint lettering on them.

I have to say, that was definitely one of my favorite suitcases.  It’s painted in Fusion paint in Seaside and Bedford.  You can get more details on the technique I used to add that lettering here.  Hand painting is very time consuming though, and I was never totally satisfied with the results.  We’re always most critical of on our own work, aren’t we?

I also tried adding a ‘chalk board’ to a couple of suitcases, which made the lettering a little bit easier using a chalk pen.

It was a little easier, but still too time consuming for me so I moved on to stenciling.

I have a few stencils that fit perfectly on an average sized suitcase, and stenciling is so much quicker than hand painting.

I even did a Christmas suitcase one year.

This past Christmas I found the perfect stencil for a suitcase, but didn’t actually find any suitcases.  Fingers crossed that I can stock up on some this summer at garage sales and then put that one to use.

Stenciling isn’t always the best choice for all suitcases though.  I purchased a cast off stenciled suitcase at the thrift store that was a good example of what not to do.

Getting a crisp edge to your stencil on a pebbled surface like that one would be pretty much impossible.  I gave this one a makeover using a transfer instead.

Many of the with prima transfers are perfectly suited to suitcases, like this one …

and this one …

If you’re wondering what one does with these suitcases, they are really just intended as decor items.  I shared Nancy’s house here on the blog last summer, and she is the one who purchased the suitcase in the photo above.  She had it out on her covered porch.

And adding a suitcase to my display of dress forms looks pretty good too.

As an added bonus, they can provide storage for items not used all the time.  I keep Christmas ornaments in some of my vintage suitcases,

and craft supplies in others.

By the way, if you’re ever trying to find posts on my blog about a specific subject matter, such as vintage suitcases,  there are a few ways to look.  You can use the search box over on the right hand side by typing in some key words where it says search for stuff here, or you can look at specific categories like “garden”, “house tours” or “travel” under sorted., and if you know approximately the month and year you can look in visit the archives for that time frame (also on the right).  If you’re looking specifically for a furniture makeover, check out the fab furniture (before & after) tab at the top of the page (just under my header photos).  You can find some specific how-to posts by clicking on the how to. tab up there as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at some of my suitcase makeovers.  I spent the entire weekend working in the garden rather than painting anything, so I don’t have much in the way of a new project to share this week.  You may have to bear with me until I get the gardens in order this year.

In the meantime, which suitcase look is your favorite?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

23 thoughts on “suited to suitcases.

  1. Love them all but I must say I have a weakness for the stenciled ones. The Christmas one really caught my eye! I cant wait to see more of these in the future, especially your new Christmas stencil. I enjoy these small items as well as the furniture. Spent the weekend gardening as well and now the dreaded S word is forecast for tomorrow :0 My hostas are so beautiful right now. Aaargh 😦


    1. The ‘s’ word is happening here as I write this reply. Ugh. At least we got the nice weather on the weekend and the return of snow/cold waited until Monday! But you must be south of me, my hostas are only just starting to poke their little shoots out of the ground.


  2. I found some thrift store unicorns yesterday, the samsonite kind for $20! Geesh! Remember when they were $3? Garage sales may be the only way to go for those now. I saw my first sale the other day, more of a boutique, but fun!


  3. Looking forward to this series! My favorite is the pebbled suitcase that you transformed with the prima transfer. I have only upcycled one suitcase by mod-podging fabric on the front and back. Yours are gorgeous!


    1. That one was such a fun transformation! I like your idea of mod-podging, one could also use some of the decor tissue papers from with prima for that. I may have to give that a whirl if I ever find myself with some more suitcases to make over.


  4. My favorite is the black one nestled in with the dress forms. Love that entire vignette.
    We worked in the garden as well this weekend. I will be back at it today. Weeding,mulching, planting but it is worth the effort even if my back disagrees.


  5. I need to work in my garden too but, I’m waiting for warmer weather! Did I miss it? Did you share which of your garden chairs sold first? 🙂


    1. Oh, did I forget to mention that? It was a tie, the same person bought both chairs! And she also popped by this weekend on her way to the garden center to get plants for them, and she purchased the road kill cupboard 🙂


  6. I am partial to the black one that you staged with your mannequin. I love that mannequin….lol. the poorly stenciled “Paris” suitcase was the best makeover though. Breaks my heart for the person who tried their best, and had a good idea, but it just didn’t turn out. Nice to see your stack of suitcases…very cool!


    1. Yeah, someone did try their best on that Paris suitcase, and they definitely had the right idea to dress it up with some paint and some wording. That lumpy surface just wasn’t doing them any favors.


  7. I liked two of your cases.The round turquoise looked a dream in the floral transfer,also the case that looked like a painted picture. I am a fool for flowers! Thankfully the season for all things floral is here. Take care.


    1. It’s always good for me to be reminded that I have readers who love the floral look! I’ve got quite a few of the new floral transfers from Dixie Belle waiting in the wings to share with you 🙂


  8. I loved this Miss Quandie! I know assembling all these posts was a project in and of itself! Look at all those suitcases you’ve done! And you anticipate that you’ll find more at yard sales this summer…….when does the supply just run out? Pretty crazy……my faves are the black and white one and the black one staged with your dress forms! I just loved that staging (-:


    1. Thanks Connie! And I wonder the same, when does the supply run out? I certainly don’t find nearly as many of them as I used to, but can I blame that on COVID? or is it a dwindling supply?


  9. Hi! I absolutely love several of them! The Oh Darling one, the round one with the roses, the next one that is blue, the one from Nancy’s house, and the one with with the mannequins which I LOVE!


  10. My favorite is the first one; the “Oh Darling” sentiment speaks to my heart! I have an ugly brown one of my dad’s, who died when I was a teenager. I don’t know if I have the heart to paint it, so I’ll keep my eye peeled at yard sales. Thanks for your wonderful inspiration.


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