Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recycled Suitcase Chair

I'm in the process of creating an airplane room for our little boy--
he'll be 2 next month!

We've had this old gross dusty cobwebby Samsonite suitcase in storage forever. I don't
even know where it came from. There were a few things in the storage room when
we moved here. Maybe it came with our house?

Anyway--I've held onto it, even though it honestly was disgusting. I did consider
throwing it away. But I knew something good could come from it. And then
I had this GREAT idea! And I totally thought of it all by myself.

This is somewhat of my thought process, "Airplanes...suitcases...go together.
If the suitcase was open and secured...add some cute legs to it...it could totally be a chair!"

Then I Google searched it and found out that I am not the first person to think of it,
but that wasn't going to stop me. Katie Thompson, the designer behind Recreate, makes tons
of these, and they are amazing! (Does that put me in the same category
as hers because I totally thought of this too? I wish!).
But, I wanted mine to be a little different because I wanted my chair to
have a little compartment for Tucker to put his books and stuff in
so it could be a little reading chair.

Here's how I did it.
Yes, that does resemble a bunched up cobweb coming out of the side.

 I ripped all the lining out--check out all that dust! The whole time
I had to cover my face, because of all the dust. Then I scrubbed it down
and "Lysoled" it like crazy.

I found some small chair legs at Lowes for about $1.50 each. They came 
with bolts on them where they would connect to the furniture. I drilled
holes in the suitcase where I wanted the legs to go. Then I screwed them
on and fastened them with nuts.

Hey! Even at this stage it could be a cute little end table or something!

Then my husband and I cut some 2x4s down to fit inside where the seat
would be. We had two pieces laying front to back on each side, and one laying across 
the back. We glued these down with wood glue. We carved notches where the legs
were attached and cut some other areas so the wood would lay flat. 

 We then added some smaller thinner strips (glued them down) to the top of those 2x4s
creating a ledge for the compartment lid to fit on.
(Notice the "seems" on the smaller strips of wood are differentthan the wood below them--to help reinforce the frame we made).

We cut a piece the same thickness as the thinner strips of wood
that would fit as a lid,

 and added some hinges. The lid could now open and close.

To make the back of the chair stay upright, I started by drilling some holes
where indicated.

I fastened a ribbon from the back of the chair to the seat of the chair like shown
below with nuts and bolts where I had drilled the holes. I adjusted the
length of the ribbon to what would hold the back upright how I wanted before
fastening them. Do this to both the left and right side of the chair.

I wanted the lid to have a type of pull on it that would make it easier for our little
boy to open. I looped a ribbon and stapled it to the bottom front center of the lid piece.

Now we were ready to make the cushions. For the back of the chair I used some foam
that I had cut to the size of the opening of the back and added some batting to the top. 
The back padding of the chair needed to be thicker cushioned because I didn't
have it built up like I did for the seat part that had the compartment.

 I wrapped my fabric around it--similar to how I would wrap a present--and hand
sewed it to secure it. 

Then I covered 2 buttons with the same fabric
and secured them on the front to add little tucks to the fabric on the front.
I then just placed this cushion in the opening on the back--it was fluffy
enough to stay secure without any glue or anything. This would
not be hard at all to change fabrics--in case I ever have a little girl when
Tucker grows out of it. I can totally imagine it with a floral print of some type.

I did the seat cushion similar to the back cushion, but without as 
much batting added to the foam. I then hot glued the seat cushion
to ONLY the top of the lid piece and VOILA!

And I knew Tucker approved it when he said "Airpay chair!" and insisted that I sit
next to him on it :) I need to post a picture of him on it!

Visit thecsiproject.com


  1. I never would have thought of this! It's so creative and cute.

  2. Now that is creative!! You did a great job!! Looks fabulous too!

  3. That is so fun! Can't wait to see the whole room!

  4. I've seen the animal beds made out of old suitcases but never a chair! What a great idea!

  5. That is brilliant! The super secret storage is awesome too.

  6. Holy cow that is so cute Megs!

  7. OH my goodness that is just fantastic! I'm always amazed that no matter how incredible your own new idea is - when you google it, someone has thought of the exact same thing!
    I've NEVER seen this before and LOVE IT!!
    I would love if you came over and linked this project to my weekly Round Tuit party at:
    Have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  8. This is absolutely fabulous! I love it!

  9. That has got to be one of the most unique upcycle crafts I have ever seen! Visiting from CSI.
    How to add a Back to Top Button. 

  10. I love this...and guess what... i have an old suitcase in my garage just waiting for some kind of redo. Hmmmm. :)

  11. I love this. You are so creative.
    Don't you just love it when our little guys approve?
    Stopping by from the CSI project.
    I am your newest follower.
    Will you follow me too?

  12. Saw this on the CSI project and just had to check it out! Way cute and super innovative. Really great job! I'm following!

  13. OK, can I just go ahead and give you the unofficial CSI award right now??! That is amazing! So unique, so creative. Just, wow!

  14. Following you now! Looking forward to even more inspiration!

  15. What an AWESOME idea!Thanks for sharing!

  16. It‘s so nice that I found your blog about your link on CSI. Of course I’ve scrolled a little and like what I see. Now I’m your new follower! ;)

    Take care

  17. I love your idea! And what a cute idea for an airplane theme room.

    Thanks for sharing. Hopped over from The CSI Project.


  18. This project is adorable. I bet your son will love having a place of "hide" his books.

  19. This so creative and amazing! Love it! I might had to do it or at least put it in my "someday" pile!

  20. ok, this rocks my world!!! I love this and sooo creative. I also love how is storage too. OMG!!! This is so great.
    following you now. After this project, how could I not?

  21. :) awesome I'm on the lookout now for some old suitcases!!

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