Sunday, January 17, 2010

Suitcase coffee table

Suitcase table
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
Anyone can stack a few suitcases on top of each other to create an end table, but why not take a fresh approach that's both modern and utilitarian. By incorporating casters, you'll have a coffee table that can glide out of the way when you vacuum or can slide closer when you’re noshing on the couch. And hey, who couldn’t use the extra storage hidden inside the coffee table?

What you need:
  • Suitcase
  • Casters**
  • Wood scraps
  • Spray paint
  • Level
  • Heavy duty adhesive
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Screws and washers

What to do:
  1. Thrift stores often have lots of vintage suitcases. For this project, you’ll want one that’s hard-sided, large and boxy. You’ve seen ‘em – they’re the ones that you’d never be able to lift if they were packed full of stuff. If you can find a case that’s completely rectangular, you’re in great shape. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a few adjustments using the wood scraps.
  2. Do a dry fit with the wood scraps, which serve a dual purpose of reinforcing the suitcase and making it horizontally level. I ended up using scraps from a 2x4 and a 1x4, but you’ll have to see what your particular suitcase needs. Ultimately, the blocks only need be 4” to 6” long to provide enough space to mount the casters.
  3. Spray paint the scraps silver to match the casters.
  4. Use screws and washers to attach the casters to the wood scraps. Be sure to select screws that won’t pierce through the back side of the wood.
  5. Using a construction-type adhesive like Liquid Nails, glue the wood-caster combo to the bottom of the suitcase about 1.5” in from the sides. (I recommend glue, rather than screws, for attaching the wood-caster combo to the suitcase -- most old suitcases are made of some funky yet flimsy particleboard and the screws can compromise the strength of the particleboard.)

**Note: I suggest using casters that are at least 4” in diameter in order to get that modern, industrial-chic look. You can buy large casters at your local home store, but they’re usually pretty pricey. I recommend trolling the web instead (thank you eBay!). You’ll want to search for swivel caseters, keeping in mind that at least two should have brakes. That way you won’t constantly be chasing your new coffee table across the living room.


Quirky said...

Hey, It could be fun to chase a coffee table around(my dog would love it)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE it!! This reminds me of Holly Golightly's table in the movie version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Can you make a claw foot tub couch?

kim taylor - - - the sassy crafter said...

I've seen a claw-foot tub turned into a couch, but I haven't tried it. Probably involves some serious power tools to cut through the tub!


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