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Upcycling for Good

Paint an old suitcase with an updated new finish

Refresh an old suitcase with a cool new retro look.

Resene upcycling for good with Sarah Herring - Project 15

Finished project
Finished project

You will need: Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat Resene testpots in Resene Dark Side, Resene Celebrate and Resene Alabaster. Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer Sandpaper Testpot and detail brushes.

Tips and tricks: This revamped suitcase is ideal for office storage, or as an art feature in its own right somewhere in the home! You could even take it one step further and turn it into a seat or a table.

Paint a old retro suitcase
Finished project
Retro suitcase before painting
Step 1 Step one
First clean the suitcase. Then apply a coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer to the entire outer of the suitcase, to ensure the topcoats will adhere well.
Step 2 Step two
Once the Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer has dried, paint the entire outer surface of the suitcase with a coat of Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat. This was necessary for this suitcase as it was quite dark, so Sarah wanted to hide as much of the original colour as possible. It also adds another layer when it comes to distressing the paint at a later stage.
Step 3 Step three
Apply the first of your chosen colours. Sarah used Resene Celebrate. Apply two coats to the central panels of the suitcase, including over all the metal knobs and locks.
Step 4Step four
Apply two coats of your second colour to the main faces of the suitcase. Sarah chose Resene Dark Side to go with the Resene Celebrate because together they still invoke a retro feel, while totally freshening up the look and feel of the suitcase.
Step 5Step five
Once all the painted surfaces are completely dry, paint on some vintage-style text, using Resene Alabaster. Sarah painted ‘Bon Voyage’ but you could choose anything travel related. The easiest way to do this is to make a stencil, or like Sarah, a transfer. If you are really confident you can just paint directly onto the suitcase. A retro font will suit the style of the suitcase best.
Step 6Step six
Rough up all the paintwork with some sandpaper to add character and retain the vintage feel of the suitcase. Sarah paid close attention to the metal clasps and locks, as exposing a bit of the metal through the paint gives a great effect.
Step 3 - detail
Step 3 - detail
Step 4 - detail
Step 4 - detail
Step 5 - detail
Step 5 - detail

Upcycling for Good

You can find a huge range of treasures, from ornaments and picture frames, to furniture and toys at your local Salvation Army store that you can easily upcycle with a little Resene paint and some imagination.

"Our Family Stores are full of treasures generously donated by members of the public. We value these donations and try our hardest to re-purpose and sell as much as possible. We’re all about re-using and recycling, so teaming up with Resene on Upcycling for Good was a perfect match. Resene’s products and tips are a natural fit with our pre-loved furniture and accessories, which are usually great quality but could sometimes do with a lick of paint to ensure they fly off the shelves.

Each year, nationally, our stores save 16,000 tonnes from landfill. This initiative increases the value of the donated product, improves the range of goods for our customers, and furthers The Salvation Army’s mission and Resene’s community activity.” Gareth Marshall, The Salvation Army's National Family Store Manager.

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