Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vintage Suitcase Makeover

I did this fun little project a couple of months ago.
I originally made it for my husband's Man Cave, but I ended up not using it for the space. 
The room just got too crowded.

I picked up an old suitcase on the same day I bought the steamer trunk back in April.  It was marked for $20, but since I was buying several items, I got them down to $15.
To see the steamer trunk makeover go here

I found an old World Atlas and a Jacques Cousteau whale book at another thrift store several months later.
The books were 50% off and I paid under $5 for the pair. 
I didn't know at the time that I bought the books what I was going to do with them, I just liked them.

I used four new unfinished furniture legs from Home Depot. 
They were about $20 for all four.
The legs come in several lengths so measure the height of your suitcase before you buy your legs to determine the finished height of the table you want.

I started by cutting pages out of the Atlas. 
At this point of the project I felt VERY guilty.
 I have never ruined a book in my life. 

I expected the Librarian Police to show up on my doorstep and revoke my Library card at any moment.

I found this map of Martha's Vineyard and at a garage sale for $2.
This map became the base of the suitcase.
I  cut it to fit all the sides and the top and Mod Podged it on.

I had so many pictures to work with from the two books that I have extras for other projects.
Don't know what I'll make next with them?
Any ideas?

I love seeing California Gray Whales migrating south in the winter and back up the coast with their babies in the late summer from the beach I play volleyball at.

I glued the pictures on top of the map base with more Mod Podge.

I added a couple more thick coats of Mod Podge to the top for extra durability.

"Thar she blows!"

I used vinegar and steel wool to stain the legs. 
It's the same technique I used on my DIY industrial shelves.

I screwed four leg bracket holders to the bottom of the luggage.
They cost under $2 a piece at Home Depot.

The maps looked a little too new for me. 
I antiqued them with an old toothbrush and some shoe polish.

 Just rub it on and buff it out with a soft cloth.
The shoe polish gives it a protective coating as well as some instant aging.

I have been using shoes polish for antiquing for as long as I can remember.
  It's inexpensive and it works great.
I used it to add some antiquing to this Craig's List dresser I painted.
To see how I did it go here.

Shoe polish is always handy in our house since my husband uses it to polish his dress shoes for work. 
Shh, don't tell him I steal his shoe polish for my DIY projects.
I added some shoe polish to darken up the legs too.
Here's the table with the legs attached.

Piper, I know you are cuter than whales, but I'm not taking your picture today.

Every panel is different.

Ok Piper, just one picture since you are such a good little project helper.

I'm not the first to decoupage old maps onto vintage luggage.
There are many projects out there using old maps.


Nor am I the first to add furniture legs to one.

But I haven't seen any whale, map combos with legs yet?
Maybe because I'm the only one that likes it.
Oh well, it's definitely a "unique" piece and I had fun making it.
What's the saying?
"Art is in the eye of the beholder."

Here it is in it's new home.
It's perfect to place a drink or a book on and it provides a little extra added storage.

Have you tried using old suitcases or maps to create interesting pieces for your home yet?
If you can cut and paste, this is a totally easy, fun, DIY project. 
Keep your eyes open for old suitcases and interesting books next time you're in your favorite thrift store.
Just be on the lookout for the Librarian Police.

Thanks for checking it out.

From My Front Porch To Yours


  1. You have a knack for creating truly artful pieces!
    Very cool.

  2. Shannon - the suitcase/table turned out beautifully! I've been thinking of trying this. Piper is too cute too!
    Peggy @ The Painted Pear

  3. What a wonderful suitcase transformation! I really like the whales and map and how you aged the legs - looks kind of beachy, which I adore! Great project! I found your blog through Treasure Hunt Thursday and will be following and looking forward to reading more posts! Feel free to visit me at Hugs, Leena

  4. Shannon, you gave that suitcase one heck of a makeover. Seriously amazing transformation!

  5. ValenzMom (aka Helen)November 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I found your blog through the His and Hers Craft Challenge, but now I'm hooked! I saw this project you did and it reminded me of one I did a few years ago with some maps that come with the National Geographic magazines that my dad subscribes to. When my parents built their new house, I created some simple cornice boxes with scalloped edges for the two windows in my dad's room out of thick foam board (to be lightweight). Then I covered them with pieces of various maps from different countries that he'd saved for years. I then hung the cornice boxes from L brackets over the top of the windows. He loved them because now he could see the maps he'd had folded and put away for so long.

  6. I've repurposed a few suitcases but I must say I love the addition of the whales. Awesome!

  7. What a creative idea, and it turned out great. I love those ottoman slipcovers, too.


  8. What a cute idea. Great way to repurpose!


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