Vintage Suitcase Makeover

Hello sweet Friends!! Today I am finally sharing the second suitcase of this set I picked up curbside a year or so ago. I gave my garage a serious cleaning and uncovered it from one of the corners. I’ll be back on Thursday with a glimpse of all the stuff I decided to purge. (It was A LOT!)

I shared what I did with the first suitcase HERE, and today I’m sharing how I transformed the larger of the two:

That one wasn’t in as pristine condition as the smaller one was, and I had a hard time coming up with an idea for it. I switched directions a couple of times, but here is what I finally settled on:

Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.

I was really looking for some kind of travel quote, but I kept coming back to French graphics. I think it works! I’m including a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.

I started by spray painting the suitcase in black spray paint, so black would show through where I sanded instead of blue. (…in my spray shelter of course…love that thing!):

Then I gave it a couple of coats of Bit of Sugar by Behr made into DIY chalk paint. (Recipe HERE.)

It was pretty humid the day I painted this, and the black was still a bit tacky when I added the white. I ended up getting this really cool crackled effect in some areas:

Then I added the stripes using FrogTape. I was going for an all black and white look to start…

Then I decided to change directions as you can see and added that pop of blue. (Sunken Pool by Behr) I love the added pop of color.

Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.

I also added it to the sides:

Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.

That’s my favorite part!

After adding my stripes, this is where I stalled a bit. Like I said I was looking for something fun that had to do with travel and nothing seemed to fit. I love this French graphic from  The Graphics Fairy. She has a ton of free downloadable graphics! This one has nothing to do with travel at all, but I have used it a few times before and thought it would fill the space nicely.

I used the old-school method of transferring graphics, which I show in more detail HERE. This is how I used to add graphics to all my pieces before I had my silhouette machine.

I started by saving this graphic in the reverse on my computer. (I tried to locate this on The Graphics Fairy site so I could link directly to it, but could not. You can find it by googling “French Graphics” though.)

Then I uploaded it to, and chose the size I wanted. You just select how many pages wide you want it…now that’s my kind of math!

Then I printed it out:

Use to enlarge your favorite graphics for transferring!

It has to be in the reverse to work.

Then I trimmed the margins and taped it together:

I placed it face down on my surface, and rubbed a pencil across the back to transfer the image to the suitcase:


Transferring graphics

Then I used black acrylic craft paint and a liner brush to paint in the graphics:

Adding graphics using

This may seem tedious, but it is surprisingly relaxing.

After it was completely dry, I sanded the surface lightly to smooth it out. Then I waxed with Annie Sloan’s clear soft wax to seal.

Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.

This isn’t really ready for travel, but would be a great storage piece! You could fill it with photos or keepsakes, or store out of season clothing in it. Then you can just sit it right out in the open.

Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.

The inside looked like this before:

I unscrewed that center piece and removed it, then lined the suitcase with this pretty black fabric from Hooby Looby:

Line an old trunk or suitcase with pretty fabric.

Much better!

Line an old trunk or suitcase with pretty fabric.

See the complete how-to for lining the inside in my first suitcase makeover HERE.

Such a fun piece now, don’t you think?

Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.


Vintage suitcase updated with paint and a french graphic.

Some older suitcases are very cool as is, but this blue wasn’t very exciting.  It only cost me the fabric since I already had the paint and I found the suitcase on the curb, so why not right? Do you have any old suitcases in need of a facelift?

Here’s another project I did with graphics using, and it is one of my favorites:

Click HERE to check it out!

I’ll be back on Thursday sharing a couple of quick makeovers including this little lamp:

Plus I’ll give you a peek of my big purge!

UPDATE: Check out how I updated this lamp and see all the stuff I purged HERE!

Have a great day! 😀



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  1. Mary Kaiser says

    Very cute, aren’t you glad you stayed with the project? I turned out great! Can’t wait to Thursday, I love your post! My favorite!

    • Thank you, Mary! You are always so sweet to me! And yes, I’m so glad I stuck with it. See you Thursday! ????

  2. Christy this is such a great makeover. I like how you wanted it simple black and white but kept on adding color and graphics. I think it is perfect now! Love the crackle and the soft blue.

    • Thanks so much, Mary! I’m glad I added that extra pop of color too, and wasn’t that accidental crackle effect cool? As always I am so glad you stopped by! XO

  3. Love the suitcase but what do I not love that you do. I do have a question. Do you use an inkjet printer to print your graphics.


  4. Christina in FL says

    Christy, this is another winner! 🙂 The colors, texture and graphics are outstanding. I love the fabric lining you chose. 🙂 I bet it sells super fast. Someone is going to love their super cute, visible storage! 🙂

  5. Fabulous makeover.

  6. Cute! I just picked up a tray I am going to try your graphic transfer technique on. I’m thinking with my island’s name and the longitude and latitude.


  7. That is amazing!! Love that you didn’t give up on it and took it to a whole new level. So chic!

    • Thank you, Larissa! I’m glad I stuck with it too. Every once in a while you just get those pieces that throw you off for a minute, ya know? XOXO

  8. Robin Walls says

    That came out so nice! I NEVER see suitcases worth buying around here…they are usually all moldy and stinky. SOOOO gross!!! 🙁
    You made me laugh….I love how you called Hobby Lobby Hooby Looby. That is too cute!

    • Thanks, Robin! That’s funny, I never see good ones for sale either… And then I find these two in perfect condition that have absolutely no odor to them just sitting on the curb waiting for me to come rescue them LOL! I was so excited, I couldn’t throw them in my car fast enough! For some reason I always call hobby lobby “Hooby Looby. 😀

  9. Love the blue stripes on this one Christy! So pretty. I’m working on a white trunk and adding French Graphics old school way too!! 😉 xo

    • Thanks, Nancy! I hardly ever transfer graphics the old-school way anymore… Not with how easy it is with the Silhouette and stencils. I’ve been spoiled! I really did enjoy how relaxing this was to work on though. Can’t wait to see how your trunk turns out! ???? XOXO

  10. Thanks for the inspiration! I have several suitcases awaiting a makeover. I need to get busy, and seeing someone else complete a similar project always gives me a push.

  11. Sherry Stuifbergen says

    I like what you did to the suitcase, lining it and all. It is transformed. I can’t wait to see what you purge..because you have such vision on any ole piece that “I” would throw away. I love your blog because you do neat, not sloppy, tasteful work that I, myself, would be proud of…to keep or to sell.

    • Thank you so much, Sherry! I always appreciate your very kind words! Wait till you see the pile of stuff I got rid of on Thursday LOL! XOXO

  12. Beautiful, as always! Love the hits of blue you added and the black & white interior is fabulous.

  13. Love this! I have 2 hard suitcases that would be great for this project. When you removed the inside material, did you need to remove the hardware to get it out from under it? Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks, Mary! I only had to remove that center piece that comes down over your clothing, and for that I was able to remove it by unscrewing about six tiny screws. I just covered right over the remaining lining fabric. 🙂

  14. Wow…..
    You are amazing!! What a totally amazing change!
    You take the “cake” (actually the suitcase)…Your pics and DIY demo is inspirational indeed….

  15. Love this and pinned it! I actually have an old suitcase that’s a good candidate for a redo like this. Thanks!

  16. I think it looks fantastic. My daughter-in-law bought some old suitcases and used them to store kids toys. Suit cases are great for storing a lot of different things. ❤️

    • Thank you, Ange! Oh that’s a great idea… I never thought to store toys in them! XOXO

  17. So adorable! Bet if selling it, it goes fast!!

  18. Wow what an amazing makeover! it’s so pretty now <3

  19. Julie Briones says

    Looks great, Christy.. Adding the blue was a great choice!

  20. I LOVE this project!

    Total random question, where did you get those shoes?

    • Thank you, Kristin! Those shoes are by Sofft and I found them at Macys a couple of years ago. They are actually quite comfy! 🙂

  21. Dianne Lanier says

    Such a cute idea! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Gloria Sears says

    Awesome! You do excellent work!

  23. Such a gorgeous make-over Christy. Love that lining too. What a difference some paint can make!! Thanks for sharing at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week.

  24. You made this suitcase what it was suppose to be all along. Goodness… I adore your choice of colours and design so much!

    I’ve featured you in this upcoming DIY Salvaged Junk Projects 376. Thanks for linking up! 🙂


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