Sunday, June 30, 2013

Do You Remember "Train Cases"?

I'm going to share a project with you that I've been "thinking about" for at least 10 years...and have been "working on" for the last 3 weeks.  After many years of procrastination, I finally decided to complete this project before my next trip.

Here's a test to see how old you are.  Do you remember "train cases"?  Raise your hand if you do.  If you don't, stay tuned for an ancient history lesson.  :)  

A "train case" used to be the smallest piece of luggage back when luggage was "hard-sided" instead of "soft-sided" like it is now.  It was usually square-ish and was the vintage equivalent of the modern-day "carry-on" luggage...back when people traveled by train instead of airplane.

About 10 years or so ago, I purchased a vintage "train case" for $3.00 to carry toiletries in when I travel.   The theory was that if I had something that I could keep "stocked", I wouldn't have to run around and gather up the toiletries, curling irons, etc., that I need when I travel...invariably forgetting something important, like contact solution, etc. 

From the time I bought it, it was pretty "rough".  The inside had stains from spilled lotions, etc., and the outside had scuff marks.  When I first got it, I decided that I'd try to glue some fabric to the inside to cover the stains, but over the years of use, that fabric had come loose.

I decided it was finally time...time to make this thing look...well...adequate, if nothing else.  ;)

I "googled" train case makeovers and found that it is quite a business for some artsy-minded people.  They buy these cases, fix them up, and then sell them.  They turn out quite darling with tole-painted flowers on the outside and ruffles inside, etc.  Some people use them as sewing kits, storage, etc.

I figured I'd try my hand at "upgrading" my train case.  Even if I couldn't make it look as pretty as the ones I found online, at least it would look better than it currently did.  

Most people completely "gut" the case, first, but I really wasn't up for quite that much work.  Instead, I did a partial gutting.  I started by removing the "panel" that was inside the lid and all the lining that surrounded it, since the panel and the lining were already coming off.

Basically, the "panel" was a piece of cardboard covered with a piece of cloth.  I kept the panel to reuse in the makeover.

I also took a craft knife and cut the satin liner that came up from the bottom and covered the hinges so that it was level with the top of the rest of the bottom lining.  I scraped off the glue that had been holding the panel and surrounding satin.

I applied one coat of Kilz primer with a brush on the inside of the train case, including over the satin liner of the bottom part.  Then I coated the inside with 2 coats of white paint that I had leftover from a free quart I got from Glidden a couple years ago.  I used 2 coats of Behr paint with primer (a sage green) on the outside of the case.  (That paint was leftover from one of the bedrooms that I painted about 3 years ago.)

I cut some fabric into 1.25" strips and, using decoupage, applied them around the inside of the lid and down the inside back to cover the "joints" where 2 pieces of satin meet.  I covered the "panel" with 2 layers of leftover polyester batting and a piece of fabric and glued it back inside the lid.

And now...for the reveal...

Much better, don't you think???

(Kristin, do you recognize the fabric?)  The fabric was gifted to me by my niece, Kristin, after her wedding.  She had used it to make runners for her tables and, since she doesn't sew (yet), she gave the fabric to me afterward!  :)

It may not be as froo-frooey and pretty as some of the train case makeovers, but it is a BIG step up from what it was!   And the nice thing is that since the inside now has a couple coats of paint, if something spills, I can just wipe it up and it shouldn't stain!  

Now, I've got to get it stocked again for our next trip!  :)



  1. Oh, my train case was a must! I had a blue one, very like yours. I love your makeover!

  2. Awesome makeover! I love the fabric! And I remember my mother always had a train smelled of lipstick and Windsong perfume! Sigh! :o)

  3. I remember many that mom went through. COOL!

  4. Very cool! I like your procrastination picture... I understand!