Tag Archives: furniture

Vintage Suitcase Table Tutorial

Anyone who is a fan of DIY vintage furniture and Pinterest has seen those darling vintage suitcase tables.  There are even a few leads to a semi tutorial on Pinterest. However, I have yet to find one with full details, not to mention photos of the interior.

About two months ago I found two fantastic vintage suitcases.  The tweed suitcase is from the 1940’s and the interior was in bad shape.  But it was only $10 at my local ARC Thrift store.  I bought them with the intention turning them into tables.  I also found two great mid-century modern end tables at the thrift store–for $4 each!

I put the project off for a while because I wanted to find the perfect fabric for the interior.  I had finally given up my search for the perfect fabric when I realized that I had a tablecloth that I had found on clearance at Target for around $3 last year.  So I finally got to work on the suitcase.  It turned out to be a lot more work than I had thought it would be.

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suitcase table test1 

First, I had to rip out the old interior–which wasn’t so hard because it was peeling off everywhere.  I could have sworn that I took a pic before I started tearing out the interior–but alas it is NOT on my camera.  So here is a partial pic for you to enjoy.

suitcase layout

Gutted Suitcase Interior

The interior is still quite a mess–even after a mild scraping.

This is what the interior pieces looked like before I prepped them for cutting.

suitcase interior1

Though I liked the satin fabric, I wasn’t a fan of the color.  And they were SUCH a mess!

My first step (besides cleaning out the suitcase, which I was putting off for as long as possible) was to determine the best way to make a pattern with the pieces.  I figured that I would use the hems of the tablecloth to my advantage, so I laid the trim for the bottom of the suitcase  out like this:

*Take note that the longer piece was supposed to cover the back of the suitcase where the hinges are (from the bottom to the top).

suicase edging 1

After cutting out the edging, I wanted to give it a dry fit.

suitcase edging oops

Yeah, that is NOT right! I must admit that when I began this “little” project it was almost midnight and I’m not sure that my logic center was awake.

Instead of trying again, I just cut the excess off.  I figured it would probably look ok without the long piece to cover the hinges. So I carried on.

suitcase edging seams

I really wanted to make sure that I lined up the seam of the fabric with the seam of the suitcase for a more professional look.

*Note–the picture above most accurately reflects the color of the fabric.

Using push pins, I placed the fabric just beneath the “lip” of the suitcase interior.  Be careful not to push the pins in too far–you don’t want to puncture the suitcase.

suitcase dryfit complete2

I did run into another snag while I was dry-fitting the edging.  The suitcase has two little hooks that perhaps at one time held a divider in place.  i pinned around over them and decided that I would figure out how to integrate them later.

Suitcase 025 Suitcase 024

I really liked the way it looked and fit.  Next up was pinning and cutting out the top and bottom interior pieces.

bottom pieces

I also dry-fit the top and bottom pieces, crossing my fingers that it would work (I really didn’t have the energy to try again if it didn’t). i folded the raw edges under to give it a clean look.

interior dryfit completed interior dryfit completed2

 

Perfect!  But I really wish I had started with the top and bottom pieces first! Would have made life easier.

Still avoiding a thorough cleaning of the suitcase, I decided to work on the vintage table in the morning.

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It was easy to disassemble. The tabletop was screwed into the wood base with 9 screws.  I love the top so much, that I am thinking about turning it into a tray–but that is a project for another day.

I sanded the legs down with 100 grit sandpaper, followed by 120 and 150.  The wood was gorgeous.  Initially I had thought that it was made from pine and stained a dark cherry.  Nope–it IS cherry wood!  So after using a tack cloth to remove all of the dust & grit, I coated the legs and base with Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish. I really love water based products–clean-up is so easy!

table base legs

Absolutely beautiful! I just knew the table base would look fantastic with the suitcase.

No longer able to avoid the inevitable, I set out to clean the suitcase while the table base cured.  Does polycrylic cure, set, or just dry?  Well whatever the correct term is–I gave it a whole day.

I really don’t know why I was avoiding cleaning out the suitcase.  With a putty knife, a wire brush, and a little elbow grease, it cleaned up quickly and nicely. Since I’m covering the interior with fabric, I wasn’t too worried about the bits that didn’t want to come off.

clean suitcase 002

Now it was time to finish the suitcase table.  I measured the exterior and the table base at least 5 times (because I am that paranoid about screwing it up).

Then I realized that I needed to find the center point of the suitcase and the table base.  Okay, I’m not great at math and studied extra hard with tutors just to get a “B” in Liberal Arts Math.  I’m not dumb, but when it comes to math my brain wants to shut down.

Anybody remember Windows’ Blue Screen of Death? Yup, that’s my brain with math.

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I Turned my suitcase upside down and placed the table base on top. I measured from the outer edge of the table base to the inner edge (where the rubber edging started) and the center of each side to center the table base on the suitcase.

finishing suitcase 001

When I had the table centered over the suitcase, I had someone hold it in place while I drilled the holes.

finishing suitcase 002

suitcase table part 2 028

I thought that it would be easiest to work with the top of the suitcase before screwing it into the table base, so I went ahead and glued the fabric to the top of the suitcase at this time.

Having learned from the dry fitting, I glued the top piece in before I started on the edges.

I used hard coat Mod Podge.

Suitcase interior 002

I coated the entire “top” of the suitcase in Mod Podge, making sure that to do a heavy coating around the edges. I began on the center edge and smoothed it up, down, and outwards as went across the surface. I also made sure to add a little extra up the sides to ensure good coverage. Next, I started on the edging.

*Note* I learned the hard that I should have at least used the no sew hem tape on the raw edges before I began.  If I were to do this again, I would have pinned the raw edge while doing the dry fitting.

interior top 002

Remember those little hooks? I cut a slit in the fabric, close to the finished edge and slipped the hook through it. Worked out well.

interior top 003

After all of the edging is done, let it dry for about 15 minutes, then seal the fabric with a top coating of Mod Podge.  After the top coat of Mod Podge was applied,  I used the push pins around the corners and along the seam to hold the fabric in place while it dried.

Once the top was dry, I screwed the suitcase onto the table.

It is finally time to add the fabric interior. Again, I started with the main surface piece and used the process as I did with the top.

finishing suitcase 010

Now you have a fantastic and unique accent or end table.

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Vintage Suitcase Table

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Hidden Lane

While at Goodwill a few weeks ago, I found two endtables that I thought would be great as nightstands in my bedroom.  They will replace the ugly and ineffective Closetmaid shelves that we are currently using.  The plan was to sand them down a bit, prime them, and paint them an espresso color to match my furniture.  Well, they sat in the garage for weeks while I was working on some other projects.  Yesterday I finally got around to the end tables.  After careful inspection, I opted out of sanding and instead decided to strip the paint.  Boy was I surprised when I saw the bottom of the end table. It’s a Lane Furniture piece! Style No. 1667 (not that it matters because it’s not on their website).  After stripping the paint, I could not understand why anyone would have painted them (and not very well either).  Here’s what they look like…painted and stripped.  I will not be painting these bad boys. Oh no. They will get a nice coat (or two) of Minwax Espresso Stain and a Poly Acrylic coating (for all the cups of water I drink before bed and the coffee I drink in the morning). I will share the process and the finished product soon!

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Not So Shabby Chic Bedroom

As my daughter matured into her High School years, her bedroom was in desperate need of an update. She loves birds and had received 4 zebra finches for her Birthday so when I came across these adorable little birds, I knew what we would do with her room.

Choosing the fabric for the windows was an accident. I was at Target and found some shower curtains on clearance that were beautiful…and priced at %60 off! So for $20 I bought two of them. I used one for her drapes and the other to make decorative bed pillow and a cover for an old red Ikea folding chair that we’ve had for several years.

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Now it was time to choose paint. This wasn’t the easiest task! We bought several samples from Lowes and got to work. After the patchwork of colors had been on her walls for a couple of weeks we finally picked our three favorites. The next step was to get to work on her furniture.

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I made her headboard out of old tri-fold slatted closet doors. I painted her existing furniture to match the main wall colors but chose a more vibrant yellow to add brightness to the soft tones of the fabric and walls. Next step was to add interest to the ugly nightstand. With a bit of paint, mod podge, and some pretty scrapbook paper we had a custom designer night stand.

Erin_Room_Pieces_original

Because she is a teen, her doesn’t always stay so tidy and perfect as shown here, but even when it’s messy this room is relaxing.

Night Stand DIY Instructions:




What you will need:
1 or two old nightstands
Mod Podge or other decoupage glue (I have used several brands…Mod Podge is the best)
Scissors
Ruler
Paintbrush
Scrap Book paper or fabric
damp cloth
Spray paint if the drawer color doesn’t work with the lighter fabric or paper
Acrylic spray

1. For both nightstands, I painted the drawers a color that would work well with my material.

2. For scrapbook paper, you may have to find the point where the print matches up exactly, draw a line, and trim. The ruler works great for this.

3. Cover the drawer front with mod podge.

FABRIC:

4. Line up your material along the top edge of the drawer, leaving about 1/2 and inch over the lip of the drawer. apply Mod Podge the the inside edge of the drawer and smooth fabric over.

5. Work your way down and to the edges of the drawer, applying Mod Podge as needed and smoothing out the wrinkles with a ruler or other flat tool.

6. Apply Mod Podge to the inside edges and smooth fabric over. You may need to trim excess fabric or cut a diagonal line at the corner for optimal folding.

7. Brush mod podge over entire surface, use damp cloth to remove drips and excess glue.

SCRAP BOOK PAPER:

Follow Steps 1-3 as listed above.

4. begin at the center of the drawer with first piece of paper.

Both Fabric and Craft Paper

8. Allow to dry for 48 hours.

9. Spray acrylic over drawer. This will ensure longer lasting life of the paper or fabric and protect it from moisture.


DIY Instructions for fabric covered folding chair can be found here:   https://livelifecreatedreams.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/a-pretty-perch/

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My Muse Took a Left Turn on Aisle 8

My muse and I were working in harmony just a couple of months ago. Poetry was flowing through my fingertips, story ideas were flooding my brain, and I was making progress toward my writing goals. She threw inspiration in my direction weekly. She smothered me with emotion. But like me, my muse has ADHD. Something caught her eye on aisle 8–the crafting section of my brain. She turned left down the aisle of glitter and glue. I followed her quickly, hoping to drag her back to aisles 7 and 9, but she dodged me and made a sharp right down the aisle of craft paper and paint. I urged her to get back to aisle 7 where Webster and Roget were busy duking it out; if not, would she please follow me to aisle 9 where Emily and Sylvia discussed poetic death. She stomped her little slipper shod foot in defiance and turned away. To please my muse, I followed her down the aisle of stamps and ink.

Hot Plate
Hot Plate

So instead of my creativity expressing itself through language it has taken a turn toward crafting and DIY projects. Today I made this lovely hot plate for my coffee themed kitchen. It was so cheap to make! I’m thinking that all the ladies in my family will be getting one for Christmas, themed to match their kitchens.

This evening I made a lovely candle holder. Well, I decoupaged a cheap clear glass one from Michael’s ($0.97). I could fill it with scented candle wax to give as a gift.

Candle
Candle

Yesterday I made a cute little tin for my gum. I buy my gum in the large bag, so it’s nice to have a clean place to keep it rather than in my purse pocket. I came across a recipe for homemade lip balm and perfume rub that I could put in the tins as well. I’m thinking that would make a great birthday gift for the lovely ladies in my life. I’ve also made several magnets from bottle caps with images in the center.

Decoupaged Tin
Decoupaged Tin

Aside from the few little items I’ve already made, I have several larger projects planned out. I will be giving two old end tables a makeover as my new nightstands. I have an old steamer trunk that will become a coffee table, three vintage suitcases that will become a chair made from and two tables.

Though my muse has led me astray, she IS keeping me productive and creative–which is the sole purpose of a muse after all.

Thrift Store Addict

vintage luggae

I’ve been a busy bee lately. Found these great vintage suitcases today for a new project that I have planned.

Thrifty store books

These tasty treats were just sitting on the bottom shelf in the book section at the thrift store so I just HAD to bring them home.

Steamer Trunk

And this lovely beauty caught my right away. I’ve been looking for her for years! Once I laid eyes on her, I knew she would be mine.

It’s going to be a crafty summer for me! 🙂