I’ve had this vintage train case for over a year now. I found it a the thrift store for $5.
I’ve thought of many things to do with it, but finally I decided that a vintage-inspired wedding would be its destiny. So I made it into a card box.
I showed you last week this sneak peek, after I removed the rather icky lining. There was lots of fuzz and lint in it…thank goodness I worked in the garage (hence my lovely washing machine backdrop).
It looked like the lid of the train case wasn’t very thick. So I used a utility knife to cut a slit for the cards to go through. I cut it about the size of a large envelope (specifically, our Costco Christmas photo card envelopes, which are pretty big). I was torn about cutting the train case, actually! But since it was so inexpensive and I’ve seen this exact train case many times, I’m sure I can find another one. But if you prefer not to cut it, you can always keep the train case open for guests to place their cards into it and decorate the inside more elaborately.
I just kept cutting over the lines I drew over and over again until I finally cut through it.
My plan was to cover the train case with fabric. I measured the train case first…once all around the sides, the height, and the height/width of the top, and I cut two pieces slightly larger than my measurements. I wanted to use a fabric with a subtle print, and the original blue of the train case was also inspiring. I ended up stenciling a doily pattern in light blue, grey and light grey onto some canvas I found at the thrift store. I reviewed the Martha Stewart stencil a while ago, here.
I first worked on the top of the train case. I removed the handle using a flat screw driver and some pliers.
Then I covered the top with Mod Podge.
I pressed down the fabric, covering the holes where the handle was, as well as the slit I cut.
I trimmed off the excess, using the suitcase’s trim as a guide. That’s another reason why I wanted the blue-grey color palette…I planned to keep the original blue trim showing. To hide the raw edge of the fabric, I hot glued some jute twine along the inside of the trim.
Then I laid the lid top down on a self-healing mat…
…and used a craft knife to trim the fabric over the slit. I cut a little “V” at the ends and then cut along the middle, so that I could fold the fabric inward to cover the raw edges of the slit. I also cut out the holes for the handle to go back in.
Now for the hard part…the side of the train case! It’s one continuous piece, and I couldn’t get the hardware off. I was worried about damaging it so I stopped trying all together, but maybe next time I’ll try to figure it out, because cutting the fabric around the hardware was quite difficult. So first I applied a thin layer of Mod Podge to the sides of the train case (including the sides of the lid), and pressed down the fabric lightly, wrapping it all around (with the seam in the back). I'm just pressing down lightly for now because when I cut around the hardware, I will lift up the fabric again. This is just to help position the fabric so I know where to cut.
Then when it’s time to cut around the hardware, use it as a guide for your craft knife. Note: keep the train case closed but unlocked, as you will work around the hinges of the lock. And keeping the lid closed, I cut the fabric at the opening into two pieces. I lifted the fabric again and reapplied Mod Podge and really pressed down the fabric this time, making sure the fabric was correctly positioned around the hardware.
To cover the raw edges of the fabric, I hot glued some jute twine all around, including around the hardware. Then I reattached the handle.
Phew, all done with that part! Now for the final embellishments. I took a small embroidery hoop and used some extra stenciled fabric for the inside. I used stamps and fabric paint to write “Cards” on it. And finally, a burlap and light blue yoyo flower with a vintage gold button completes the project.
I hope this card box will find its way to a vintage-inspired wedding someday! I still need to line the inside, but this week has been rather busy so I will save that for when I have more time to do a good job on it.