Ever since I published this white suitcase nightstand there is one question that I get over and over again: how do you paint suitcases? They want to know all the details. As if there is some deep dark secret that I could share.
People let me tell you, there is nothing easier, no need to be afraid. But since I get the question so often I thought I’d better show you the process first hand.
Take an old suitcase. Don’t worry about imperfections, that goes with the territory. Remove – if possible -, stickers, tape and other ‘accessories’. Clean thoroughly. Prime.
When I did that first one, I used spray primer. These two babies got primed with a regular good quality primer and cheap brush. I personally prefer the second method because it is easier to get into all the nooks and crannies with a brush. But either way, just prime that baby.
Here is that bottom one from the picture above covered in one thin layer of primer. I didn’t want to cover it too thickly because I liked that leather pattern and wanted it to stay visible. Since all the hinges were rusty anyway I just painted over those too. If you put a bottle or can in the suitcase when you are almost finished to keep the lid open slightly, you can paint that little edge underneath the lid too.
When the primer has dried just paint with your color of choice. The first suitcase got a coat of water based paint. These latter two got a coat of regular paint. I simply used what I had on hand. Just paint a thin, even coat.
It works best to do it in two steps. Bottom and sides first, let dry and then turn and do the lid.
I think painting these old suitcases is just the easiest and most rewarding thing ever. They really come alive again. So don’t worry and just do it, there is no science to it.
And any suitcase works. These three all were made out of a different kind of material and they all took the paint very well.
Stack ‘m and use as a sidetable, put them on a matching little table to give that the height you need, place them under the coffee table to add a bit of fun to your living room, put them high on a closet to give you extra storage space.
Really if you have been thinking about painting a suitcase, just do it, don’t worry to much and don’t be afraid. Mind you if that suitcase happens to be an heirloom of your uncle Vincent that he carried with him when he came over on the Mayflower: Step away! leave that piece of history alone.
But if you happen to have a roadside find, a suitcase thrifted for a few bucks or that you dug up in your own attic, please go ahead have no fear and slap some paint on it. It is easy. It is worth it.
So the answer to “How do you paint a suitcase?”, is simply: Have no fear but just do it! and Get it done!
I am writing a series of 31 days to Get it Done! You can find all the posts in this series here.
On the first day I explained in detail what this series is about and what I am going to do, find that post and all the posts since then in order here.
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