About this project

Pretty Tough

Posted By

Mandeville, Louisiana, US
Foxy Flats!
Headboard From An Old Door
Book Jewelry Hangers
Suitcase Chair
Inspired by Katie Thompson from South Africa. She's awesome.

I found Katie Thompson's suitcase chair on stumbleupon and HAD to have it. Being broke and nowhere near South Africa, I made a comprimise.
Her Website is here (http://www.recreate.za.net/about) so you can see more of what she's done. Its amazing!
**power tools are required so please be careful! Ask someone experienced for help. (Thats what I did!)

Added newer pictures, love these chairs!!


  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 1
    Step 1

    First, you need a suitcase. It should be an older one that has a hard shell. search for square edges because the curved edges are tricky.

    Gut out all of the shelves and etc so that you have an empty shell.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 2
    Step 2

    Between the two suitcases, we bought 4 (2 by 4's)planks. I advise measuring out the perimeter of the top and bottom before buying.

    We assembled the frame outside of the suitcase using wood screws and wood glue. We gave the bottom an extra plank for support.

    the frame should fit snug into the suitcase.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 3
    Step 3

    Sorry I skipped a couple steps in pictures. :(

    FRONT LEGS: We used fence posts! they already have screws in them so all you have to do is drill a hole and hand screw it in. the legs should be attatched through the suitcase and into the 2x4's in the base.

    BACK LEGS: We used 2x12 boards to support both the back and the bottom and we could make cool designs with it. I would sugguest reinforcing it with metal braces between the back leg and the suitcase as well. Remember to drill into the frame. If it feels woobly then put in another pair of screws. Better safe than sorry.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 4
    Step 4

    A view of the legs from the bottom.

    Screws should be placed both on the sides of the legs as well as on the bottom of the chair.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 5
    Step 5

    View of the back legs.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 6
    Step 6

    Plywood time!

    This is almost the most annoying part. Plywood is a pain in the butt to get up three flights of stairs. :(

    Cut out plywood plates to sit flush on the frame.
    DONT glue anything yet.
    We still have to put on the fabric.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 7
    Step 7

    So i didn't know this when i began, but furniture foam is REALLLY expensive.

    Unless you want to pay top dollar for it, pillows will do just fine.
    We used walmart pillows because they just so happened to be the same dimensions. Two for the bottom one for the back.
    The fabric NEEDS to be furniture fabric or outdoor fabric otherwise it wont keep up as nice. It took a little bit less than a yard for this one.
    Pull the fabric as TIGHT as you possibly can around the pillow and staple it on the underside of the plywood.

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 8
    Step 8

    Trim the fabric edges and use wood glue to connect the plywood to the frame.

    and YAY you're done.

    (Eventually we were going to stain the feet to make them match but we're lazy)

  • How to make a chair. Suitcase Chair - Step 9
    Step 9

    And this is the second one we made completely finished :)
    Feel free to ask any questions!

Have you made this project? Add your version
And you're done!


Katzilla · 14 projects
Fantastic! Do you think this could be done with a big wooden trunk? I have one I'm thinking could be perfect for this, if I reinforced it and made it so it could still close (like a hide-away bed :p)
rland · Arlington, Virginia, US
I have two matching red suitcase with a lot of character but not such great locks (they're old and just not working like the used to). I have an old couch which i will be tossing and recycling the cushions. So excited to do this! But I was wondering what angle you have the back of the chair/suitcase resting at and if you'd recommend the same angle or making it more obtuse.

Thanks for the tut btw! So many people post about this but I foud only one other tutorial, which had nothing to support the back (it rested against the wall).
Pembren · Mandeville, Louisiana, US · 7 projects
Well sorry about the delay on this,but I like the angle it's at right now. It's survived a few years moving around in college. (We only made it that way to provide enough support for both the back and the bottom. The black chair snapped a bit on the bottom from it's support (not shown) so just make sure whichever angle you choose can handle it.)
Lucy L.
Lucy L. · 7 projects
I dont have any1 that could help me with this Happy Amazing chair. Sooo want 1 now! lol
kenzie c.
kenzie c.
I love this!

CO + K User

That has to be the most incredible chair ever!! I totally want to make that now!
Claire J
Claire J · Prestatyn, Wales, GB · 97 projects
Love this!! Happy
Jet H.
Jet H. · Haarlem, North Holland, NL · 108 projects
woooow this is really awesome, love it sooooo great and cool.
I understand your tute very well, you're right about asking for help for some of us.
it's a very technical project, but soooo coool and great and stunning!!!!!
Caeli L.
Caeli L. · Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Newfoundland and Labrador, CA · 25 projects
Really nice, I love it!

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