Instructables
I can't remember which blog I first saw these chairs on (maybe Treehugger?), but I instantly wanted one of MayBe Product's Sit Bags. Since I was not going to go to Turkey any time soon, I thought about making my own. Well, less than a week went by when I happened to stumble upon an AWESOME vintage suitcase just lying in an alleyway! The cover was a bit torn, which is I guess why someone threw it away. I quickly snatched it up, shocked at my fantastic luck, and set about collecting the rest of the ingredients.

Here is what I came up with.

Step 1: What you'll need

This is really easy to make and, if you have the right scavenging abilities (and luck), then you can find many of the ingredients at little to no cost. Recycling is always good! You can likely get the fabric, suitcase, plywood, and possibly the plumbing stuff all used/found in an alleyway or thrift store.

Tools:

Staple gun - I got the cheapest one they had at the hardware store, but a bigger one might be helpful depending on the weight of your fabric. My fabric was on the heavy side, so I probably should have been using bigger staples.

Jigsaw - This you'll use to shape the plywood base to fit snugly into the suitcase.

Screwdriver - This can be electric or manual. It is not too hard to drive screws into plywood, but it is a lot quicker to use a power-tool.

Utility knife - to cut the foam

Materials:

Suitcase - clearly, this is the most important part. I used a soft suitcase (well, semi-soft, I think it's made of cardboard-reinforce naugahyde). The original Sit Bags are made of hard suitcases, which may hold up better in the long term, I don't know. The rest of the instruction will assume you're using a soft case.

Upholstery Fabric - I used a heavyweight, vintage upholstery fabric, but you could really use anything. An old wool coat might be nice. If the fabric is lightweight, you may have to reinforce it with iron-on interfacing. If you have questions about this, you could probably ask at your local fabric store.

Foam - The main structure of your seat will come from the foam you use. The type of foam you get depends on your preferences, what is available, and how deep your suitcase is/how high you want the upholstery to stick up from the suitcase. The

Plywood - just enough to fit in your suitcase (should be slightly smaller than the case).

Muslin - This is optional. I used a base layer of muslin to shape the foam base-layer so that the corners take a softer look, but this can be done with the main upholstery fabric too.

Bamboo fiber - This is also optional. I used a top layer of bamboo fiber on top of the foam so that it's a little softer. Adding the bamboo fiber layer yields a seat with more give, as the foam tends to be a bit firm. I used two bags of the stuff. I used bamboo rather than cotton mainly for the eco-benefit, and the fact that it is anti-microbial (as I'm sure the suitcase I found in the alley is full of microbes!).

Plumbing fittings and nipple - For the legs, I chose to simply use 4 pieces of 1/2 inch by 3/4 foot steel nipple and the associated plumbing fittings. They are cheap and easy, and I think they look nice, though it would be nice to find some screw-on feet for the bottom of the nipple, which leaves marks on my carpet. I tried to find miniature claw-and-ball feet, but then I thought that might be a little over the top, so I left it simple.
 
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Parrhesia3 years ago
Brilliant! I need a shop stool, and I was going to try to scrounge one from the local salvage yard, but you've inspired me to make a variation of your ottoman. Thanks a bunch :)
Wow, it looks like I'm hogging the comments page-I actually left comments at various steps of your instructable-I thought they would appear there and not all on the same page-sorry everyone :0( re coasters-Yah that's what I meant-kind of a retro Jetsons space look, also they wouldn't scratch the floor :0)
O.K....just thinking to myself...Do you think that a large "marble", AKA "alley", AKA "boulder" could be used as cool coasters? You've done a fab job on this instructable. Thanks for sharing!
solmstea (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
Thanks for all your comments! Glad you like it :) By "coasters" do you mean like attaching marbles to the bottom of the legs? If so, I think that's an awesome idea! I would be even cooler if I could make wheels out of the marbles. I guess I know what my weekend activity will be. Thanks!
It's me again (I can't help myself-you've created such a fun piece of furniture, I wanna join in the kudos conversation) The colours you've chosen are really "retro" lol-guess that makes me "Retro" since these were standard colours when i was a kid ;0)
Oh Yah! The latches make the "look" very cool!
Wow!! Way to go!!
radio plano5 years ago
I love this project, I do have a possible idea for improvement. Since it is a suitcase and used when traveling, what if you can possible disassemble the legs and pack them inside the suitcase or fold the legs into the suitcase. Maybe you can leave space inside the suitcase for packing items for you can travel and when you cant find a place to sit at the airport or bus stop, transform the suitcase and sit.
solmstea (author)  radio plano5 years ago
Yeah, that would be good. At the moment, the legs unscrew easily, but there's no good storage for them. The only downside to this idea is that the ottoman is actually fairly heavy (heavier than it seems like it should be, actually). I like the idea of folding legs. Are there any good cheap methods for making sturdy folding legs?
SWV17875 years ago
Very 1970's looking I like the possibility of storage too. Now everyone is going to be running out to find old suitcases to make furniture... on that note upholster the inside of the suitcase and attach a piece of nylon webbing to both the plywood base and a second piece of plywood in the lid so it could stay open and you would then have a chair with back rest, just a thought and it might look good for vintage matched luggage to have a chair and ottoman. I personally would like to see the inside of the case more and you might want to add some rubber "Cane ends" to protect the floor from getting scuffed by the metal legs.
Cane tips are a great idea!
solmstea (author)  SWV17875 years ago
Yeah, matched luggage would be fantastically cool. Not that my living room could handle any more furniture... I have carpeted floors, so the scratching isn't such a problem, but rubber feet is still probably a good idea. Thanks!
omnibot5 years ago
Nice one. I wonder if it could be made so that the suitcase could be used to store things?
solmstea (author)  omnibot5 years ago
Yeah, I think you could do that if you had a hard-walled suitcase, but I couldn't figure out a way to do that. It really irked my dad, who had his mind set on storage space. The one thing I thought of is if you attached the legs to the top of the suitcase, running through the bottom so that the bottom of the suitcase could open downward. That might be a cool visual effect too. The other thing I thought of was reinforcing the insides with plywood, but then the ottoman would be really heavy.
gmjhowe5 years ago
This is a great project, and the final thing actually looks really good. Your steps are good, but you really could do with a few pictures on the upholstering to complete the instructable.
solmstea (author)  gmjhowe5 years ago
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm trying to scrounge up some pictures of those middle steps.
Let me know when you have added them!
solmstea (author)  gmjhowe5 years ago
I put some pictures up! It was not my best documentation effort ever, but there you go.
cflowers5 years ago
Awesome recycling project! I featured it on The Daily Hack. BTW, a sit bag is an awesome idea! :-)

Charlie Flowers
DailyHack.net
solmstea (author)  cflowers5 years ago
Thanks! Yeah, I love the original, which is way more shiny than my version, but it's still more satisfying to make this yourself.
DIYDragon5 years ago
That's pretty sweet. *adds suitcase to list of things to find at Goodwill* Might look for a larger, black one to do this project with. : )