Monday, July 25, 2016

Miniature suitcase table 1:12 scale tutorial

After seeing a photo in a catalog of a fabulous coffee table that looked like an old suitcase I knew I had to transform it into a miniature. It was so nice to take a break from building my Kinfeld dollhouse and making something I could finish in a few hours. This is actually a quick build but there is some drying time involved.
I took some photos along the way so I could share it with others. 

Cut out two pieces of mat board that are 2 1/2” square.

Sand the corners so they are rounded.

Cut four pieces of foam board at 2 3/8” square. Cut all the corners away, either individually or after you glue them together.
Brace the pieces together between something square to be sure they stay even while drying.

Then glue the top and bottom mat board pieces onto the foam pieces so there is a lip hanging over all around.

Cut two 11” long  7/8" wide strips of card stock.
Pull them from between the edge of the table and under your palm to get them to curve.

Glue one of the card stock pieces on one side of the foam board and let it dry a little bit and then put more glue on the other side and push the pieces so the curve of the paper is the same shape as the top and bottom piece with a lip. 

When you get to the end, snip it so you have at least a 1/4” overlap and glue it down.

Now glue the other piece around that one. Put your glue on thin. This will smooth out any imperfections.

Cut two 11" x 1/16" pieces of card stock.

Pinch and run between your finger and thumbnail to give them a curve.

Put tiny dots of glue along one and then run your finger across it to smear it. Quickly wipe the glue off your finger.

Lay the strip of paper as shown keeping it even all the way around. Snip it so it butts against itself at the end.

Lay down your second strip of paper a fingernail thickness away from the other piece. Keep your eye on it as you wrap it around to be sure it stays even. You only want a very tiny gap because if you butt the papers together the paint will fill it in and you want to see a tiny gap.

Suitcase latches
Cut a strip of card stock 1/8” wide and about 6” long.

Then cuts six pieces that are 5/16” long.

Carefully cut the corners off so they are rounded.

Then cut two pieces from card stock that are just a tiny bit larger in all directions as those six little pieces. This will be the back of the latch. 

Determine the center of one side of the table and mark 3/8” from both sides. 
To make this quick and easy I just used a scrap of paper and held it up as shown, made a mark and used that to measure.

Put a little blob of glue onto where the latches will go and put those two pieces there. Be sure they are even.

Glue two of the smaller pieces on top of each other. Make two sets of these. You cut six, but only pick the best four.

Glue those onto the latch base pieces.

Use white polymer clay to make a handle. (I used pink because I had it handy and then I painted it.) Roll it with your finger to get the shape then fold up the sides and cut to length. Bake it and glue on when cool.

Find four beads to glue to the base for feet. You could also cut the tops of off wood banisters as well.

Mix a grey and brown paint and put on the table to make aged scuffed marks.

Use a very small brush for the straps and one just a little bigger for the top and base. Just add a tiny bit at a time. Don’t repeat the same marks over and over. Mix it up and think about where the table would take the most damage to leave marks.

Add a little to the feet as well.

You did it! Look how beautiful your piece is!


  1. Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Your converted shabby suitcase looks Fantastic! I love the extra detailing which you've added and also commend you on your paint/aging skills, the result are realistic and your coffee table looks Marvelous! :D


  3. Que buenos tutoriales , gracias por compartirlos. Te seguiré Saludos .

  4. I have also made this table ...... but he has not become sooooo beautiful as yours: o)