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Sunday, July 22, 2012

This Vintage Suitcase D.I.Y is brought to you via See Kate Sew (pictured above right)and it is genius!
Made from a recycled suitcase , fabric and 4 leg post, this is so customizable ( ottoman, pet bed) that the possibilities are endless. Depending on the suitcase size,use for a pet bed, ottoman, child seat or for an adult ( but if it is for and adult, I suggest very thick sturdy legs)

You need:
vintage suitcase
4 legs
4 screw on leg attachments
1 piece of thin plywood cut to fit inside your suitcase
Foam or pillows to fit in your suitcase
Fabric / Suitcase sizes vary so you'll have to figure out how much pillow or foam you want to make your cushions how you want them

For complete tutorial go to See Kate Sew


This makes a great dog bed, just add short ( 2" post/knobs) or none at all. Though a short cut is to just place a large (slightly larger than the suitcase) pillow into a suitcase and you can make it with or without the lid.
If you do keep the lid on, the best part is that when company comes by, throw the dog toys in the pocket and just close the lid !

Variation 1: Full Suitcase with back

You Need:

  • Vintage Suitcase or any hard shell suitcase
  • Tools (hammer, drill-ribbon or strap material)
  • 4 “feet” (wooden doll heads/these work well because the have a flat side
  • Gorilla glue or other heavy-duty glue
  • 2 large snaps
  • Pillow
  • Pillow Cover ( suggest a lovely pattern)


  1. Clean that suitcase! Febreeze any musty smell and repair any damage to the lining.
  2. Measure for pillow. Using a tape measure, measure the width plus the depth of bottom suitcase cavity x 2. This gives you the width of your pillow. Then measure the height (from front to back) plus the depth of the bottom suitcase cavity x 2. This gives you the height. You must add the depth of the suitcase x 2 or else your pillow will end up too small.
  3. Sew your pillow together. Put right sides of fabric together and sew around leaving about a ½ inch seam allowance. If your suitcase has rounded corners you might want to round the corners of your pillow. Leave an opening for stuffing. Turn pillow right side out and stuff. Sew up opening by hand.
  4. Optional: Tuft your pillow. You can use two large buttons, heavy-duty thread or upholstery thread and a long needle. Using the long needle sew the buttons on the pillow. Enter the front of the pillow and exit at the back, repeating this over and over. This will make nice tufts and give your pillow some shape and a more finished look.
  5. Attach a strap to the back of the suitcase so it will not close on your pet.Place a mark about 4 inches in from the back of the suitcase on the top and bottom of your suitcase. Open the suitcase and measure the distance between these marks, making sure your measuring tape is taut. Cut a strap using that length plus about 1 inch. Attach snap tops to both ends of the strap following manufacturers instructions. Now depending on your suitcase this part is tricky. Improvise if you need to, every suitcase is different. Choose a drill bit that will be just large enough for your snap shaft to fit through. Drill a hole on the top and bottom of the suitcase at the marks you made. Be careful of the suitcase lining. Attach the snap bottom to your suitcase following manufacturers instructions. Like I said this can be the tricky part, you might need to use a craft knife to clean up the hole and make it just right for the snap. Be creative. Once you finish this part, you should be able to snap on the strap and it should keep the bed open and not allow it to close on your pet. It can also be removed when you want to travel or close up the bed.
  6. Attach feet. Once again, every suitcase is different; you may need to be creative with this step. The pic above are painted wooden dolls heads with gorilla glue at the bottom of the suitcase. Clean the area you are gluing very well and sand the area of the wooden dolls head and make sure it has no paint on the contact point. You may also be able to screw the feet on depending on what you are using.

Variation 2: No Back

You Need:

  • Vintage Suitcase or any hard shell suitcase
  • Tools (hammer, screwdriver)
  • Pillow
  • Pillow Cover ( suggest a lovely pattern)


  1. Open the suitcase and examine how it is hinged together.
  2. If it is screwed together, then you just need to unscrew the top half of the suitcase from the bottom half. If it is attached by some other means, then you will have to use your inner aggression and hammer it off.
  3. Discard the top half of the suitcase.
  4. Cover a pillow with the fabric of your choice.
  5. Place the pillow in the suitcase and tuck the corners in or you can make your own custom pillow.

Don't feel like D.I.Y'ing it? Then you can purchase one of these lovely ones from Atomic Attic!

Different Themes
Written by Lovely

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  1. I am starting this project (for a pet bed). I am wondering if I can paint the suitcase? I found a red one, but it's not near the color scheme of my living room. Do you have any experience/advice for this? Thank you!

  2. Yes, you can paint the suitcase, but the paint is dependent on the material of the suitcase.

    My suggestion, is that you take the suitcase with you when you go buy the paint and ask the paint person ( home depot or etc). They can tell you what is best. On my suitcase, I ended up spray painting it.