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Shabby Chic Train Cases

June 17, 2015

Shabby Chic Train Cases

Restyle a vintage train case into a shabby chic case for organizing your vanity or corralling your photos and journals. This romantic container could also be used to display small vintage collectibles.

*This is a project I had originally published on FaveCrafts.

Things You Will Need:

Train case (overnight bag)
Craft knife
Light-colored, flat latex paint
Book pages
Decoupage medium
Sponge brush
Measuring tape
3 1/2-inch wide lace
Satin ribbon scrap
Craft glue
Small flowers

Remove the lining from the inside of your train case. The lining is glued in, so in most cases simply prying up an edge with a knife will allow you to grasp it and pull it out. If you encounter stubborn areas, cut it loose with a craft knife. Discard the lining.

Close the case. Use a wet rag on the outside of the case to remove dust and dirt.

Paint all sides of the case, including the hinges and latches, using a light-colored, flat latex paint. Allow the paint to dry and repeat with additional coats if necessary. Since old cases tend to soak up a lot of paint, I like to use wall paint left over from previous home improvement projects. It’s a great way to use up that little bit left in the can and it prevents the added cost of purchasing a large quantity of craft paint.

Undo the latches on the case and lightly paint over the areas that didn’t get painted when the latches were closed.
Lightly sand the surface and the edges of the case. Lightly sand over the metal of the latches and hinges. Wipe away the sanding dust using a dry rag.

Insert the blade of a craft knife in the gap between the lid and the case bottom. Allowing the gap to guide you, cut through the dry paint that is gluing the lid closed. After you have cut all the way around the case you will be able to pull open the lid.

Rip old book pages into 2 to 3-inch pieces. I used ripped book pages left over from other projects. They came from a variety of old books. Even though they didn’t match, the contrast of different book pages added interest to the project.

Working in one small area at a time, apply decoupage medium to the inside of the train case using a sponge brush.

Place a book page piece over the medium. Smooth out the wrinkles and seal with a layer of medium over the paper. Repeat with additional book page pieces, overlapping their edges, until the inside of the case and lid has been completely covered. Allow the decoupage medium to dry.

Using a measuring tape, measure around the horizontal circumference of the case and add 24 inches. Using this measurement, cut a length of 3 1/2-inch wide lace. Wrap the lace around the case and tie the ends in a bow on the front.

Cut a 10-inch scrap of satin ribbon that coordinates with your paint color. Thread a key on the ribbon and tie the ribbon around the handle of the case. Using craft glue, attach a small flower to the key. Arrange and glue additional flowers to the lace bow.


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  1. These are breathtaking! I am dying to find these now and wishing my mom hadn’t gotten rid of my grandmother’s old one. So gorgeous and clever!

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  3. These are so great you did wonderful job on them. How many did you redo? Did you buy them or already have them? Love bow around outside of case and vintage looking papers on inside, did that take awhile to get them glued down
    so well? Lace you used is so pretty, hope I can find some like that.
    I have maybe 5 or 6 train cases, one from when I was kid and others found in MT and KY. Been sitting out in Suburban (where I store things so I can find) for long time. Want to get use out of them. Been thinking of fixing up one for each of grand daughters to use.
    Been trying to get thru lots of older posts and then delete so can get all those off pc. Have way too many old ones haven’t been able to read due to one thing or another. Hate to delete but just can’t read them all. Have great week Cyndee

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