Steampunk Train CaseThis months Graphic 45 Challenge is "Upcycle" and of the many objects available to re-make, I remembered and am sharing a project done several years ago using the Steampunk Debutante Collection and Olde Curiosity Shoppe Collections on a unused luggage piece, I hope you will enjoy.
Before we had to worry about how much our luggage weighed, beautiful "wood based" pieces were the norm and particularly the "Train Cases" to carry cosmetics and other necessary travel items. These vary greatly in size and shape and are today a collectors item being revived to carry scrapbook & art supplies. If you are lucky enough to find one with a plastic tray that has survived, it can even become a jewelry case. This was a gift I made for a friend who loved steampunk, I hope these photos will inspire you to find your own to collage and decorate to your heart's content!
Since everyone's case and papers will be different, I am providing a narrative with photos to explain and show you the process, with lots of techniques and tips along the way. This project cannot be done in a day, patience is the key in building up and letting the layers dry before going to the next phase.
CLEAN UP - I began with a really dirty case, cleaned the surfaces with a wet, soapy washcloth inside and out, cleaned the silver hardware with a soft scrubby sponge, rinse/wiped all well and allowed to dry overnight. The inside is then coated with "Kilz" (a paint-like, hardware store product that kills mold & mildew), allowed to dry again overnight and ready to decorate:
COVERING - the edges of this case were ripped and torn so I covered them with a newsprint paper - the photo shows that the outside of the case was already decorated - MY MISTAKE - cover the edges first so you do not have to cut around the prints later at the edge, THEN decorate/collage When the edge papers were dry, I "antiqued" them a bit with acrylic paint as shown below:
GLUING ON PRINTS - BEFORE YOU BEGIN to collage, choose some larger prints for the background, some medium size for collage build up and smaller size accent prints to pre-cut for fill in - you don't want to stop in the middle of gluing to cut out prints! Now you will begin to decorate, backgrounds first, medium size to cover any gaps and smaller pre-cut for fill-in, accents and to finish completely covering - you can do this one layer at time, allow to set/dry then on to the next layer. IMPORTANT - DO NOT USE a quick dry adhesive for collage projects as they do not allow you time to reposition or move prints - use a collage medium, I recommend Ranger or similar art mediums that have a "open" time to manipulate the design - otherwise, the papers will rip if you want to change them around while gluing.
ADDING 3D ACCENTS - hen all of your prints are in place - let it rest overnight - then apply at least four more layers of collage medium - dry inbetween - to seal and protect all. To add 3D decorative accents, use a strong adhesive (I like Ranger Glossy Accents), for this case, I chose metal gears, pen nibs and the like to match the prints - the small lizard was a personal favorite of the recipient. Add whatever you like, allow to set/dry then put at least one additional coat of collage medium over to seal.
METALLIC ACCENTS - next, I added metallic craft paint to the overstitched edges and handle, dried, then "antiqued" with a dark acrylic craft paint (rub off quickly to leave only a trace amount and not cover the metallic).
LINING - first cut fabric pieces for the top, bottom, back connector and sides (one long piece with one seam to go partially onto the case bottom) and sew on pockets or whatever ribbon, trim or additions you like (some have elastic sewn in to hold scissors, brushes, etc., sew seam to close sides piece. Next cut pieces of poster board to fit top and bottom, as well as a pieces of quilt batting (can be iron-on, at least 1/4" thick) for padding, the sides are not padded.
Use hot glue, ScorTape or a heavy bodied/strong adhesive to glue the top and bottom "back connector" on first, then side lining into place to top edge of interior and down in bottom corners to secure - you should have at least 2 " of fabric going onto the bottom of the case for the bottom padded piece to cover and finish. Stack top and bottom padded pieces individually - poster board, batting, fabric - then wrap fabric around to the back of poster board and secure with your strong adhesive - hot glue into place inside the top and bottom of the case. I finished the inside top and bottom edges with upholstery trim.
Here are photos of the finished case - hope you will give it a try with your favorite Graphic 45 papers! The front and back: