Upcycle Style: Suitcase Dollhouse

What can you do with an old suitcase?

What can you do with an old suitcase? If you have an old suitcases collecting dust in the shed or under the bed, it’s time to dust it off and get re-purposing.

Old suitcases really lend themselves to fun upcycling projects. I’ve used my imagination and turned this old suitcase into something really cool that any kid will love!

Time to make a Suitcase Dollhouse!

I’ve been looking for an old dollhouse for Emma without any luck, so turning an old case into her own mini doll mansion was the perfect project.

Vintage suitcase dollhouse upcycle mypoppet.com.au

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You’ll only need some basic tools to make this dollhouse. If you don’t have any scrap wood laying around, try using strong cardboard instead. It can be taped rather than screwed in place.

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You will need:

  • An old hard shell suitcase
  • 2-3 wood pieces cut to size (width x depth of case) I’ve used some old narrow shelving.
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Blackboard paint and paintbrush
  • Chalk
  • Decorative paper, and felt (optional)
  • Doll house furniture

How to make a dollhouse from a suitcase:

1. Clean your suitcase thoroughly, vacuum out the inside and give the exterior a wipe with a damp cloth.

2. Measure the interior of the case to determine the size of your wood inserts = width x depth of bottom of case.

3. Cut wood to size, you may need to round off back corners if your case has curved edges. I’ve chosen 3 inserts (4 floors)as Emma’s dolls are small, but for larger dolls you may only need 2 inserts (3 floors).

step1 suitcase doll house

4. Screw in inserts from the outside of the case.

step 2 suitcase dollhouse

5. Give the exterior 2 coats of Chalkboard paint. Follow manufacturers instructions for drying times between coats.

painting suitcase dollhouse

6. Time to decorate the interior. I added some felt on the lower floor as carpet but liked the look of the hardwood floors on the other levels. You can add decorative papers on the walls, be as creative as you like. I actually left the original lining paper exposed as the house’s wall paper as it was my favourite part of the case. It’s why I bought it in the first place.

decorate dollhouse

7. Rather than cutting out holes for windows and doors, I’ve drawn the house facade on with chalk. You can just wipe it off and change it’s look whenever you like. It’s a great way for kids to get creative and design their own house.

suitcase dollhouse chalkboard

8. Fill it with little furniture. We found some of these items at the op-shop and made others out of bits and pieces we had at home.

Finished suitcase dollhouse

Time to Play!

Play with a suitcase dollhouse

And the beauty of this Doll house is that it’s portable. When you are finished playing, it’s totally portable and can travel with you wherever you go.

portable doll house

I hope I’ve inspired you. Now it’s your turn to get creative with an old suitcase.

before & after old suitcase to dollhouse mypoppet.com.au
Happy upcycling!

Originally published Sep 2013, Updated April 2020

21 Comments

  • Laura says:

    I have just been given an old suitcase from my Dad.. This is perfect for my little people! thanks for sharing!

    xLaura

  • Trudie @ My Vintage Childhood says:

    Cute quick upcycle Cinti, I liker great job.
    Definitely should considered entering this competition myself, certainly not short of old suitcases in this house being a vintage lover and all. Tricky thing is to come up with something new and different, I’ve already done a dogs bed.

    • Miss Cinti @ My Poppet says:

      I don’t think the idea has to be totally original, it’s all in the execution after all. You are super creative, I’m sure you’ll come up with something awesome.

  • Katia says:

    Fabulous!!! Lucky Emma!!!

  • Agy says:

    That’s a great upcycle! I would love to have a doll’s house like that. It’s perfect as I can carry it wherever I want to!

  • Lorena Hamon Rodgers says:

    So cute! I think I just found what to make my granddaughter for Christmas. 🙂 Along with the luggage, could one also win a trip to take them to New Zealand? 😉 (I always wish for that)

  • Chris says:

    Great idea! I love the chalkboard paint. One day the dolls can be at a fancy hotel, and the next in a log cabin! Totally changeable! Thanks for sharing!

  • silke burst says:

    This is so amazing and must be called INcycling, not “only” UPcycling.
    IN in this extraordnary (suit)case had two meanings 🙂

    Really love it, a perfect idea!
    Thanx for sharing!

  • Karen Sans says:

    So cute. A friend of mine had something like this when we were growing up. My daughter would enjoy being able to help make this.

  • Lisa says:

    What an awesome idea!
    I love that you can customise the inside and outside of this sweet little house. And the storage/transportation is included!

  • Rachel says:

    Wow, this is seriously cute (and transportable!). Emma is one lucky girl!

  • Sarah LoCascio says:

    This is WONDERFUL! My favorite part about it is how easy easy it is to pack it all up after playtime, or to take on a trip. Really well Done:)

  • Kerstin says:

    Soooo cute!!!
    What a pity that I have no little daughter…
    I love this Idea!!!

    Kerstin♥

  • Kristen @ It Comes Full Circle says:

    That is so adorable! I love the video of the chalk progression. 🙂 Too cute! Pinning! 🙂

  • jet says:

    wooow this is adorable and smart and cool , i’m an big fan of dollhouses , in the Netherlands we have many old ones made by adults not for a toy but for to show as art.
    in one is during the 19 centuary a burgalar became to steel the old silver.
    Sadly but in a way comic as well.
    Most of them are made in a special made closet with rooms inside them during the 17th centuary.
    i have studied all about this. but i love the new made as well.
    it was my dream to built my own dollhouse, but … i’m not sure i’ll . perhaps dreaming is better.
    but i love this one too much. so perhaps.LOL
    thank you for the sharing

  • Jackie says:

    Love it! This is such a great idea. I know what I will be looking for at the thrift store and yard sales. 🙂

  • trixi says:

    what a great idea and i love the fact it’s so portable!

  • Lina says:

    This is so fun! Just came across it after searching ‘dollhouses’ on Pinterest. So clever! Off to check out more of your site! 🙂

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