I love to restore old luggage and give it a new face. If you've ever been to a flea market or yard sale, it's likely that you've seen an old Samsonite train case or suitcase. Chances are the insides are ruined and the outside looks a bit dated. Most times these pieces sell for just a few dollars. The case I'm showing you now cost me $3 at the local flea market!
Step 1: What You'll Need
Hard case suitcase or train case
Mod Podge - either matte or gloss, your choice
Thick upholstery material - for the inside
Permanent upholstery or fabric adhesive
Lots of your favorite photo clippings - I prefer to print photos off the internet on plain white copy paper - This case is covered in Marilyn Monroe photos
Scissors or paper cutter
Acyrilic spray sealer
Step 2: Gut and Strip Your Case
Whether you have a suitcase or a train case, you'll want to make sure that you completely remove everything from the inside. Usually the material is yucky, stained and smells musty or old. You can also apply a very light sand to the the surface of the suitcase, make sure to use a fine grain. This will help the glue hold better over time. Once your case is cleaned out you can start to work on re-upholstering it.
Step 3: Install the Material
Start this project working on the inside to the outside. This way you don't have to worry about messing up the photos that will be glued to the outside.
When you install the material it can be a little tricky so you'll want to work slowly and carefully.
These cases aren't always perfect and this particular case had circular indentations that were difficult to work around, but with some patience I was able to successfully cover the insides in a deep purple corduroy material.
Use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of fabric glue and apply directly to the case.
You'll want to make a fold in the material along the edges so there isn't a seam with strings hanging while you slowly apply the material to the glue. Start working at the middle and work your way out to the edges. This will pull the material tight and keep it from bubbling.
You may have to make cuts allow you material to fit appropriately, but this isn't an exact science and doesn't have to be perfect.
Once the material is installed you'll want to allow at least 6 hours of drying.
Step 4: Decide Photo Placement
Once you have cut out all the photos you intend to use in this project, you will want to place them on your suitcase to make sure you have a general idea of where you want the photos and how they'll be placed in the final product.
Step 5: Gluing the Photos
Use the Mod Podge and paintbrush to glue down each photo.
Work on gluing each photo individually and making sure to line it up with the other photos so it will appear seamless.
The corners may seem difficult, but if you place the photo around the corner first and press it down, you will have fold lines, using scissors or Xacto knife simply make cuts in these areas then line up the seams and glue. Make sure not to distort your photos if possible.
This can take a lot of time and be a bit tedious process.
Once you have all the photos Mod Podged to the case you can then apply a thin layer of the Mod Podge to the surface of all the photos. This will help seal them in and prevent the color from running.
If you use copy paper and photos printed at home you may notice the color bleeding a little. This is normal and should not affect the final outcome.
Once the case is fully dried you'll want to take your case to a well ventilated area and apply the Acrylic spray sealer. This may require several coats so make sure to allow adequate drying time in between applications.
Once finished you have a totally unique piece of luggage.