Wednesday, March 14, 2012


So I have this thing for vintage samsonite suitcases. Well, maybe just vintage luggage in general. I recently picked up this Samsonite suitcase for fifteen dollars at this cute little vintage flea market in LA. Upon bringing it home, my entire family proceeded to make fun of me, saying how my grandparents used to have an avocado green one. [sidenote: They still have it. When I was living with them last year, I totally saw it. Another proof of great investment, they seem to last for-freaking-ever!] So I decided a little rehabbing was in order. Here is my step by step process:

This is the original inside. As you can see it was kind of coming apart and as you can't see so clearly, it was old as f*!k. Needed to come out, even though the white and yellow polka dot fabric was super cute.

All I did was rip it out. Surprisingly easy. Surprisingly dirty underneath. Wiped it out a bit because there was mysterious orange dust underneath, afraid it was some kind of asbestos drug powder trying to get all over my future packed things.

Was feeling lazy and also a little budgetey, so took two old pillowcases and kind of cut around the old fabric to size it. Used the two layers the pillowcase already had in it for extra padding. Glued it with a glue gun under the leftover yellow leather lining. Then I stamped the pillowcases with a cute little bird stamp and a black stamp-pad. [Advice, stamp the fabric BEFORE you glue it in, way easier and the stamps won't have to be restamped because they are at an awkward angle. I would also use a more satiny fabric next time.]
This is the original outside. Kind of water-stained and off white. 

Siding kind of worn out and dingy.

Just a side view, to show for comparison to finished product.

This is the after product! I used a primer [I just found one in my garage meant for wood, my dad kept telling me I HAD to get one for plastic or it wouldn't work, but again, lazy and budgety prevailed and it seemed to work fine. I put on a bunch of layers of primer all over. Then I used a kind of seafoamy green spray paint and sprayed it a bunch of times. I went through a whole can and this isn't a super huge suitcase. It needed a lot of layers. I'm glad I started with white, I can't imagine doing a dark one. You'd have to stay in the dark range, I'd imagine. Then I printed out this deer graphic that I've been kind of obsessed with for awhile and just cut it out really carefully. Then I took a paint roller and some gray acrylic and taped the paper and rolled over the cut-out part. Then I took a glitter spray paint in silver [glitter spray paint is AMAZE. new obsession, comes out so thick you don't even really need paint underneath and comes in a bunch of colors.. I kind of glitter sprayed a bunch of other things too.] Then I just took a D and an A stencil and did the same thing. [sidenote: When I showed this to my mom, she goes 'why does it say DAD?' I was like 'uhhh, those are my initials?  Remember how you chose my name?'] I taped newspaper over the other parts so I didn't accidentally get paint on the parts I didn't want paint on. Then I sprayed a sealer spray paint all over and did a bunch of coats.

The way I did the lining and siding is I used a lot of painter's tape [the blue kind.] This part is what took the longest. It is a pain to only tape the parts you want to not paint. I taped all the silver part when I was spray painting the green. Then removed and taped the green edges so as not to get the gray paint on the already green painted main part. [does that make sense?] I ran out of gray paint and  so I just mixed up a black and white acrylic and made a semi dark gray. I then painted almost all the silver siding as well as the previous white lining [see above 'before' picture] I didn't do the tabs. It took a couple coats because I didn't prime this area in the beginning like I probably should have. I then taped up with newspaper so no green was showing and also taped up the tabs. Then I spray painted the sides with the glitter spray as well. And then sprayed sealant over it.

This is just the other side. No initials on this side. Just simple.

I added those little square stickers for a little nod to vintage. I left the samsonite part and silver latches untouched by everything but sealant. 

I now LOVE this suitcase. I recently took a trip to Nebraska and I had absolutely no trouble locating my suitcase at baggage claim. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more samsonite suitcases to rehab for myself or as gifts in the future. 

Let me know what you think!


  1. SO FREAKING CUTE!! I want one - a hot pink one with my initials in silver!!! :):)

    (PS with leapord print inside!!)

  2. that's awesome, you're very creative!