Thursday, July 26, 2012

Suitcase Mini-Book Tutorial

Hi everyone! Today I have a tutorial to share using the awesome Suitcase Scoreboards die by Eileen Hull. This is such a fun die, I am going to use it a lot. On Saturday we are having an Eileen Hull event on the Sizzix blog, don't miss it, there is going to be tons of inspiration. I'll be posting another tutorial then too.

This is the finished suitcase:

You can pack the suitcase with all kinds of different little things. When I saw this die, I immediately thought it would make a great home for a little travel mini-book, so inside my suitcase there is a mini-book with photos from an outing on an old steam train. I wanted the suitcase to look old and worn and added train related stuff on the front, back and on the inside.

Glue brown kraft core cardstock to cream mat board using multimedium. When the adhesive is dry, die-cut all the pieces. The Scoreboards dies both cuts and scores, making 3D projects very easy to do. I cut the handle from plain cream mat board, since I didn't want it to be the same brown as the rest of the suitcase.

Sand the pieces pretty heavily, this brings out the kraft core of the paper and makes the suitcase look as if it has travelled on many trains and been through a lot.

Stamp the two big pieces with train-related stamps using Archival Jet Black ink. Take care to place the stamps in the right direction on the front piece (to the left), the flap should be at the bottom. And decide which of the two long sides you want facing upwards on the right hand piece which will form the body of the suitcase.

One of my photos in the minialbum was of the clock on the old train station, so I wanted to include a little clock, but I didn't want it to look like an alarm clock. The Vintage Alarm clock was die-cut from grungeboard, and I cut off some of the parts to make it look like an ordinary clock. It was painted gold and sanded a bit.

After sanding it, I inked the clock with Black Soot Distress Ink. The small clocks on the idea-ology Lost & Found papers fit perfectly for this clock. Pick a clock that fits your project and cut it out. (You could also stamp the clock using the clock stamp in the Stamper's Anonymous Tim Holtz Curiosities set).

Glue the golden clock to the patterned paper with Glossy Accents, then mat it with Black Soot Core'dinations cardstock and sand the edges. I placed the clock so that it showed the same time as the clock in my photo. Then I filled the shape with Glossy Accents. Put aside to dry (it dries completely clear).

Smear Pumice Stone and Antique Linen Distress Ink on a craft sheet, mist with water, then drag a piece of manila cardstock through it. Let dry (or dry with a heat gun). Stamp a train and a ticket with Archival Jet Black ink. Die-cut title letters from a scrap piece of paper using the Typeset Sizzlits die. I used a left over piece of blue watercolour paper. Cut out the ticket and the train and ink the edges with Frayed Burlap.

Stamp the insides of the suitcase with train stamps, using Archival Ink Coffee. I made a mistake here when I stamped the man on the left hand side, because I didn't think of the closure flap which would literary make him headless. You'll see how I fixed it a bit later. So remember not to stamp anything on the top part of the front cover. Now it is time to put everything together.

Adhere all the embellishments to the covers before you assemble the suitcase. I layered a gear piece and two game spinners on the clock, placing the spinners so they showed the correct time (same as on my photo of the clock at the station).

Here's the back of the finished suitcase. I added some gears which were die-cut from grungeboard, painted gold and silver, distressed and then inked with Black Soot. On the ticket, I circled the date when the photos were taken. I also added a tiny tag hanging from the handles. The handles were inked with Frayed Burlap before attaching them to the suitcase.

It is very easy to assemble the suitcase, you can find instructions here. Just add brads to hold the main body of the suitcase together and then use strong tape (I used Wonder Tape) to attach the bottom flap of the front cover to the base of the main body.

Don't fold the top flap all the way, just fold it a little bit, then it will press up against the roof of the suitcase and keep it close. Adhere it with strong tape to the top of the front flap, leaving a space above it which is about the twice the thickness of the material you use. I covered the stamped man with a piece of kraft resist paper. It just didn't look nice to have a man without a head there.

To make the mini-album, I cut quite a lot of pages from double-sided paper, adhered all my photos, and added journaling. The suitcase can hold quite a chunky little album. I kept the mini-album pretty simple and tied it together with a string.

I usually take a lot of photos on any occasion and this little mini-album was a perfect way to display all my train photos from this outing. The suitcase has a really nice heavy feel to it with the album inside.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I have another suitcase under production on my desk already. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for stopping by!!


Stamps: Stamper's Anonymous Tim Holtz On the Railroad; Hero Arts: Past Times AC007, Wonderful World 331068; Artistic Outpost Steampunk
Inks and paint: Ranger Archival Ink Jet Black and Coffee; Distress Ink: Pumice Stone, Antique Linen, Frayed Burlap, Pitch Black; Adirondack Gold and Silver paint dabbers.
Papers etc: Sizzix cream mat board; Core'dinations brown kraft core cardstock; Ranger manila cardstock; Tim Holtz idea-ology Lost and Found, Vintage Shabby, Kraft Resist patterned papers, grungeboard
Other: Tim Holtz idea-ology Game Spinners, Mini Gears; Glossy Accents; Ranger Wonder Tape; Ranger multi-medium


  1. Wow, a fantastic project... the Suitcase Scoreboards look well worth investing in. I love all your stamping and detailing (off to search for that beautiful station house). The clocks are gorgeous, but I do feel sorry for your headless man!
    Alison x

  2. I love trains since I was a child, so I'm truly fascinated by this project. Blessings!

  3. This is awesome, Anna-Karin! You are so creative!

  4. Oh Wow this is so Awesome, great details!!

  5. as a railroader's wife, I can see all sorts of ways to use a wonderful suitcase like this....thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Very cool- love how your suitcase turned out. I'm obsessed with that KraftCore! Does it ever look bad?! Or not work? NO!


  7. what a fantastic project ! great !!!
    greetings, martina

  8. Wow...this is stunning...been wanting this die for ages, but it always seems to be out of stock....well no's gorgeous!



  9. I've got to get this die when I get some moolah! Eileen Hull is quite a genius. And this project is so great. Thank you for the tutorial.

  10. Wow, what a great project for minibooks, especially from vacation.
    Thanks so much for your detailed instructions.

  11. Gorgeous idea and sooo creative! My DH is a train hobbiest -- so this would be absolutely prefect for him.

    Many thanks!

  12. Oh wow this is cool! Love putting a mini-book inside the suitcase- so clever Anna-karin! As always a beautiful and well-planned project...

  13. the outside was fabulous enough but what a great surprise inside. Love it. I pinned.

  14. Love the vintage look to your suitcase! Since I myself am getting up in age, I find myself drawn to vintage things. lol Thanks for sharing with us how you put this together.

  15. Fabulous! Love that there is a mini book inside! xxx


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