Vintage Luggage Decoupage Makeover

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When Southie’s family fun day came around last month, celebRAEtions (my floral and event styling company) was honored and excited to participate. I showcased celebRAEtions’ shower and children’s party packages, while featuring my custom floral and event design work. As many of you know one of my favorite shower and party themes to style is TRAVEL, as it provides a florist and event stylist ample colors, textures and countries to be inspired by.

Custom decor and colorful flair were a must for my tent display, so when it came time for the Brimfield Antique show in Connecticut, I set out on a special mission to find pieces that would really bring my travel section to life. Along with my trusty Brimfield veteran and awesome friend, Maria, we located the most adorable set of teal blue vintage suitcases that of course required a complete overhaul, but I couldn’t resist bringing them home and taking on a travel themed decoupage DIY project. Below, find a step by step overview of my vintage suitcase repurpose adventure. Enjoy!

 

Step 1: Disposing of the interior lining

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First, find a good outdoor or garage space (away from the kids) to rip out and dispose of any old interior lining. For me this was our back porch during nap time. Some Pinterest folks recommend keeping the vintage lining for authenticity purposes but for sanitary reasons, I thought it best to get rid of all of it.

Next, for interior lining demolition, be sure to wear protective gloves and eye gear when you are ripping out the lining. You may also need scissors to cut the material and pliers to help pull out any old metal staples. Finally, you will need a large trash bag to dispose of everything.

Step 2: Cleaning & prepping

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For cleaning, I used an all-purpose cleaner and natural fabric refresher spray first. Then I gave both suitcases time to breath opened on the deck for a few hours. Overnight, I placed dryer sheets inside them to help coax any old smells away. Finally, I added one solid layer of the Mod Podge to the interior of the suitcases and allowed that to dry fully before starting with my design.

Step 3: Gathering all the fun papers, stickers, maps, books, etc., for your collage (oh the adhesives too!)

Next, I collected old travel maps, colorful tissue and wrapping paper, and finally some adorable world travel stickers that I ordered from Amazon to fully cover the interior of my suitcases. Collect more decor paper then you think you will need, decoupaging always requires more layering of materials then you expect.

I purchased too large bottles of Mod Podge from Target, one general and one with a special shiny coat for the top layer. I also purchased some adhesive spray to prep some of my papers. I read up on some best practices on a Mod Podge how-to blog post. If you need a refresher, click here to check it out. It was a helpful reference.

Then I grabbed a few paintbrushes in a variety of sizes, a cup of water to keep my brushes clean and paper towels for clean up.

4. getting creative

It was finally time to decoupage!  I do not have any words of wisdom to share here, as I rarely have a design plan when it comes to the look and feel of a collage. That being said, I have 3 practices that continue to serve me well, so I thought I would share them below.

  • First, I usually choose papers and materials to help showcase the “story” of the piece of furniture or antique I am decoupaging. For example, because I was decorating suitcases it seemed all too perfect to use maps and other travel themed items.
  • Second, if you are new to decoupage, I recommend laying down larger pieces of paper or material first to serve as a foundation. This always provides me with a helpful starting point. In this case I used larger maps on the top and bottom sections of the suitcases.
  • Third, I always make sure to choose a favorite photo or a special fabric I want to feature and ensure they are displayed in the most viewed locations on my decoupage pieces.  For this reason, Greece and England maps are pictured in the center of the top interior of my luggage pieces.
  • Last, I recommend, having fun with it and not taking it all too seriously. Cut, rip and layer to your heart’s content. For me this type of creative fun requires some inspirational music in the background and maybe even an iced coffee (as long as it is propped far away from your work, hehehe)

Below, is my final result…

With the help of my hubby and a few fab friends, I had a lot of fun setting up my booth’s décor and floral displays on family fun day. That being said, I have to say the vintage suitcases were definitely one of my booth’s highlights and helped to feature my  travel themed shower and birthday packages.

Most importantly, I had a wonderful time supporting our community’s family fun day, hosting arts and crafts for all the children and meeting so many of my neighbors. A special thank you to everyone who helped me set up and staff my booth all day 🙂

So there you go! I hope this motivates a fun decoupage project in your life, and perhaps even a little antiquing trip to Brimfield this year. Maybe I will see you there.

With Mod Podge and Celebration,

Rae

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