A Boring Dresser Gets an Epic Suitcase Makeover

Michelle Leslie
by Michelle Leslie
8 Materials
2 Weeks

Don't you just love those pictures of vintage suitcases stacked one on top of the other? There’s just something about the look that makes me think of a life well-traveled and filled with adventure and I really wanted my own stack of suitcases sooo badly. But they’re so hard to find and terribly expensive. We needed to make another plan. And the plan involved this boring pine dresser.

And a whole bunch of broken suitcases .........

I picked this one, and a few more, up for the under $5 at a local thrift store. They were all really, really, really badly damaged.

There was even an old handbag or two thrown into the mix.

We salvaged all of the locks, handles, straps and other bits that were worth saving.

Some of the bits were easy to remove and some of them required brute force and a really sharp craft knife icon

Once we had enough "suitcase hardware" in our stash, we could get cracking on prepping the chest of drawers for the makeover of the decade. We removed all the drawers and old wooden knobs and gave her a good sanding down before staining her with a beautiful rich, warm brown polyurethane wood stain.

It took us about two week to complete the makeover. I wanted to make each drawer special and different. Some were painted......

.....and on the others we used contact adhesive to glue whatever bits of leather we could salvage from the suitcases on the front of the drawers.

All the suitcase handles were glued and screwed on. No ways did I want a handle coming off while I was hunting for my favorite T-shirt icon

And slowly,but surely that boring pine dresser transformed into this beauty.

Every time I look at the dresser, erhmm, I mean stack of suitcases, I feel like a modern-day Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. And she looks so lovely with our  room divider nightstands. I would love to know what you think of the makeover? Does it work for you?

And if you're looking for more tips on how to transform a boring dresser you can get the full tutorial on the blog.

P.S. Don't throw any salvaged leather suitcase scraps away until you've seen how you can turn them into this icon vertical garden.

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Michelle Leslie
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Jaye Jaye on Jul 07, 2022

    Hi Michelle thank you so much for getting back to me I'm not technically inclined craft I'm not bad at I wanted to show my husband your cute little house but I can't bring it up can you please send me a picture and show me what the insides look like thank you so much Jaye and by the way your angel has inspired me after so many years thank you once again

  • Barbara Davis Leirer Barbara Davis Leirer on Jul 08, 2022

    I looked here because the title caught my attention. I never expected to see something that had such creativity, imagination and beauty! This really blew me away! You should be proud of your beautiful work and your special "eye"! I wish you had a video of this. How did you make the "line" for the top & bottom latches?

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Aug 07, 2022

    This came out absolutely gorgeous!

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  • Pat E Pat E on Jun 12, 2023

    What a clever idea! LOVE IT~ will definitely be doing some 'new' drawers.

  • Don59362228 Don59362228 on Jul 16, 2023

    Absolutely beautiful! What a great and creative way to bring restoration to a boring dresser. Love it.