Introduction: Portable Wardrobe Suitcase Conversion

Picture of Portable Wardrobe Suitcase Conversion

You can easily convert a large old suitcase into a portable wardrobe in a few hours.

The is useful for people who have kids involved in dance competitions

The project basically consists of adding a wood frame inside the lining of a suitcase to support two pegs. Those two pegs are used to support a frame made from PVC that is used as a portable wardrobe.

The PVC frame comes apart for storage inside the suitcase.

Step 1: Materials You Will Need

You will need

• a large suitcase. and older one you can get for free is best.

• 1 – 1 x 6 x 8’

• about 24” of 2 x 2

• About 8” of Scrap 2x4

• 12” 1” Dia. Oak Dowel.

• 2 x 8’ of 1” ID PVC Pipe

• 2 x F-F Adaptor

• 2 x 90deg F-F Elbow

• Carpenter’s Glue

• Pipe Solder

• Screws

Step 2: Open the Suitcase

Picture of Open the Suitcase

Locate the zipper in the lining

Unzip the lining and fold it open

This will expose the inside of the suitcase

Step 3: Examine the Obstacles

Picture of Examine the Obstacles

Look at the obstacles that might be in the way of the wood frame that will be used to hold the frame

The mounting plates for the casters might be in the way.

The handle mechanism needs to remain free to operate

Step 4: Top and Bottom Frame Boards

Picture of Top and Bottom Frame Boards

Measure the inside atthe bottom

The measurement should be for a snug fit, but not so tight that the wood stresses the fabric of the suitcase

Once the wood is cut to length, ease the edges with a sander or router to prevent any sharp 90 degree cuts from pressing on the suitcase fabric

Set the fame in place for the bottom and repeat for the top

Set the frame boards as low as you reasonably can in the suitcase to leave room for the frame pegs (later)

Step 5: Side Frame Boards

Picture of Side Frame Boards

Measure the distance between the top and bottom frame boards

Cut the two side frame boards for a snug fit.

I cut these boards about ¼” longer than the measurement to ensure a snug fit.

The cut ends of these boards only contact the top and bottom frame boards, so there is no need to ease the sharp corners.

Step 6: A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Picture of A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

If your suitcase has straps on the inside and you want to be able to use them after you are done, you need to pull them back through and run them on the inside of the frame as shown

If you don’t re-run them on this inside, they will get pinched by the frame and you will not be able to use them

If you don’t do this now, it is really difficult to do once the frame corners have been screwed together

Step 7: Corner Connector / Stiffeners

Picture of Corner Connector / Stiffeners

Cut a length of 2x2 at 5-1/4” to fit in each corner.

I chamfer about 1” off the corner facing the inside of the suitcase to save room and prevent sharp edges from catching on the lining.

Pre-drill the 2x2 corner stiffeners in 2 places on each inside face

Apply carpenter’s glue to the two outside faces

Screw the stiffeners into the corners

Keep and eye on the other corners as you put the first stiffeners in to make sure the frame stays aligned

Step 8: Cut Dowels and Mount the Supports

Picture of Cut Dowels and Mount the Supports

Cut 2 pieces of 2x4 each 5” long

If you want to save room and help protect the inner lining, make two 45deg cuts on each piece as shown, or at least sand the sharp edge.

Using the 1” spade bit, drill a hole into the top of each piece to a depth of about 1 ½ “.

Cut a length of the dowel so that with the 2x4 mount set at the bottom of the frame, the top of the peg is flush with the top of the suitcase. (If the peg is too high it will rub on the suitcase lid over time)

Glue the peg into the hole. It will be a snug fit

Pre-drill 3 holes in the 2x4 mount and apply glue to the back of the mount

Screw the mount to the frame so the bottom of the mount is even with the bottom of the frame

There should be at least 3” of dowel sticking out of the mount so that the garment rack is not wobbly

Step 9: Build the Garment Rack

Picture of Build the  Garment Rack

The garment rack is made from 5 lengths of the plastic pipe that come apart to fit in the suitcase for transportation

Two of the lengths will have 90 degree elbows soldered on

Two of the lengths will have F-F couplers soldered on

All suitcases are slightly different sizes, so make sure the pieces of pipe can fit

Solder only one side of each fitting so that the pieces can be pulled apart for storage in the suitcase during travel.

Step 10: Finish Up

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Vacuum out the inside of the suitcase. Clean up any glue that seeped out.

Make a small cut in the liner at each mounting peg and push the peg through the hole in the liner

Set the liner back in place and zip it back together

Take the 5 sections of the garment rack and bind them together with an elastic.

Store the garment rack poles in the suitcase.

Comments

jessyratfink (author)2014-05-13

This is so awesome! Especially good if you know you're staying in a tiny budget motel. :)

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