Category Archives: Vintage Suitcases

A Crafty Project – Work in Progress – Refurbishing and Up-cycling Vintage Suitcases – Part 1

I can’t reveal why at the moment, but all will become more clear as this project progresses. I have recently purchased a number of “vintage suitcases” seven to be exact, and I intend to refurbish, and up-cycle them, again, it’s a little “hush hush” for now, but as this project develops and progresses, all will become clear.

This is suitcase no 1. The hinges, in fact all metal furnishings are incredibly rusted and tarnished.


As you can probably see.





There was a luggage label attached to it, which I carefully steamed off, and like any miser skinflint, stuck straight onto eBay.

Vintage luggage label – Messageries Maritimes -SS CAMBODGE – SS STELLA SOLARIS

My reasoning for this, was perhaps somebody collects these types of labels? Or even that someone would like them as an addition to their refurbished suitcase? Who knows? But it is of no use to me, unless it does not sell, so when eBay provide free listings, it would be quite foolish to look a gift horse in the mouth.

You’ll see in my listing, that I did a bit of research about the liner in question, and provided a Wiki link to an information page all about it.

There were a number of strange coincidences about these cases when I went to pick six of them up from one seller. We got chatting, and I explained, that one of the cases had caught my eye, because it was the exact same model of overnight case, that I had as a teenager in the 1980’s. we got talking more, as I recognised her, and I could not place from where. I discovered that this person was a florist, and it wasn’t until I was travelling home, that I realised that she was the florist that had arranged my flowers for my first wedding, which was spooky in itself. The spookiest thing is that there is a name on one of the suitcases, the name of a former work colleague from my first ever full time job in 1985.

If you start to read my blogs, you’ll discover that I digress frequently, but do get back to the point eventually, so it’s worth bearing with me and riding the digression out 🙂

Right so back to it…..

I have very sensitive skin, so I avoid harsh cleaning chemicals like the plague, and apart from anything else, to some respects, I want to refurbish these suitcases as sympathetically as I can to get them to the end result that I want. So quite a bit of research was in order.


I read on The Kitchn’s site, that it is possible to remove rust with a potato, and baking soda. I found that bicarbonate of soda is the UK equivalent of baking soda, so used that instead. You slice the potato, and dip it in the bicarbonate of soda and this in theory dissolves the rust – result – Yes it does, but not significantly enough, and it is quite a messy method, so a little more research was in order.

I read on Wiki How to do anything, that a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water, applied with a toothbrush works also. So I have just applied the paste to the front of the suitcase fixings, and have left it to sit for an hour, then I intend to scrub the paste off with a slice of cut potato, then rinse away and buff. I will upload pictures of the results with the next enthralling episode.

Have a great day

Love from

Crafty Mrs Mac

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