Sometime last year, on one of my trips to Bungalow 47, I picked up a wooden case. In my mind I call it a wooden suitcase. But it doesn't match up with any images online for wooden suitcases. Not even close. A major difference would be the latch system. This case just has two tiny hooks - one on each side - that keep it closed. A fairly inefficient closing mechanism compared to the "real" suitcases. Not exactly the kind of suitcase you would leave with a porter to go into the luggage car on the train. It also doesn't match up with any images for wooden cases, wooden sales cases, wooden brief cases, or anything else I can think of.
So what I have decided is that some practical farmer (or whatever) either didn't have access to suitcases or didn't want to spend the money for one and decided to make it. He did a good job. This thing is pretty dang sturdy.
I don't have any idea how old it is. The leather handles are pretty cracked and crumbly, but not in any danger of crumbling apart.
I have visions of a family sending their son off to school at Michigan State. Or their daughter packing the case to move into Detroit to work at Hudson's Department Store, or in a secretarial pool at Ford Motor Company. Or it could have been made for somebody's daughter to store her doll clothes in. Who knows? I probably just have an overactive imagination.
But it certainly does look like it might have rumbled around in the back of an old pick-up truck or two.
I wanted to clean it up a bit. And and I wanted to paint it. And I wanted to try out some Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint. So I mixed up some Kitchen Scale and painted it. (I get my MMS Milk Paint from Lorraine at Miss Flibbertgibbet)
Finally, in my "it's not spring yet" malaise I spent some of my lazy time over at the Graphics Fairy looking for some lovely thing to enhance my sad, neglected wooden suitcase. Finally I found some pretty little images of fancy vintage scissors here and here.
I printed out 5 of each of them and had lazer copies made so that I could use a reverse decoupage method to apply them to the box.
Isn't it lovely? No more sad, lonely, neglected wooden suitcase.
Now that the suitcase feeling better about itself, I will tell you a little bit about my MMS Milk Paint experience.
The paint went on well. I used one good coat of paint. There was very little crackling and pulling back of paint. There were a few places on the front and back of the suitcase that I rubbed away some flakes. I think that I had hoped that there would be more places where the paint pealed away. Most of the case looked like the picture below. I think that it took the paint really well because the wood was so dried out.
Then it sat for however many months.
Then I put on the decorative pieces. When you use reverse decoupage you are basically decoupaging the piece upside down. Then you use a wet washcloth and wet fingertips to remove the paper from the image that is stuck to the object you are decoupaging. So between sitting for several months without being sealed, the water, and the rubbing the surface of the suitcase, a LOT more of the paint came off. (there is a really good tutorial for it here) It is actually much more like I thought it would end up and more like I wanted it to be.
I finished it off with CeCe Caldwell clear wax and Light Antiquing Wax over the whole piece. I believe if I had used the wax before I decoupaged the piece that the paint would have stayed on better. I think it would look a little better if I had done it that way, but I'm really not disappointed in how it turned out. I haven't had the opportunity to try out MMS wax or Hemp Oil yet. I think that this would have been a great time to use the Hemp Oil. Even with several coats of wax the box still feels pretty thirsty.
For now I will use it to store some of my vast supply of magazines. I have plans for it when I redo the office later this year. But that is MANY projects down the road for me.
Make something wonderful today!
p.s. If you have any ideas about what this might have been other that a homemade suitcase, let me know!
In the meantime, we'll be out partying:
Shabby Art Boutique
Beneath My Heart
Between Naps On The Porch
The Dedicated House
The Graphics Fairy