Vintage Suitcases: All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go!

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Fall is the perfect time to refresh suitcases, not to take trips, but rather to use them all around the house for storage and vintage style.

When it seems like I’ve accumulated quite a few, I have a suitcase party in the driveway! I get a bucket of sudsy soap, grab some mild cleanser, like Bon ami, and start scrubbing with a nylon brush.

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The little bit of grit cleanser in Bon Ami helps the lighter colored suitcases sing again! If the insides are a little stained with someone’s travel shampoo, or perfume, I make the decision to rip the guts out!

The insides definitely tell how often the owners took trips!  Even though the outsides can get banged up while being stored, many times the insides look brand new! If the original, patterned paper is in good shape inside, I really try to preserve it.

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Sometimes these treasures have been personalized, and sometimes I just find treasures!

This canvas box with old stamps had me intrigued when I found it in an old trunk:

It was a Kwik-Pak Parcel Post Laundry Case that used to be shipped back and forth, probably to and from a soldier!  I’d never seen one of these.

If the lining of the suitcases need to be ripped out, it’s time for a little decoupage!  You can use anything from fabric, to old newspaper, maps or children’s books, to vintage music.  Match to your style and where you want to use it.

I decided an old trunk would be the perfect place to store our trove of board games.  I was actually going to throw this trunk away, till I realized it was the perfect size to slide under my coffee table.  I pulled off the old, ugly contact paper and decoupaged some vintage newspaper inside.  I brushed the decoupage medium onto squares of newspaper and then placed them artistically.  By the time I  finished placing them, the first ones were dry, and I brushed another coat on.  After it had dried for several hours, I put a clear coat of water-based poly over to seal it all up. I found it ironic that one of the advertisements was for suitcases!

Suitcases come in handy for storage around the house.  We’ve got them low down and up high!  They contain craft supplies, photos waiting for the scrapbook, and hats and mittens.  Now we have one with games, too.

These are suitcases I am working on decoupaging for the store, but I thought they looked kind of cool just stacked in the corner, too!  Some of them may need a coat of paste wax on the outside to really make them classy.  Trunks usually get a coat of poly on the outside to make their beautiful, metal hinges and hardware shine.

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Next time you see one of these at a sale or the side of the road, don’t let it’s not-quite-perfect condition hinder you! A little work, and their usefulness and beauty can be restored!

Linking up with:

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6 thoughts on “Vintage Suitcases: All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go!

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