lauren spitler

Sunday, February 7, 2016

DIY: Disney Suitcase

As I prepared to leave on my Disneyland trip back in November, I teased a picture on my Instagram of this suitcase I painted. You can see pictures from that trip here if you haven't already!

My sister gave me this suitcase she bought at Goodwill years ago and no longer needed. I came up with the idea that I wanted to paint it. I look back on this project and smile because this was one of those things where I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it, but I had a vision for it, and made it happen.

The suitcase was probably just a few dollars, and it certainly wasn't perfect. There are a few little hiccups in the zipper (nothing major), and one of the little feet on the bottom of the suitcase is missing, but it's okay! These quirks give the suitcase some character… or should I say characters?? (ba-dum-ch) Get it? See, because there are a bunch of characters on it… hahaha.. ah.. boy.. moving on!

I had to learn a bit about the painting process along the way and figured I would share my new knowledge with you all in case you find yourself wanting to do something similar in the future!

If you are interested in knowing HOW I did it and what I used, keep reading after the pictures below :)

Back: Peter Pan, Aladdin, and Tangled!

Left Side: The Seven Dwarfs :)

Right Side: My other favorite group of guys along with the Dwarfs, the Lost Boys!

Front: UP, Finding Nemo, Dumbo, Mickey and Minnie, and Ariel with Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle! Also, can you spot the Hidden Mickey? Leave a comment on this post if you found it!

I had to be sure and include a bunch of my favorites on this suitcase!! I have many more favorite characters and scenes in mind and ready for a future project though, whenever that may be :)

**If you would like to see any close-up pictures of any sides in particular, let me know--I would be happy to whip the camera out again! Just comment on this post or message me about it, and I'll post the additional pictures here for you to see :)**

What I used:

  • A vinyl suitcase (probably just a few bucks when my sister purchased from thrift store)
  • Acrylic paint (yes, the cheap stuff you can get at the craft store for like 60 cents a bottle)
  • A variety of paintbrushes including very tiny ones for details
  • Satin Varnish (Can also be found at most craft stores)
  • Gloss Varnish
  • Flat (and quite wide) sable paintbrushes to seal

I had never painted on vinyl before so this was a bit interesting, but my go-to paint for any project is acrylic paint from the craft store. I learned about different ways to possibly seal my project once it was finished and decided on the varnishes listed above. 

The beauty of using the acrylic paint on vinyl is that until you seal it in the end, it can be fairly easily washed off with just water. So, what this means is that if you're not happy with something, you can take a cotton swab with a little bit of water, like I did, and "erase" your work. Also, when I was all finished with a side, I took a wipe along the edges to clean it up and this was EASY and gave it a much cleaner look and the illusion that I'm a more precise painter than I am. All smoke and mirrors, people. Let it be said for those that are worried your hours of work will be for waste, once it is sealed with the varnishes, it cannot be wiped off with water. Phew.

Now, I can't just list you all a step-by-step to-do now because that will be up to you and your design! I chose to paint on all sides of the suitcase, leaving some of the vinyl exposed for contrast. My technique was to finish a side completely, let it dry (for at least a day), and then paint on the varnish coats. I used one coat of Gloss Varnish first, and then followed with two coats of the Satin finish, with at least 3 hours between each coat, as the product labels instruct.

If you have any further questions about the process, let me know OR if you think you are going to embark on your own Disney DIY project soon, tell me about it! 

If you were to paint a suitcase of your own, which characters or scenes would you want to see on it? :)

x Lauren
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