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How To Recover A Vintage Train Case
by Rebecca on February 22nd, 2016

Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
This post was originally posted on July 10, 2014, on Jed & Ivy.


I love my aunt Jaymee. She gets me. At age 1 she would put red lipstick on me. They're some of my favorite pictures to look at from childhood. We've always lived on opposite sides of the Pacific, but when I went to college in California, I actually could drive and meet her for lunch. She would buy me Starbucks gift cards, (which I loved!) and she let me crash in her guest room whenever I needed.

A few years ago, Ivy, my mom and I went on a trip to California to visit family and friends. I got an awesome vintage train case from my aunt (see pic on right). She actually had them just chillin in the trunk of her car and willingly gave one to me and one to my best friend. Little did she know that gift gave huge definition to my decor style, and that I would rip out its guts and give it a whole new look. 

I've actually picked up quite a few more train cases since then, and have been remodeling their insides ever since. Here's my tutorial, just in case you're lucky enough to have one lying around.
 

What To Do With A Vintage Train Case

Train cases are the perfect catch-all. Of course you can revert to their original use and store your beauty products in them, but I've also used them to hold remotes, DVDs, lotion and perfume bottles, jewelry and even jars of coins. Kids love 'em - Ivy had a mini one that she would put her "treasures" in. There's a pin on Pinterest of a yellow one holding baby supplies like diapers, wipes and burp cloths. I love that! I'm all about cleaning up old things and making them clean, cute, and usable.
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case

So how do you achieve that awesome inside? Let's take a look at what some actually look like inside, before the transformation:
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Keep in mind they usually smell like cigarettes and wet dog.
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case

How To Recover The Inside Of Your Train Case

1. Tear out the insides, save for a possible template. 
2. Scrub the insides with a soapy rag, baking soda, a magic eraser, something! These things smell like old dog and cigarettes. I have yet to find one that doesn't wreak. 
3. Pour ground coffee in the train case, close it up, and let it sit for a week. 
4. Clean out the coffee and febreeze it, or spray essential oils, do something!
5. Find a base material to give it a slight cushion-y layer to smooth imperfections. Here's what I've used: felt, fake "snow" from Christmas time (the kind in rolls), and pieces of my sweat pants that I cut off cause they were too long.
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Here's what mine looked like with sheets of fake "snow" in it. I used modge podge loosely painted on the inside of the train case for an overall adhesion, and then used a glue gun for the edges of the base material to  keep it in place more securely.
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
6. Next, cut out a piece of fabric to go in the bottom of the train case. It can be a square, with rounded or slit edges. It should be bigger than the bottom of the case, so that it goes up the sides of the case. Do the same thing for the lid of the case. Every time your cut out a piece of fabric, iron it well, because you can't iron it once it goes in the case!
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Your corners can be folded over one another. Use modge podge to initiate the adhesion, then use a glue gun to glue down the edges of the fabric. 
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
7. Measure the length from the top (usually metal) edge of the case, down to where the case starts to curve under at the bottom. Measure the circumference of the case. Cut a piece of fabric a little larger than these measurements and sew a seam along the top and bottom edge (It will be a long rectangle that you've cut out, and you will be sewing seams on the two longer sides.) This piece then gets glued around the circumference of the case, starting in the center back, using modge podge and a glue gun on the edges. The top seam edge should lie right below the metal edge of the case. Repeat for the lid of the case. Make sure the edges meet in the center back of the case, near the hinges. 
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
8. The next step could be skipped, but it really puts the icing on the cake: trim! I use a trim to line the edge of the inside of the case, and it really hides any imperfections you might have along the top edge. I've used mini pom poms, and a cotton 3/4" beige ribbon. Just glue gun it on, around the top edge. Again, the ends should meet in the back, near the hinges
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
 9. Final step! Cut out a square of fabric, wide enough to cover the hinges, and tall enough to reach the top and bottom edge of the case. (Cut it a little bigger so you have room to turn under the seams). Hem this square on all 4 edges. Glue gun it on the back edge of the train case, to cover all the raw edges you had meet in the back near the hinges. Don't glue gun it on the metal.


Finish it off with some scotch guard or spray modge podge all over the inside of the case, just to stiffen it up a little and make it slightly more durable against stains.
I LOVE recovering these cases. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to get more cases all the way out to me in Hawaii. They're rare gems here! If you've got any you don't want, please mail them to me! Here's my collection of all the cases I've done so far:
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Ivy & Co. how to recover a vintage train case
Thanks for following the Ivy & Co. creative journey. If you LOVE any of these cases feel free pin them. If you have a case of your own, send me a picture! Until next time...

Aloha, Rebecca


Posted in Vintage Train Cases    Tagged with vintage train case, vintage, recover, antique, redo, fabric, old, renew, diy, upcycle