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Topic: Old Hard Shell Suitcase to Camera Case: In Progress  (Read 5766 times)
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« on: March 25, 2010 12:35:35 PM »

I am an avid photographer and in the last year I've started doing some work on the side.  I photograph an occasional wedding, some family portraits, and a variety of other things.  I have a number of cases, but I'm out growing most of them.  I use them all at various times, but I need a system that I can haul a substantial amount of gear to a location.

Pelican cases would be awesome.  But they're expensive.  And the inserts for them aren't cheap either.  I will probably invest in a case or two in the future, but for now I would prefer something with more character.  A friend that I work with has a rolling camera bag - kinda like a medium sized suitcase.

I had already picked up a small samsonite type suitcase at the local thrift store for maybe a dollar.  I've been using that to store a couple of backgrounds.  So, I thought it'd be cool to find another suitcase or two and convert them into my desired suitcases.

I found three in different sizes for a total of 14.  None of them have keys included, but samsonite has spare keys available.

I'm starting with the smallest case.  I picked green for the paint color because I found some sage green polyester fabric on sale in the remnants bin at Hobby Lobby.  And the first hard case that I acquire is also green.

I just used spray paint: primer, a couple base coats and then a clear top coat.  I hope that it holds up.  The interior is going to take me awhile.  I have a high temp hot glue gun, hopefully that'll hold.  I'm not sure what the best way to attach fabric to the case will be.

I'm open to suggestions.  I've already ripped the existing material out.  There is a bit of stuffing left over that is clinging to the shell.
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2010 01:14:09 PM »

Would a spray adhesive work for the fabric lining inside? It can be messy but it just might hold. I'm not sure if it would soak through the fabric and make it tacky. You might have to experiment some.

This is great by the way! I have a set of those old suitcases in brown and the exact same blue ones you showed here! Great repurposing use for them!

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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2010 02:42:49 PM »

That's some sweet suitcases... And a great idea to use them like you do!
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2010 03:08:37 PM »

these are beautiful I have a pair of brown ones that belonged to my husbands grandma and when she passed away I inherited them, I love them and I store my lingerie, fascinators and cocktail hats in them. I hope you get great use out of them.

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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2010 03:14:44 PM »

My grandma had some hard cases that she got rid of when she downsized from house to apartment.  I wish that I would've snagged those.

I have some batting and foam.  So, I plan to line the top and bottom of the case with batting and then fabric.  The bottom of the case will have strips of velcro so that I can rearrange dividers according to the gear that I want to carry.

I'll probably get a luggage cart because even the small case will weigh a lot when loaded and I don't know what the limit for the handle is.

Even if it doesn't quite work , it's still entertaining to do.

Thanks for looking!
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2010 09:03:16 AM »

I love those old suitcases. What a great idea.

« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010 07:40:12 AM »

Progress is going slowly.  I've got the lid portion done.  I've had some difficulty with the flap that contains the contents of the lid.  I should've sewn in additional elastic when I was sewing the flap.  I've tried to add in elastic, that's worked marginally.  Still not quite right.  The tabs at the bottom are facing opposite directions.  The previous flap was held by tension - light fabric and tough elastic.  Ah well.

I've added a padded bottom and padded/lined the sides so far.  I'm working on creating the dividers.  I'll try to post the in progress photos tonight.
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2010 07:25:36 PM »

Here's how I did the lid to hold a few pieces of gear.

Now with the flap over the lid and a glimpse of the bottom portion.

However, the loops that hold the flap in place face in opposite direction, so it makes it difficult for the flap to stay in place.

I tried to add a strip of fabric to hide extra elastic.  I glued the ribbon to hide the stitch marks.  I wish that I would've sewn the elastic when I was assembling the flap.  I'm glad that the ribbon is on the underside and not often seen.

And with camera gear.  Though I have yet to cover the foam dividers.
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