How to Make a Vintage Suitcase Table

9 Materials
$30
5 Hours
Easy

I have seen a few vintage suitcase projects on Pinterest, and was always envious because I could never find one in our small town. When my daughter moved into her new house I saw this one in the garage ready to go into the bin. My crafty little heart went into over drive thinking what I was going to make with it. This suitcase table was the result.

Find a Vintage suitcase

All my projects are made using mainly recycled materials stripped from broken furniture. So I knew I had lots of table and chair legs in my shed that would be suitable for this project.

A few years back I saw this poster of a world map and it was love at first sight. I ordered two from China and they have sat in the cupboard ever since waiting for a suitable project to come along. I knew they would be perfect for this project.

Start buy cleaning all the dust and dirt from the suitcase. Remove any creases in the poster using a hot iron with no steam and iron the back. I used mod podge to stick the map to the suitcase. I found it easier to do small sections at a time then smooth the map down with my hand. I also found it better to add the mod podge to the suitcase instead of the map to prevent the map from getting soggy.

My map was a couple of centimetre to small for the suitcase, so make sure you have any joins at the back out of sight. I patched up the back using offcuts of the map.

Use a sharp knife to cut away the excess paper around the latches and handles. These were the bits I used to patch up the back.

As hard as I tried to prevent any bubbles in the map I still had a couple. To stick them back down I used a syringe and needle and injected some mod podge into the bubbles and pushed the bubbles flat again. This works greats.

Seal the suitcase

You can use mod podge to seal the map to make it more durable. I felt the suitcase was to big and mod modge is not that cheap so I used water-based polyurethane. I use a small foam paint roller and applied two coats to the surface. I kept the latches and handles as they were because I wanted to keep the old look.

Making the base

I tried a few ways to add the legs but this was the only way that worked for me. Too see my other attempts you can go over to my website and see them so you don't make the same mistakes. If you screw the legs straight into the suitcase there is not enough wood to make the legs stable and the table will rock. So I added two planks on either side as per the image above. I used hot glue to keep them in place.

Cover the inside

I had some left over world map fabric from the chaise lounge I made a few years ago. It was a lighter world map fabric  but it would be inside the suitcase so I was happy to use it. All the fabric was attached using a hot glue gun. Start at the top and add glue along the seam, fold the fabric under and smooth out onto the glue. This will keep all the seams tidy or you can iron the seams before you glue them. Next, you can glue the fabric to the sides of the suitcase

I cut a piece of wood to fit in the bottom of the suitcase, this was also fitted using hot glue.

Cut the last piece of fabric to size and glue the front seam first, add some hot glue at the bottom and push the fabric into the glue. Repeat this step across the bottom and back up to the other side.

To keep the fabric secure across the bottom and sides, add some hot glue where the two fabrics join.

Adding the legs

These legs were stripped off a dresser that was beyond repair. I used an orbital sander and removed all the old paint.

I painted the legs using white chalk paint and applied 2 coats.

I fit the legs and noticed straight away that the legs did not look right. They were too white to go with the map colour. To darken the white chalk paint I used some dark wax which also gives the legs the aged look.

Fit the legs

To fit the legs I drilled a hole making sure to only go through the first planks that I added. If you drill to far you can risk snagging the fabric around the drill bit and destroying all your hard work. When you add the screws it will hold all the wood in place that were installed using the hot glue.

This is the suitcase table completed. The inside of the table can be used for storage or even as a small bar. The cost of this project for me was very small because I used mainly recycled materials. And the products that were used were only in small amounts from products I already had at home. So your cost will depend on what materials you have at home.

More detailed info and pictures for this project are available on my website listed below.

More great project

This was the chaise lounge I made using recycled materials a few years back. The leftover fabric is what I used for this project. If you want to start building your projects from FREE recycled materials this post will get you started. I have been doing this since 2016 and spend next to nothing on materials.

Resources for this project:

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Unique Creations By Anita
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Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Viki Viki on Aug 09, 2020

    You’ve done an excellent job! So classy! I have about the same size suitcase, but it has that nubby 70’s fabric. How can I cover that?

  • Lynn Lynn on Aug 10, 2020

    Sooooooooo cute

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