So start collecting those vintage suitcases this spring and summer so you will have plenty of time to get them ready for this next fall/winter season.
Once you find your suitcase, wash with soap and water to remove any dirt and oils. Then use an all purpose sealer and apply to the area that you want to paint. Let dry for 24 hours.
Then base coat the area you are painting. This may take 2 to 3 coats. Then paint the design you have chosen.
I have chosen this design for this smaller suitcase. I wish I knew the artist to give them credit. If anyone knows, please fill me in! Once painted, add a sealer. I use a spray matte finish.
Then you will need to drill holes for your lights. Depending on how many lights you have, be sure you only drill the exact number of holes per light. I always drill from the outside in, it seems to make a nicer hole. You want to be sure not to drill holes further apart than what the distance is between lights on the strand. Suitcases that are made of cardboard are very touchy when drilling. Just go slow!!
The lights I use are silicone bulbs. They have a much warmer glow to them. You could use regular lights as well. I get them from shopcwi.com
They come in strands of 10 and 20 lights.
Then starting on one end, push the lights into the drilled hole. It should fit snug. If not, you can use a glue gun on the inside of the case around the hole.
Position the rest of the chord so it comes out of the bottom of the case. If you have a larger cases, the chord will not reach all the way to the bottom. The chord is small enough that should close just fine.
Ta Da!!!! I also add stippling of yellow/gold paint around the hole of the light. This gives the light more illumination.
I then add little extras on the handle depending on the scene painted. This one I added homespun around the handle, a hang tag that says, "Blessed" and a wood star with rusty tin wire and little bells.
If you have any questions, I would love to help you out!
I will be posting this design for sale on my etsy!