arcs and Crafts: Suitcase Side Table

by Julie White

I have wanted to try this project for a long time, but up until recently, I hadn’t found the perfect vintage suitcase. I wanted one that was perfectly flat on top and big enough to be a functional side table. The other day at an arc thrift store I found this guy for only $7.50 (half off from $14.99):

He was a little bit banged up, but I liked the weathered look that it had. The interior was also in great condition:


In order to fit with the vintage look of the suitcase, I chose to use tapered midcentury-type legs. I bought some unfinished ones with metal mounts from a hardware store, but in retrospect, I should have scavenged some from a table or furniture at arc:


I had some furniture stain left from another project and started by rubbing it onto each leg and letting them sit overnight. (If I had used ones from a piece of arc furniture I could have skipped this step; 20/20 hindsight!)


The stain wasn’t super dark but definitely made the legs look more “finished”.


After the stain was set I began planning exactly where I wanted to attach the leg mounts on the suitcase. The mounts were angled in order to get that midcentury look.


I used a piece of cardboard and made a template so that the mounts were equidistant for each of the 4 legs. I have learned my lesson from past projects where I have not been precise in my measuring 🙂


Using the template, I marked where the holes for the mounts would be in each corner so that I could screw in all of the mounts at the rights spots.


After that it was just a matter of attaching all four of them to the bottom of the suitcase:


I screwed all of the legs into their respective corners and ended up with this as my final product:


I love how it turned out! The suitcase from arc thrift looks so good on top. If I were to do it again with a different suitcase (and to be honest I’m sure I will because I see great, vintage ones at arc all the time), I might put a thin piece of wood inside the suitcase to add a little bit more stability. Overall, though, I think it will look great in my home.

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