Wednesday, 19 February 2014

1:12 scale opening Suitcase Tutorial Part 3 - More embellishments and the LAST PART :D

And a hatbox has appeared out of nowhere... 

 Long straps and buckles

Glue "Leather" onto a strip of paper, (or fabric) then do the same on the reverse, and cut two equal lengths. Use a scrap piece of paper first, to determine the length you will need, for it to go around the box, and have room for the buckle and a bit for the tapered end. For example, this template, would require the straps to be 11cm long. The width is up to yourself.

It is easier to cut the strap out in "leather" first, then glue it onto the chosen medium, then glue a slightly larger piece of leather on the reverse(paper/fabric side), then turn over and cut around the first piece.

Put the strap in the jaws of your pliers, until the sides almost disappear, then make a mark on the pliers, with a felt tip, pencil, etc.

Put one end of the wire about halfway on the jaws, where you made the mark, close the jaws, and bend the wire around, as shown. (A past pet rat, left a memory chew on my plier handles at the top sweet of her.. :D ).

Remove the wire, and use the end of the pliers to hold the unbent side of the wire, so that you can bend the excess wire towards the other end of the wire.

You should end up with something like this, snip the wire close to the other end, or even better, snip it, so there is a small gap between  each end of the wire. That way it will sit perfectly over the buckle pin.

At one end of the strap, cut a notch. After cutting the parallel lines, you can use the tip of the knife, to remove the waste section quite easily. Use your pliers or tweezers to bend those tabs back, leaving a small gap, as shown.

Make sure the buckle, is slightly wider than the width of the strap.

Cut a piece of wire and use superglue to attach, as shown.

Place the buckle as shown, over the two bent tabs. Apply superglue to the back of each tab, and use the side of your tweezers to push each tab onto the strap. It is a bit fiddly, keeping the buckle in place. Do a practice run, before applying the superglue. You can then snip the excess wire. (if you left a small gap between the ends of the wire on the buckle, it sits more readily in position, something I discovered after taking these photos :D )

These are the bits that hold the strap in place on the suitcase. You will need at least 8. Glue "leather" onto a piece of cartridge paper, mark and cut out divisions as shown. They must be a few mm wider than the strap. Say the strap is 4mm wide, make these at least 7mm wide. Pierce holes, for no hole beads, then use a craft knife on the horizontal lines, then down the middle, to cut them all off at once.

You can glue the straps directly to the suitcase, and then glue these on. Or you can hold the straps in place, whilst using tweezers to attach these bits pre-glued, which is more fiddly. Whatever you do, do not glue the strap to the hinge side of the suitcase, which could affect how the suitcase opens.

Suitcase handle 2

The finished fastening is the piece with the loop at the top. Fold over a piece of cartridge paper. Draw a shape, similar to the one shown on the folded piece of paper, then cut out. You will need two of these, moustache like things. Cover one side of the shape, with "leather".

Another confusing photo. That shape, should be cut out. Anyway, get a piece of wire and wrap it around a thick needle, similar to the width of the narrow centre of the shape, twist the ends together, then snip the excess off, so you end up with a small wire circle.

Pinch the sides of one end of the shape. It helps to use a fine ball stylus to create a crease line. Insert the pinched bit, through the wire circle. Flatten out the pinch bit and glue the white sides together. You can put the tapestry needle through the circle to hold it, whilst you glue the edges together.

Glue some "leather" onto a piece of paper. Determine the length and width you want your handle to be. The pencil dots, are the width of this handle. The ends are tabs. Cut the piece out, and using a craft knife, make very small triangular nicks, where the pencil dots are ( just above where I have placed the wire loops).

On the reverse, use a ball stylus to shape. I also glued a tiny piece of "leather" on to the reverse, to save me having to paint it later.

As for the loop bits, pinch either end of the handle tabs together, put the loops on. Then open out the pinched end, and glue to the reverse of the handle. You can pierce the looped leather bits, and add no hole beads. These are also the bits that you glue, to attach to the suitcase.

I haven't included the positioning of the handles, straps etc. You can use pencil marks to mark out where you want to stick everything, or do it by eye. Just remember which side is the opening side, before attaching the handle :D

Once everything is stuck in place, there will be white edges here and there, so use a paintbrush and some brown watercolour paint to touch up. If you make straps for the interior, paint the edges of the pieces, before gluing into position - otherwise you can't risk painting the edges due to the proximity of the lining paper. Lesson learnt from experience :D

You can leave your suitcase picture perfect, or you can bash it up. I rarely bash anything, because, I am afraid to, but I gave it a go, and it was GREAT! I bashed mine in with the handle of my exacto knife, using it like a hammer, then I sanded it, scored it, etc. I nicked borrowed suitcase labels (vintage travel posters are good too) from all over the internet, of places I had been to, and resized them. (Hairspray those too..) I used the flat side of my fingernail to, sort of buff the paper quite fine, then stuck them onto the suitcase, then sanded and scraped bits off, then at the very end, painted on some ordinary household beeswax polish, in a circular motion, which gave it a lovely depth.

Shoeboxes and boxes

If you kept the little box templates, you will notice there are no tabs on them. I think the tabs make them too bulky, so I just cut them out, and added tabs with paper. Again, use hairspray to seal the ink, before cutting them out. There are two plain shoeboxes as well, score the side with the black lines, and fold so they are on the inside of the box when made up.

Cut two strips of paper the same height as the sides of the template.

Score the box first. Glue one end of the strip to the side, and then cut off, leaving a tab.

Fold the sides in, and fold over the tabs too, and make up the box, again using tweezers to hold the tabs in place.

A stack of tiny boxes! You can use a bit of paint to touch up the exposed corners. I didn't bother with that on the box at the bottom. Too lazy!

Oh and the Adlake Camera box has a Kodak ad on the back, whoops. I forgot to crop the Kodak bit out. But it looks fine. Just pretend it was an offer by Kodak to develop the film from the Adlake camera, I think, I am taking this too seriously...the box was scaled to fit an Adlake box camera, but I can't remember which one it was...

Isn't the Adlake graphic brilliant! I love it. I don't know if it is very clear to see, but you can see it more clearly here.

All the images used on the boxes are public domain, and are available at Vintage Printable

Er.......yes, I still haven't put the Christmas decorations away yet :D
Hope this tutorial comes in useful, I think there are little bits and pieces of it, that can be applied to other projects too.


  1. Hi Sarah! Well, I guess I started reading upside down your blog posts from part one till the third tutorial ;)! I do use the same technique as you for making the suitcase, but I can't write a tutorial, because the English language is not my mother tongue, the technical part of words is very difficult for me. Therefore I say thank you to you for writing these very clear and good tutorials!!
    Can I use the template for the shoebox and boxes for myself from your pdf-file? I took me so much time to read all the text in your posts (with the translator), that I can't remember if it is free.
    I like that idea to use the shoeboxes for cleaning up some loose things......
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Thanks Ilona, the pdf files are free to use. I hope the tutorial translates well into other languages.... :D

  2. Thank you for this tutorial. You`ve made beautiful suitcases.

    Greetings Xandra

  3. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! If my suitcase turns out half as cool as yours I will be over the moon :D

  4. Wonderful tutorial and wonderful always!!

  5. awesome I hope my group will make this luggage

  6. Thank you for a wonderful tutorial. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  7. Thank you so much for these amazing sharing!


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