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
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  • 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!

  • Ellen Ellen on Oct 23, 2023

    This is very Cool. But it’s unclear if these are drawers now with the suitcase fronts as the drawer fronts? Did you cut through the lid of each suitcase to make it a drawer?

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  • Darcy Darcy on Oct 25, 2023

    I was very curious about what exactly you were going to do with the suitcases. Wow! My jaw dropped when I saw the finished project. Great job!

  • Vicki Vicki on Oct 26, 2023

    Wow!!! Looks fabulous, that is some excellent work! I love it!!!