Recycle a vintage suitcase and pamper your furry friends all at once by creating this uber chic pet bed. You can help save the Earth AND have the most stylish dog or cat quarters in the neighborhood!
Supplies and tools needed:
One vintage suitcase (look for one in good shape with an intact interior. A cruddy interior means more work. I found mine for $6.99 at a thrift store.)
Fabric and stuffing for the pillow (amount depends on size of suitcase).
4 wooden or plastic feet with screws already pre-drilled into the top of the foot. You can find these in the lumber aisle of the home improvement store. The ones in this project were about $4 each but I've since found some that would work as well for about $2 each.
Nuts (locknut type) that fit the threaded screw of the feet.
Very important: A locking hook-and-eye combination or other secure way to keep the suitcase open so it doesn't close on your pet! Please, do not make this project without this type of safety mechanism in place.
Drill with a bit corresponding to the size of the screw on the feet.
Optional: spray paint for feet, and any embellishments you wish to add in the end.
1. Clean the suitcase inside and out. Check any pockets for forgotten treasures. If you find any stock certificates, you can send them to: JewelFaerie, PO Box...(kidding!). Wipe the outside gently with a damp cloth and vacuum the inside with a hand vac
2. *Optional* Spray paint the feet. If you intend to do this, do it before securing them onto the suitcase.
3. Measure for foot placement. My feet were about 2" across, so I measured in from the corner about 3" and marked the spot with a marker. (I used 3" to accommodate the width of the foot and the curve of the suitcase). Make sure that you place your feet as far apart from one another as possible without having them stick out beyond the perimeter of the suitcase. Stability is key, and you get more stability when the feet are attached further apart.
4. Drill holes for the feet. This part is a bit tricky. In an ideal world, we would've peeled back the interior fabric so that we could drill only through the suitcase exterior. Frankly, I was too lazy. I decided to drill through the plastic and the fabric and hope for the best. Make sure your drill bit is the correct size for the screw you will insert.
Luckily, I didn't mess up the fabric too much. The fabric could've gotten wound around the bit quickly and ripped right out of the suitcase, but it didn't. Next time, I might at least try affixing a piece of duct tape on the fabric to give it some stability on the inside before drilling.
5. Screw in the feet. Keep turning the feet until they are just about flush with the suitcase and you can see the screws from the inside of the suitcase. Bear in mind that if your suitcase isn't flat, that your feet may not sit perfectly flush. That's OK: When you set the suitcase upright, they should level out and not be wobbly due to the give in the suitcase.
6. Level it out. Set the suitcase upright on its feet and turn each foot slightly to ensure that the weight is distributed equally on all four feet.
7. Secure the feet. Using pliers, tighten the nuts onto the screws. Do this right over the fabric, the nut will be covered by the pillow anyway. After securing the feet, give them a 'wiggle' to make sure they don't come loose.
8. Make the pillow. Measure the inside of the suitcase. Then cut two pieces of fabric according to your measurements. Sew the fabric face side to face side using a simple straight stitch on the sewing machine. Make sure to leave at least a 5" opening because when you're done sewing, you'll need to turn the pillow inside out and stuff it. After stuffing, close the pillow by hand or by pinning it and closing it on the machine.
9. * Optional * Move one of the pockets from the lower suitcase to the top (see pic below). It just adds a bit of visual interest if you have nothing else up there. My pocket was snapped in it's original place, so I just removed it and tacked it into the top part of the suitcase. The pocket is a great place to store pet toys when not in use.
Also note, I used the suitcase's attached garment ribbons to secure the pillow, but that's not necessary.
They could get in the way of your pet's rest and relaxation .
10. Most importantly, secure the lid. You don't want the lid to fall down and trap your pet without air! I purchased a hook and eye, with the hook closing completely for safety. First, drill a small hole for the eye into the lid of the suitcase. Then screw in the eye.
Secure the eye with a nut.
Then, optionally, cover the nut with something decorative. A piece of furniture felt (thick felt with a sticky back intended to adhere to the bottom of furniture to protect the floor) serves as a thick cover for the nut. I cut a hole in the felt, large enough for the nut. Next, I cut out a flower from the scrap pillow material and stuck it to the sticky side of the felt. Lastly, I glued the flower/felt to the suitcase, covering the nut.
Now that you've secured the eye of the hook-and-eye, install the hook in your wall according to manufacturer instructions. Make sure that the hook is securely anchored into the stud of the wall, not just the drywall. Set the new suitcase bed in place, hook the hook-and-eye together. Give it a small tug to make sure it's secure.
11. Last step. Insert cute pet.