How to Make a Suitcase Dresser with detailed steps

Laura from Blue Door Decor finished this funky dresser makeover inspired by vintage suitcases to add a colorful statement to a guest bedroom/home office!

When a client requested this custom piece and showed me a picture of her vision, I was beyond excited to get started. It’s always tempting to dive right into painting, however a few minutes of prep work is time you won’t regret.

The Suitcase Dresser Before & after #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint
Beautiful Suitcase Dresser Before & After

So first things first. After a quick wipe down with a wet rag, I lightly sanded all surfaces then wiped everything down again to remove the sanding dust. It’s a messy job, but an important step to make sure any grime is removed before painting. Next, three light coats of Vanilla Frosting paint were applied to the body of the dresser. It works best to paint multiple thin coats allowing for sufficient drying time between layers. This process helps to ensure the paint adheres correctly. A little Antiquing Wax was used to highlight the beautiful details and then Natural Wax was applied all over to seal and protect.

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

Now onto the fun part: the drawers. First, the existing hardware was removed and screw holes were puttied over since just one handle would be added to the center of each drawer; okay, let’s be honest, this part wasn’t super fun. Next the drawers received two coats of Fireside, Rustic Charm, Elegance and Hurricane. Once the paint was dry, the real creative fun began. To create a tweed effect, a little Icicle was dry brushed over Elegance and sealed with White Wax. A heavy coat of Antiquing Wax was applied over Fireside, Rustic Charm and Hurricane to produce an aged appearance. I basically just played around until I was happy with the results. Paint pens in black and white were used to make the illusion of a horizontal line separating the bottom and top of the suitcase. It looks pretty realistic, if I do say so myself.

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

I could have stopped there and called it good, but decided to use the original stripes on two of the drawers to add even more dimension and interest. These were painted to look like leather straps using Dark Roast, Liquorice, Smoky Quartz Glaze and Antiquing Wax.

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

Finally, vintage inspired latches and handles were added to replicate the suitcase look. As with most furniture makeovers, the hardware is the icing on the cake and really completes the finished piece. This mismatched collection added a ton of eclectic character and charm. Three of the handles were leftovers from other projects. My obsessive urge to not throw stuff away comes in handy once in a while. Though not as often as my husband would like (he’s a thrower). The handle on the green drawer came off the original dresser which I felt gave a sentimental nod to the history of the piece which has been in the clients family for generations. Thankfully I’m not the only person who likes to hold onto cool old things.

I do have to give credit to my darling husband who graciously attached all the hardware for me. Trust me, there’s a lot of tiny little screws in those adorable latches. Fortunately, he’s much more efficient and precise than me with the ruler and power tools. I’ll stick to a paint brush. Thanks honey!

The client and I are both thrilled with the way this dresser turned out. It is so unique and charming, I just may have to paint another for myself.

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -

The Suitcase Dresser #DIY #furniturepaint #paintedfurniture #homedecor #chalkpaint #suitcase #dresser #funky #refurbish #countrychicpaint -


Laura {Blue Door Decor}

Hello. I’m Laura, a small town Midwestern gal with a love for all things old and dripping with character. I hate to throw anything cool away, so the process of saving old furniture and giving it new life with paint had me addicted after my first project. I’m also pretty frugal and believe you don’t have to spend a fortune on new things to decorate a home. I started my business, Blue Door Decor, after I ran out of my own things to paint. I love painting furniture and helping others use a mixture of old and new to create unique, beautiful, comfortable homes.

Make sure to follow Laura on Facebook!

7 thoughts on “How to Make a Suitcase Dresser with detailed steps

  1. I’ve got stuff in my garage, that I’ve got to. Chalk paint and distress,
    But, I’ve been through so much ,2014, 2015, I’ve lost my nephew, six months , we lost his mom
    She had cancer in her brain. Then I lost my sister in-law, and my dad from diemencia, I’m waiting, for spring time to get started , on all my stuff I have to work on. LOVE your beautiful dresser , you’ve done.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Suzanna! I’m glad you enjoyed this project. I’m so sorry to hear about all of your losses. Maybe a bit of relaxing painting time is just what you need 🙂

  2. Hi Suzsnna. I’m sorry for your losses and the difficult past few years. I pray spring is a time of renewed life and many blessings for you. Laura

  3. Hi! I’m working on a piece like this. How did you get the black and white line to look so realistic? What was your process?

    1. Hi Luisa,
      Thanks for stopping by! To create the horizontal lines, Laura used black and white paint pens and a ruler to draw them on over top of the paint.

    1. Hi Paul,
      I’m not sure where Laura got her latches, but I would recommend checking somewhere like Amazon! It’s a specialized item that might be hard to find locally, but I’m sure they could be found online.

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