Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quilted Cupcake's Mod Podge Suitcase Project

This week is CraftShare's Mod Podge Part 2 and today's project has got me ready to break out the Mod Podge big time!  Our special guest poster, Jean from The Quilted Cupcake has this fantastic suitcase renovation tutorial - check it out:

Hi everyone.  Jean here from The Quilted Cupcake crafty podcast/blog.  So happy to be participating in the Craft Share 2011.  I've learned so much from following everyone's projects, and Sew Can Do is an ongoing source of inspiration to me.

By way of intro, I'm a multi-crafter.  I do a little bit of everything.  Currently, I'm sewing baby items, laptop, tablet and e-reader cases and other bags for my Etsy shop.   I love to knit and crochet, and I always have a project or two on the needles.  You'll find me on Ravelry as KnittyJean.   I'm also really into repurposing vintage items for home decor, which led me to this project.  I'm constantly visiting thrift stores, looking for cool stuff at great prices.  I've been collecting old style suitcases for about a year.  I have a whole stack in my living room that I use to store my ever-expanding yarn stash.

I bought this latest smallish Samsonite for $4.  The inside is beautiful; however, the outside needed something more.  

So, I decided to Mod Podge (MP) it using some vintage fabric I'd purchased a while back.  While I've done lots of MP projects before, I'd never used fabric, only paper.  So, this was a learning experience for me, too.

Here are the supplies for the project:

- Vintage Suitcase
- Mod Podge (I used matte for bottom layers, finished for gloss)
- Scissors - easier to use than the paper trimmer shown in photo
- Ruler 
- Wax paper to put under fabric when applying MP
- Disposable Bristle paint brushes (I've found the foam ones don't hold up to MP)
- X-acto knife for trimming
- Enough fabric to cover the suitcase
- Spray bottle filled with water
Step One:  Prepare the fabric
I visited the Mod Podge website to get some tips on MP with fabric.  I learned that it's a good idea to coat fabric with MP and allow it to dry before using it.  This allows you to cut the fabric with scissors and avoid any unraveling.  (Note, if you're using paper, you can skip the pre-treating step) So, lay out a bunch of wax paper and paint the MP all over the fabric. There's no real magic to this part - just coat it well with MP.   Do a bit more fabric than you think you'll need. After you've coated all the fabric, allow it to dry at least several hours, or overnight.  I laid my sheets over a chair to dry.

Step Two:  Cut fabric
Measure the suitcase and cut dried fabric to roughly the correct size.  You'll trim any excess later.  I used 2 large pieces to cover the top and bottom of the suitcase and skinny pieces for the sides.  As you'll see, I left the original hardware and "leather" sides uncovered.  I've seen folks who spray paint them prior to MP, but I chose to leave them au natural - do what works for you.

On one side of the case, I cut out the holes to allow the closure to work, and show the Samsonite logo.  The other side had too many intricate cuts, so I cut that main piece of fabric a little short, and then added small pieces to fill in around the handle, etc.  That worked for me.  If you are more precise, you can use the X-acto knife to trim out all the spots for hardware.  Given that I'd recently suffered a finger injury with a rotary cutter (hence the bandage in some of the pics), I was a little cautious. 

Step Three: Apply Mod Podge and Fabric
Working in sections, apply MP to coat the suitcase, and cover with pre-cut fabric.  I sprayed the sections of fabric with water to reactivate the dried MP before applying.  This worked better than using them dry.  The wet fabric has a bit more "give" and you can stretch the fabric if needed. 

This is a messy step, and I found it best to use my hands to smooth out any wrinkles.  I suppose you could use a plastic scraper, but I live dangerously (remember the bandage?).

Step Four:  Allow to Dry
This part's easy if you have something else to do, hard if you're in a hurry to finish your project.  I let my suitcase sit overnight to be sure it was really dry. 

Step Five: Spot Fix
You'll notice that there will be spots that curled up, or overhang the sides.  Use more MP (or just glue) to secure any spots that didn't adhere. 
This is also when you'll want to use that X-acto knife to trim any excess fabric, as it will be easy to cut when dried.  I just ran the knife along the edges of the suitcase.

Step Six:  Add more MP
Add at least one more coat of Mod Podge.  This acts as a top sealing coat.  I typically do at least two layers, often more.  However, you have to let it dry between coats, and I was running out of time. 

Step Seven:  Repeat Step Four - Allow to Dry
Finishing:  Repeat steps 6 & 7 until the suitcase looks awesome.

Have fun with your Mod Podge projects, and remember that any slightly irregular parts just add more character, and show that it was handmade, and not by a machine.  I'd love to see any projects you may complete using this tutorial.  Please either send me a pic via email:, and/or add it to my Quilted Cupcake Flickr group. If you have any questions, please let me know.  You can always find me at my blog: Quilted Cupcake blog

Thanks for sharing this awesome project Jean.  I'm ready to search for a suitcase & make one now!!


  1. So stinkin' cute! I think I need one! :)

    I would love for you to come link it up at the Lil' Luna Link Party! :D

    XO - Kristyn

  2. Beautiful!!


  3. um, can you say gorgeous!?!?!?!! Love it

  4. Vraiment très joli... et très personnalisé.

  5. What a great project!! I love how yours turned out!! I am obsessed with suitcases now..I just completed a project for my brother's wedding on my blog using a vintage sitcase!

    Fancy Frugal Life

  6. I love this idea. I've always wanted to try out a larger Mod Podge project. Thanks for the great pre-treating tip, it's definitely going in my crafty trick book.

  7. Hey, I am hosting my first Link-up party - Tea Time Thursdays. Would be glad to see you there :) May be you can post a link to this tutorial.

  8. That looks great. I've been doing somethign similar but using polyurethane to cover my wooden dining chairs. Link is here if you want to have a look
    lovely blog too a friend just sent me over!

    1. should I use poly on images I want to decoupauge on furniture I am panting , you think?

    2. This is a good question for the guest poster of this tutorial ( or for the commenter above ( who sounds like she has experience with furniture decoupage. Not having tried this myself I don't want to steer you wrong!

  9. Wow, this is such a great idea! This makes me wan't to find an old suitcase, and recover it!


  10. I love it!! I just did my baby girls dresser - and I LOVE seeing the suitcase!! Looks great!!

    1. I would like to see a picture of the dresser! This blog inspired me to do my sons night stand and would love some ideas or a completed project.


  11. this is so cute, i would have never thought do to it.
    following you now :)
    xo dana

  12. Great tutorial, and very precise! I Mod Podged a suitcase once and it was HARD. This one looks great!

  13. I love when I stumble upon people I "know" surfing around the internet. I listen to Jean's pocast & I love it! Nice project Jean. I have an old orange suitcase in my basement screaming to be covered in fabric!

  14. How CUTE! AND you could monogram your fabric before you it on the suitcase to personalize it even more. LOVE IT!

  15. Cute!! I have the exact same set of blue luggage. They belonged to my grandma :)

  16. This is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. LOVE!

  17. Very cool...exactly the tutorial I was looking for. I just purchased a vintage cosmetics case ($2) and after removing from Redskins stickers plan on Mod Podging some fabric to it. I'm still torn about whether I should try to give it a quilted look or go for a patterned fabric like you used. Thanks for all the helpful hints and tips. :D

  18. Can you do this to soft-sided luggage as well?

    1. This was done by a guest poster,, so she could say for sure, but I don't think this would work on a soft-sided suitcase since there would be a lot more bending and stress on the Mod Podge. Would probably cause cracking or peeling.

  19. Thank you for this information! It inspired me to do this to a nightstand.


  20. You got that great of a suitcase for $4?!?!?! To me, that is unheard of!! Thank you for the great idea!

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  22. Love the way you made it. So awesome. Thanks for sharing this cupcake DIY project.


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