The night before I flew to Austin I took a long, hard look at my favorite suitcase. It’s a “million-miler” bag that’s traveled all over the world, still sturdy with maybe another million miles left in its useful life.
But it’s solid black.
Seriously, how many solid black suitcases have you seen on the baggage belt? Hundreds? Thousands? The only problem with this bag is how hard it is to identify it at luggage claim.
I’ve tried tying various flashy objects to this suitcase on previous trips. Christmas tinsel, worry dolls, fuzzy yarn – you name it. But every time my embellishments have been torn off in transit, or looked ridiculous. I wanted a more permanent solution to the basic black bag.
So, the night before I flew to Austin, I decided to decoupage my suitcase. And thanks to the bone-dry climate of our high mountain desert, it was done and ready to pack an hour later.
While I would have liked to go completely crazy with this decoupage project, with maybe Frida Kahlo and dancing skeletons, I only had an hour to work on this – AND my husband also uses the suitcase, so understatement was the order of the day.
Here are the finished pix, taken AFTER I flew to Austin and back again. I was thrilled to see how well the decoupage survived the armies of baggage handlers!
How I Did It in Under an Hour:
- First, I located the flattest, least-flexible part of the suitcase – which was around the reinforcing frame of this particular bag – and measured it.
- Next, I cut a strip of gift wrapping paper to my measurements, in this case, a strip 2-1/2” wide by 66 inches long. I did a “dry wrap” to be sure that the strip fit the frame.
- I’ve had best luck decoupaging paper that’s wet. So I rolled the long strip into a loose circular roll, and dropped it into a bowl of water.
- I immediately swiped Mod Podge around the frame of the suitcase using a foam brush. I worked as quickly as I could so that meanwhile the paper didn’t soften too much in the water.
- Then – the moment of truth – I removed the paper from the bowl of water and allowed the excess water to drip off as I unscrolled it.
- I picked the midpoint of the paper and began to apply the paper to the pre-Mod-Podged band around the suitcase, starting at the top center, moving down the sides, finally wrapping around the lower corners to meet at the bottom center.
- I sealed the strip of paper to the suitcase with more Mod Podge – this project used quite a bit of the stuff – pressing out any air bubbles with wet fingertips as I worked.
- After this coat of Mod Podge was completely dry, I applied a second coat.
And done! At the airport I recognized my bag immediately! And as I said, the decoupaged paper held up remarkably well to its first round trip.
I can’t wait to do another …