the belles fluers suitcase.

Remember that I told you my neighbor, nnK, brought me some suitcases?  They were from her uncle’s estate sale in Iowa.

One of them was a simple (i.e. inexpensive) cardboard-ish suitcase with a plastic handle.  I’m not really sure how these were constructed, but they seem to be paper applied over a wood and cardboard sort of frame.

Anyway, here’s the before …

Technically that’s not a true ‘before’ shot because I had already cleaned it up before taking it.  But you get the idea, just picture it a bit dirtier.

After cleaning it up, I decide I really quite liked the look of the beat up paper surface and I didn’t want to paint this one.  So I decided to just play around with some new IOD transfers that I purchased recently.

So I pulled out the Floral Anthology transfer.

Sorry, I stole that image off the web and it doesn’t even come close to doing justice to these transfers.  But hopefully you get the idea.  With the Floral Anthology set you get 4 sheets of transfers and they can be combined any way your heart desires.  In my case, I just started cutting the different elements apart and then placing them on my suitcase to create a sort of floral border.

Once I had the floral pieces in place, I added the wording from the IOD Label Ephemera transfer.

The sort of faded look of the Floral Anthology transfer was just perfect over the beat up suitcase.

I struggled just a little bit with getting the transfer to stick to the flaking paper suitcase in some spots.  The paper would come up with the transfer, rather than the transfer sticking to the suitcase.  But I figured out that if I put down a coat of flat clear sealer from Dixie Belle, let that dry, and then tried again in those spots it worked like a charm.

So, in hindsight, I realize it would have worked better to seal the suitcase with the flat clear coat first and then add the transfer.  I’m going to try to remember that for next time.  You know, should I ever happen to be adding a transfer to an old cardboard-ish suitcase again.

But even though there might technically be a flaw here and there, overall it turned out fabulous.

I really don’t think anyone would even notice that it’s not precisely perfect.

This really is just meant as a decorative piece.  You could place it on top of a cupboard, on the floor at the foot of your bed, or just in front of your dress forms.  You could easily use it to store some of your off-season shoes, or maybe your Christmas decorations (that’s what I do with my vintage suitcases).

This was really just a super satisfying project to work on.  It just took adding a few transfers to really make this suitcase feel like something special.

As much as I’m tempted to keep this one, I’m going to be selling it.  If any of you locals are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.


19 thoughts on “the belles fluers suitcase.

  1. It came out beautifully! I am always hesitant to pick these up as they always have a odor I can’t remove. Do you find that? I tried all the tricks and the odors just won’t go so they end up in the trash.


    1. Yes, they do have a musty smell inside usually, and realistically a suitcase is always going to be closed up and thus not getting aired out. For that reason I don’t store linens or clothing in them. But they work just fine for things like Christmas decorations. I’ll often put a dryer sheet inside which helps some. And now that I’m thinking about it, it might be fun to add a Christmas scented air freshener instead (if storing Christmas decorations) like those cinnamon pine cones or one of those Scentsy scent circle thingies. I might have to do that with mine!


  2. Oh wow! You took another sow’s ear and turned it into a silk purse. This is amazing. So pretty and useful too. I love old suitcases and even though it was made of paper, you’d never know it now. I really am going to try transfers. They are definitely a game changer for many pieces!


  3. You definitely have a creative eye. I wish I did. Have all the things but I’m so blocked right now. It has been a tough year. Thank you for all of your inspiration.


    1. It really has been a tough year in so many ways. I’ve found my own creativity suffering as well. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to just get started on something. Even if you don’t feel it right away, just start. It might be just what you need.


  4. I love your creativity! That suitcase is SO pretty. I think I might have one in my stash! A lady down the street was closing up shop. I bought a LOT from her & moved it all home in my Mustang convertible! When I went back for a larger piece, she just kept giving my things. I looked like the “Beverly Hillbillies”!


  5. You never cease to amaze me (and I think I said that to you in a previous post)! I never saw a piece done with this transfer that made my heart skip a beat until this one! Since this is already pending I guess I have to try make one myself now but it will never look like this. I love your artistic vision for bringing new life to a piece and also the way you use transfers.


  6. Love it! I would definitely find a place for this beauty in my home… And thank you for the idea you shared – to keep xmas decoration in it!


  7. Your project turned out beautifully. I have had three suitcases stacked beneath a leggy little table for some time and I’m over that look. I will now be looking at transfers to liven things up. Thanks for the idea.


  8. Wow, that turned out great! Looks great with your mannequins too! You have such a great eye for color and composition!


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