02 May 2014

Project: Cardboard Suitcase Makeover

For years I've had a set of cardboard storage suitcases that I use to hold greeting cards, old calendar pages, and other paper keepsakes. They're very useful, but the pattern faded over time from sunlight exposure and the color scheme doesn't match the decor I'm currently using. Since there was nothing wrong with the set otherwise, I decided to give them a makeover.

Here's what they look like now:

And here's what one of them looked like before:

I wanted to use some William Morris wrapping paper that I had to cover the cases, but I knew that covering the entire case would be too tricky since the plastic hardware is not removable. I decided to cover just the tops of each lid and paint the rest, using a coordinating accent color for the sides of the lids. I chose Behr's zero VOC paint in Cottage White, satin finish, for the main color and Martha Stewart satin craft paint in Summer Haze, Artichoke, and Piglet for the accent colors. The accent colors are all a little brighter than the colors of the William Morris paper, but they complement them well.

The cases took many coats of paint, partly because I didn't use a primer or flat paint first. Starting with primer or flat paint would probably also make the finish a little more durable, so keep that in mind if you'd like to try this on storage containers that get a lot of use. I painted the body of the suitcases with the Cottage White first, using foam brushes for the most part and an old artists' paintbrush to go around the hardware. Then I painted the accent color on the sides of the lids, making sure to go under the lip for a seamless look.

When the painting was finished, I traced each lid on the wrong side of the paper I wanted to use and cut on the traced lines. To apply the paper, I used Scotch double-sided roller adhesive, which is easy to use, very thin, and holds extremely well. I ran the roller around all of the edges of the lid and then in a lattice pattern over the middle, then carefully aligned the paper and smoothed it on. So far I've had no problems with the paper or the paint coming off, but you could go over both with a craft sealer to increase durability.

I'm really pleased with how this project turned out, especially since I'm pretty inexperienced with painting. There's often a big difference between how you envision a project and the final result, but this project ended up looking exactly as I hoped it would!

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