Pack a craft caddy to be prepared for any occasion!
I’m in favor of organized crime. Like a good scout, I’m prepared for any crafting or drinking opportunity, with tools, mixers, and chasers neatly stored and at the ready. Suitcases are the obvious modus operandi, but the criminal crafter deserves a carryall worthy of malcontent.
Did the mob really pack tommy guns in violin cases? Heck, no! The cases are way too small, but it sure looks great in the movies. Here’s how to customize your discarded suitcase or thrift store treasure into a multipurpose vehicle for holding martini glasses, a shaker, bottles of booze, a glue gun, glue sticks, paintbrushes, a craft knife, and anything else Eliot Ness might throw at you.
From Criminal Crafts: Outlaw Projects for Scoundrels, Cheats, and Armchair Detectives by Miss Demeanor a.k.a. Shawn Gascoyne-Bowman
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You Will Need
Rip the old liner out of the case. You may find some strange things under the original fabric, like wooden supports or foam lining. I pulled all this out, using a screwdriver to pry up stubborn pieces.
Lay a sheet of newspaper over the inside of the case. (Tape several pieces of newspaper together if you need enough to fit the entire length.) Press the paper down and use a marker to trace a line where the base of the case meets the sides. Take out the paper template and cut along the traced line. Place the template back in the case and check the fit, adjusting as necessary.
Lay the template on the cardboard and trace the shape. Cut out the cardboard insert.
Pin the paper template onto the fabric liner and, with fabric chalk or a washable fabric pen, trace a line around the entire shape 1 inch away from the original tracing line. This will give you extra material (a.k.a. selvage) around the edges to attach to the underside of the cardboard insert. Don’t remove the template yet.
Cut 1–inch-long slits in the selvage area at 1-inch intervals. You may want to make additional slits where the pattern curves. This will keep the fabric from puckering and having strange folds when you glue it down.
Remove the pins and the paper template and lay the fabric right side (template side) down on your worktable. Then place the cardboard on top (on the wrong side of the fabric) and glue down the fabric flaps around the edges, to fit the fabric to the cardboard snugly but without warping it.
If you’d like to add a pocket to the bottom end of the case, place the pocket fabric wrong side up on your work surface, then lay the paper template or cardboard insert on the fabric right side down and trace around just the bottom, leaving a 1-inch allowance around the edges as you did in Step 4. Leave a ½-inch allowance at the top of the pocket so you can fold it over.
Cut the pocket piece from the fabric and cut 1-inch slits as you did in Step 5.
Fold the top ½inch of the pocket over, wrong sides together, and glue it down. This will prevent fraying and leave a clean edge on the pocket.
Place the pocket right side down on your work surface and lay the cardboard on top with the fabric side down.
Glue the pocket selvage seams down onto the back of the cardboard (over where the main fabric selvages have been glued).
I use elastic cords and straps to hold down plastic martini glasses and small flasks. Determine where you’d like to place them. I’ve found it helpful to put all my crafting and drinking supplies into the case first and draw a map on my paper template.
Glue the elastic straps into place, folding over an inch of the excess at each edge and gluing it to the back side of the cardboard.
Secure the cords with firm knots on the back side of the cardboard and use an upholstery needle to stitch through the cardboard and fabric. An extra daub of hot glue will reinforce the knot and will keep it from pulling through to the other side.
Once the new liner is completely assembled it can be hot glued into the base of your case.
Notes: I found my violin case for next to nothing at a shop that sells used instruments, and there are always great deals online. Pretty much anything goes for the fabric lining, from cotton to fake fur. Since I’m a messy crafter and a sloppy drinker, I looked for a pattern where stains wouldn’t be too noticeable. You might want to treat the fabric with Scotchgard or another protectant before mounting it into the case, if you’d like to minimize wear. I also like to buy enough fabric to make a pocket. The elastic cords hold my bottles, glasses, and brushes in place. I used less than a yard of each in my project, but I always buy extra when I’m at the craft store, as I never know when I’ll have to bind something quickly (or gag it, for that matter!).
What to pack: Outfitting your kit is a super treat——I like to have= a sewing kit with scissors, the indispensable glue gun, an extension cord, markers, paints, brushes, maps, train schedules, fake passport, margarita salt, absinthe, lock pick . . . you know, the usual . . .