I’m preparing for the Charlotte Pet Expo which is coming up the end of April where I will sell my pet lover ornaments, pet necklaces and pet coasters. I needed to find an in expensive way involving creative reuse to make a jewelry display to exhibit my pet necklaces. I got this vintage suitcase at a yard sale for absolutely nothing. The hinges were out of alignment so it didn’t close properly. The outside also had paint on it on one side. The owner had a FREE sign on it because she didn’t think she could sell in in such a condition. I figured I had nothing to lose by taking it home though I had no idea what I was going to do with it or if it could be realigned.
The good news was that my husband was able to straighten it out so it would close and I was able to use some Comet cleanser to scrub the paint off. I found the wooden dowel racks at Goodwill for $2.00 each. They were natural color and had braces that allowed them to stand up. I am not sure what their original purpose was–maybe pasta racks? But when I saw them I thought they would make good jewelry holders and believed I could alter them to fit into my suitcase. I don’t know what the chances are of you finding a pasta rack, but the same principle applies and you could use wood strips, drill holes, and then insert dowels if you cannot find something similar.
Here’s a step-by-step on what I did to make this jewelry display case.
1. Make a pattern by inserting a sheet of newspaper inside each side of your suitcase. Trace around each sheet it to capture the shape of the suit case. Remove each pattern and cut around it. Mark each side, left or right and top and bottom so that you will not
have difficulty later knowing which piece goes where.
2. Place the pattern on thin plywood. I used a sheet that was 1/4″ thick. IMPORTANT: if you plan on staining your plywood make certain to trace onto the side that doesn’t have any scanner labels or stickers. I found that even after cleaning, the section where the sticker was resisted stain. Trace around the plywood with a pencil for each section.
3. Cut out the plywood with a jigsaw. Make sure to use a jigsaw blade for finer work or the blade may splinter the edges of your wood. Place your section cutouts back inside the suitcase to make sure they fit. If you need to adjust, cut a little more off the edges. Mark the backs with pencil so you know top from bottom and left from right to make it easier to fit them back into your suitcase without confusion.
4. Remove the sections and sand the wood.
5. Measure your wooden dowel racks and adjust to fit on your wooden sections. Lay them it out on the plywood to determine desired placement. Mark them on the ends with a pencil if they need to be shortened. Cut to fit. Sand all edges.
6. Stain the dowel sections and your larger plywood sections if you want them stained. Allow to dry. I used walnut stain.
6. Mark on the stained plywood fronts where the wooden dowel sections will go. Drill pilot holes into the back of your wooden plywood section and into the dowel section to prevent splintering.
7. Screw the wooden dowel section onto the plywood sections with wood screws.
8. Working on one side at a time, put a generous amount of wood glue into the inside of your suitcase. Place the plywood section with the attached dowels into your glued section of your suitcase. Weigh down the section with a heavy object such as books or cans of vegetables, etc. to make sure it doesn’t bow while it is drying. When this section is done, do the same to the other section.
My example shows three ways to display the necklaces.
a)You can hang them by pulling the necklace up to each dowel and looping the necklace
b) You can hang them from the cords
c) You can hang them through the necklace jump rings but if you plan to do this make sure to measure your jump rings to make certain they will fit over the wooden dowels
Teena Stewart’s pet necklaces can be purchased via her online store Serendipitini.
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