Vintage Suitcase Makeover

A Second Tour for a Classic American Tourister

Hello Friends!

I just returned from another awesome thrift store adventure.  I love vintage suitcases and discovering how people have turned them into really interesting things.  I found this American Tourister Tri-Taper train case at a thrift store for $3.13. I loved the blue exterior, but the interior needed a suitcase makeover.

suitcase makeoverProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Ok, so the inside of the suitcase was a little scary.  Maybe a lot scary, but stay with me here.  I had a vision.  I wanted to turn the durable and somewhat scary vintage case into my craft case.  I thought it would be a perfect tool to help keep me organized and allow me to work in different parts of the house… and yard.

suitcase makeover

My first step was to completely gut the inside.  The glue that held the upholstery was completely rotten. This was a pretty gross task and I wore a mask and gloves and scrapped it off. It took a while to get all of the glue and 50 years of gunk off.

suitcase makeover

My next step was to seal  and paint the inside with layers of plum spray-paint.   I was careful and taped off the metal latches and trim.

suitcase makeoversuitcase makeover

With a hot glue gun I attached black elastic to the sides and top of the inside of the case.  I attached the elastic in various locations around  the case. The purpose of this was to ensure that I could fit different sized items onside the elastic.

suitcase makeoversuitcase makeover

I used  pretty washi tape to mark the areas where the elastic is attached to the makeup case. This also helped me determine where I should place my  go to craft items.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

I have organized space for pens, scissors, tripod, notebooks, photo jojo’s, glue, sun glasses. I also have room at the top to slide craft items into. I found this vintage advertisement for the makeup case.  I already love this case.  A bonus is that my children cannot figure out how to open it.

 American Touristor Ad suitcase makeover American Tourister suitcase makeover

I did a little research and  found this advertisement for the vintage case.  I love the design and slogan “be guided by the stars!’.  One thing I can say about the American Tourister train case  is that it is durable.  I seriously doubt that a suitcase that I have in my closet will be still usable 50 years from now.

suitcase makeover

Here is one last at the transformation this suitcase has undergone.

I hope you enjoyed the suitcase makeover as much as I did.

xoxo, Carmody


If you are interested in me writing for you, please contact me at

Thanks, Carmody

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40 Responses to Vintage Suitcase Makeover

  1. bethteliho March 20, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    okay, I had to jump over here because I’m LURVE old suitcases! I have a small collection of them, even though I rarely use them. One I use for writing stuff (manuscripts, notes, etc.) because it’s rectangle and perfect for hauling that sort of stuff. I have 3 others in my closet that I use from time to time on short trips (like for my toiletries).

    What kind of paint did you use?

  2. carmody March 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Hi Beth, I love old suitcases. They really are more sturdy. I used Krylon Colormaster in Rich Plum Gloss. After removing all the rotten glue out of the inside I wanted to seal up any glue particles that I could not see. I also thought this little case would be useful for carting food,wine etc. to a picnic.
    What color are your suitcases?

  3. evak14 March 21, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    I just got hold over an old suitcase and hadn’t even started to look for inspiration when I came across this! Thank you!

    • Maya March 21, 2014 at 7:19 am #

      The above comment is mine – not my daughter’s. I did not see she was logged in as commenter. Sorry!

      • carmody March 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

        Thank you Maya!

  4. Angela (Life in Velvet) March 21, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Thanks so much for linking up at Thursday STYLE! This is such an amazing transformation! Love it! Have a great weekend :)

    • carmody March 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      Thank you so much Angela.

  5. Amy @ Homey Oh My! March 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    HUGE improvement! What a great find!

    • carmody March 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Thank you Amy!

  6. Corinna Ashley (For My Love Of blog) March 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Very cool upcycle! Looks like you’re going to Get so much use out of it!

    • carmody March 22, 2014 at 11:55 am #

      Thank you so much Corinna Ashley. I am already toting the case around.

  7. Earth Rullan March 21, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Wow! You are one crafty woman! I love it lovw the makeover too!

  8. Lady Tyrneathem March 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    What a great case! I love old suitcases and it’s so fun to see thrift store finds turned into such beautiful new uses. That plum color is awesome!

  9. glutenfreeforjen March 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    That is such a great idea! It is cute and I love how organized it is! I wish I was that crafty!

    • carmody March 22, 2014 at 11:40 am #

      Thanks Jen!!

  10. Allie March 22, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    Love it! I nominated you for a Liebster Award. Click here for details:

  11. Heather Smith {Woods of Bell Trees} March 22, 2014 at 5:11 am #

    Yeah the before was pretty scary, but the after is oooh la la! LOVE!

    • carmody March 22, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks Heather. Yes, it was really scary, If suitcases could be haunted the original suitcase would full of well traveled ghosts.

  12. Erin S. March 22, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    This is awesome! Amazing what you did! The befores are a bit scary. I probably would have trashed them.

    • carmody March 22, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks Erin!

  13. Bismah March 23, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    This is really awesome! I just love seeing old things turned back into something great! It is so amazing what you can do with just a few materials and a little time. Love it!!!

    • carmody March 23, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Thank you Bismah! I really appreciate you stopping by.

  14. Natasha In Oz March 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I have a vintage suitcase board on Pinterest so I’m pinning this right now. I love it!

    Please pop by and visit if you have a minute to spare; my weekly Say G’Day link up is on now and this would be a brilliant addition!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    • carmody March 23, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

      Hi Natasha!, Thanks for the comment. I am your newest follower on Pinterest an I will check out your link up.

  15. Jessica B March 23, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    Wow! What an amazing transformation! I could only dream of being so creative,

    • carmody March 24, 2014 at 5:42 am #

      Thank you Jessica!I appreciate you stopping by Paper & Fox.

  16. Alexis @ Persia Lou March 25, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Wow! Great makeover! Thanks for sharing at The Makers, Carmody!

    • carmody March 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Thanks Alexis!

  17. Mccaughey March 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I love it! I blog about my travels, and I did a blog on packing. Your suitcase is cuter than mine!

  18. Michele March 26, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    This is a cute project! Love the purple. I found a white vintage case with a horrid interior. The seller offered a lower price. maybe now I’ll get it and try this! Pinned

  19. Virginia March 26, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Great makeover! I see these a lot and always pass them over before they are usually gross. You’ve inspired me to grab the next one I see!

    • carmody March 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      Virginia, I have to admit that I stood in front of the suitcase a long time before deciding to buy it.

  20. Corey @ Tinysidekick March 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    This is a great idea Carmody! I love the color you painted the inside. Thanks for sharing at The Makers this week! Pinned :)

    • carmody March 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks so much Corey.

  21. Amanda Michelle March 26, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Too Cute! Really great idea for storage. Thanks for linking up at Thursday STYLE!

  22. Erika Buckley March 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Awesome! I’m always seeing these at thrift stores, such a great upcycle. Pinning it for future reference!

  23. Allie April 8, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    Wow, love this. I have an cream vintage one. I bought it to do something with it, like this but haven’t yet. I really want to do it though.

    • carmody April 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      Thanks Allie. I would love to see what you do with your vintage suitcase.


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