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Crafty cases

Vintage suitcases can be found easily at op-shops, antique stores or on TradeMe. They range from the very old sort, typically box-like in shape, with leather trim detailing, to recent retro-styled ones that come in the most marvellous granny chic colours. As seen in Granny Chic by Tif Fussell & Rachelle Blondel, here’s how to transform a vintage suitcase into a one-stop craft supplies carry-all. 

If you ever find a suitcase in peachy perfect condition, snap it up, for there are many stylish uses for an old suitcase. Perhaps a wool stash needs to be tucked safely away, magazines hoarded, or summer dresses kept safe for another season.

Stacked on top of a cupboard or wardrobe, or even just on the floor, a collection of suitcases is a perfect place to store bits and bobs. You might like to add handmade luggage labels depicting the contents of each in words or pictures. Or if your suitcases are flat-sided, they’ll do a grand job of stacking up to make a side table.

Perhaps your suitcase is weary from years of travelling. Cover the front and back panels with fabric or wallpaper, or create a collage of images, postcards and tear-outs which make you happy. Stuck on in a random fashion, they’ll add a little ‘jolly-ness’ to a scuffed-up exterior.

Gilded Lily stylist Susan Elijas transformed this vintage suitcase into a one-stop craft supplies carry-all – ideal for containing the mess that craft projects often involve!

Extracted with permission from Granny Chic by Tif Fussell & Rachelle Blondel, photography by Catherine Gratwicke, published by Kyle Books and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland, $45

Susan began by jazzing up the interior with heavy paper in complementary patterns, which she glued around the sides and base. She then attached sequinned ribbon to the lid interior. It’s elasticated, making it a secure spot for attaching glue, scissors, wire, tools, string and an old book.

Inside, a vintage measuring stand provides a handy spot for storing rolls of ribbon, adhesive and washi tape (offcuts of wooden dowel would also work).

Once your suitcase is ready, stock up on the craft materials that most inspire you. Use glass mason jars to store trimmings and other haberdashery, from ribbons to beads, buttons, pins or paper scraps.

Old books and scraps of heavily textured fabric come in handy for all kinds of projects. Keep an eye out in op-shops for doilies, old sheet music, sewing notions and costume jewellery – you’ll be prepared for all sorts of crafts!

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