How to Make Suitcases Into Sliding Drawers

How to Make Suitcases Into Sliding Drawers thumbnail
The handle on your old suitcase is a natural drawer pull.

There is something inherently appealing about an old piece of luggage: Whether it's worn leather, faded fabric or bright candy-colored vinyl, a suitcase has an air of history and glamor. The large interior is often fitted with lovely satin pockets, pouches and dividers, providing a natural place to tuck away treasures. Add vintage charm and character to any room with stacking storage boxes that make use of those old hard-sided suitcases as ready-made drawers.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1/4-inch plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Sanding block
  • Wood glue
  • 1/2-inch brads
  • Hammer or brad gun
  • Drill
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    • 1

      Measure the length, width and depth of your suitcases. Three suitcases in the same size or a graduated-size set are ideal. Add 2 inches to each measurement.

    • 2

      Cut two pieces of 1/2-inch plywood to match the length and width measurements of each suitcase, using a circular saw. These will serve as the top and bottom of the storage box. Cut two pieces to match the width and depth measurements, which are the sides of the box. Cut one piece to the depth and length measurements to form the back of the box.

    • 3

      Lightly sand the edges of each piece with a sanding block to remove any roughness left after cutting.

    • 4

      Apply a bead of wood glue to one long edge of one side piece. Stand the two side pieces up on their long edges. Line up the short edge of one top piece over the long edge of the glued side piece; these sides should both be the same length. Keep the other side piece upright under the top piece as a temporary support.

    • 5

      Nail through the top piece into the glued edge of the side piece with 1/2-inch brads to secure -- one on each end.

    • 6

      Set the L-shaped piece aside briefly to apply glue to the edge of the other side piece. Stand it up and align the other edge of the top piece you just nailed with its edge. Nail a brad into each end and every 2 to 3 inches between the ends. Return to the other side and add brads every 2 to 3 inches between its end.

    • 7

      Flip the now U-shaped assembly over and apply glue along the long edges of each upright side piece. Lower the bottom piece onto the assembly and line up the edges. Nail in place on each side as in Step 6. You should now have a rectangular box, open on each end.

    • 8

      Flip the box up on one end and apply glue around the rectangular opening. Put the back piece in place. Nail to secure with a brad in each corner and every 2 to 3 inches around. Let the glue dry overnight.

    • 9

      Build a box to measure, in the same manner, for each suitcase. Finish each box with paint or stain as you like -- all the same or all different.

    • 10

      Stack the boxes and slide in the suitcases, with the pulls facing out. Slide them out of the box to add or remove items, then slide back in.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can permanently configure multiple boxes into a dresser by removing the suitcases and nailing each box together.

  • Add casters to the bottom of the bottom box for a movable piece, or to the bottom of each box for attractive under-bed storage.

  • Allow a slightly musty suitcase to air in the sun for a day or two, or close it up with an open container of odor-absorbing crystals, kitty litter or a couple of dryer sheets inside.

  • Use caution when working with power tools.

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