Saturday, June 16, 2012

Miniature leather suitcase from Altoids cases

Supplies Needed:  Altoids smalls tin-2 1/4 x3" size
Old leather wallet , tacky glue, black or brown marker, leather cord , peel off metallic sticker from scrapbook aisle.

Finished suitcase next to Altoids case

Finished suitcase next to open Altoids case

Click on picture to enlarge for

Not many supplies are needed for this project.  An empty Altoids case the mini size, an old leather wallet, tacky glue, leather jewelry cord and stickers from the scrapbook aisle.  These look like metal and they go into the corners of your pictures.  I cut small areas off for the locks and the metal handle holders.  Optional are the maps and tickets in the pocket which I printed off from a free printies site.

This suitcase is made to stay open or partially close because I used the already existing hinges from the case.  When adding the leather it adds a little more thickness than the hinges can handle to close shut.  I am working on more suitcases making hinges from the inside
Cut about 1/2 inch down from all stitching on the wallet making a straight piece.  If you notice on the picture I used this portion inside the suitcase to line the walls. and the back lid. 

 I unloosened the hinges by pulling them back and released the lid and removed.  Glue the top and the bottom to the wrong side of the big piece of leather.  Let dry and then using small sharp scissors cut around the bottom and the top.   Where you have cut use a brown or black marker and paint the raw edges that you have cut.  Now apply a thin ribbon of glue all around where the leather is meeting the metal.  This will be where you apply the leather cord.  It will seal off the area on the tin where the next piece of leather will butt up to it.   Allow to dry. 

  Now cut a thin piece of leather that fits butted up to the cord and then reaching the top of the tin.  This is the side areas.  After fitting use marker to seal off raw edges just cut.  When happy with the fit glue onto sides and let dry.  Hold at any seams with clothes pins.  Do the top lid and the bottom the same way.

The insides I used the black satin that is inside the wallet to stabilize it.This is  used for  the lining in the lid and bottom.  Cut a pattern out of paper  first and then lightly glue onto a card stock piece cut from the pattern.  A piece of card stock from scrap booking in the same color of satin will be best.  Glue into lid and bottom.  Next using the strips that have the stitching , fit and then glue to the inside-sides of the tin.  On the lid using satin and a small thin piece I made a pocket, gluing on the sides and aroud  bottom only so I could put maps and tickets in there.

A handle is created from some of the leather that has been stitched and using the marker color both sides now glue on the ends only and hold until dry with clothes pins.  The  areas where the hinges go back in can be cut with a slit using an exacto knife.  Slice the leather and insert and tighten up the hinges.

The metal looking stickers select areas that look like locks and glue to lid and bottom.  I cut little triangle areas and glued to the ends of the handle to look like metal supports on the handle.

One wallet will be enough to make 2 of these suitcases.  They can be found for a song at garage sales or thrift stores.   The older the better.  To enhance the leather use face creme or furniture  polish to bring a shine to the leather.    I preferred mine to be a little beat up.  When going thru my Fathers things after he passed away, I found every wallet I had ever got him over a period of 30 years, still brand new in the boxes.  I kept them for such a project as this.

This would look good on a bed with clothes draped over it.  Or if you were real crafty you could pack it with clothes and shoes.   It is an easy project, you just have to fit and cut a lot.

If you like Altoids you could save the tins and use this for a club project.  I like the sugar free.  They fit into a pocket  or purse and don't take up a lot of space.  I find mine at Walmart and Walgreen.

You could use this same process using material or prints.  I would paint the back of my material with a little glue or Modge Podge first and allow to dry.  It will stabilize the material.  A little girls suitcase in pink would be cute.  Or a little boys in blue filled with all the toys necessary for a vacation trip!


  1. Wow! What a fantastic result you got! I love mini suitcases, and yours is divine! Thank you for the fantastic tutorial, Karen! xo Jennifer

  2. Awesome job! Very easy to follow too! Thank you.

  3. That suitcase is wonderful! Makes me want to run out and buy some Altoids.

  4. It´s fantastic! Thanks to share


  5. Wow they look great. My husband bought a box of Altoids this size so I could make a whole collection of suitcases. Definitely on my to do list.

  6. Great tut! Thank you for sharing.

  7. LOL!! My husband had a box of mini Altoids, hmmmm?!!! LOL!! (I could dump them into an envelope and run.....LOL!! I need that tin!!)