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How To Paint A Suitcase


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Denise Sam



When it comes to travel, having the right essentials and accessories can greatly enhance your experience. From luggage organizers to travel pillows, there are numerous items that can make your journey more comfortable and convenient. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore some of the must-have travel essentials and accessories that every traveler should consider packing.


Having the right travel essentials and accessories can help you stay organized, maximize your packing space, and ensure that you have everything you need while on the go. Whether you are embarking on a short weekend trip or a long-haul international adventure, these items can make a world of difference.


From versatile packing cubes that keep your clothes neat and compact, to toiletry bags that keep your personal care items organized, the right travel essentials can save you time and eliminate stress. Additionally, there are accessories such as travel adapters and portable chargers that ensure you stay connected and powered up no matter where you are in the world.


In terms of comfort, travel pillows and eye masks can help you get some much-needed rest during long flights or train rides. Noise-canceling headphones are another essential item for those who want to block out the noise and enjoy some peace and quiet while traveling.


For those who enjoy documenting their adventures, there are also travel essentials like compact cameras and travel-friendly tripods that can help you capture those unforgettable moments. And let’s not forget about safety – items such as TSA-approved locks and RFID-blocking wallets can provide peace of mind and protect your belongings while you explore new destinations.


Ultimately, investing in the right travel essentials and accessories is a worthwhile decision that can greatly enhance your travel experience. Not only will they make your journey more comfortable and convenient, but they can also help you stay organized and prepared for any situation that may arise.


In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the specific travel essentials and accessories that every traveler should consider adding to their packing list. From luggage and packing organizers to tech gadgets and safety items, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the must-have items for your next adventure.


Materials Needed

Before you begin painting your suitcase, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Here is a list of items you will need:

  1. A suitcase: Choose a suitcase that is in good condition and made of a suitable material for painting.
  2. Primer: Look for a primer that is specifically formulated for the surface of your suitcase.
  3. Paint: Select acrylic or fabric paint in the colors of your choice.
  4. Paintbrushes: Get a variety of paintbrushes in different sizes to accommodate different areas and details of your design.
  5. Painter’s tape: This will be useful for creating clean and precise lines in your design.
  6. Disposable gloves: Protect your hands from paint and chemicals.
  7. Drop cloth or old newspapers: Lay these down to protect your work surface from paint splatters.
  8. Clean cloth: Use this to wipe down the suitcase and remove any dust or dirt.
  9. Sandpaper: If your suitcase has a glossy finish, lightly sand it to create better adhesion for the paint.
  10. Clear sealant: Once you finish painting, apply a clear sealant to protect the design and make it more durable.

Having these materials ready will ensure that you have a smooth painting process and achieve the desired result on your suitcase. Make sure to choose paints and materials that are suitable for the type of suitcase you have or consult with a professional if you’re unsure.


Keep in mind that the quantity of paint and other materials may vary depending on the size of your suitcase and the complexity of your design. It’s always better to have some extra materials on hand to avoid any interruptions during the painting process.


Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary materials, you’re ready to move on to the next steps: cleaning and preparing the suitcase for painting.


Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Suitcase

Before you start painting your suitcase, it’s essential to clean and prepare the surface. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and gives you a smooth finish. Follow these steps:

  1. Empty the suitcase: Remove all the contents from the suitcase and set them aside. Make sure the interior is completely empty.
  2. Wipe down the suitcase: Use a clean cloth dampened with water or a mild soap solution to wipe down the entire surface of the suitcase. This will remove any dust, dirt, or grease that may be present.
  3. Inspect for damages: Check the suitcase for any scratches, dents, or damages. If you notice any, consider filling them with spackle or sanding them down to create a smooth surface.
  4. Sand the surface (if necessary): If your suitcase has a glossy or smooth finish, lightly sand the surface with sandpaper. This will create a rougher texture that allows the primer and paint to adhere better. Be gentle and avoid sanding too much, as you don’t want to damage the material.
  5. Cover any hardware or unwanted areas: If your suitcase has any hardware elements or areas that you don’t want to paint, such as handles or wheels, cover them with painter’s tape or plastic sheets. This will protect them from accidental paint splatters.

By thoroughly cleaning and preparing the suitcase, you are creating an ideal canvas for your design. When the surface is free from dust, dirt, and contaminants, the paint will adhere better and provide a more professional-looking finish.


Once you have completed the cleaning and preparation process, you are ready to move on to the next step: choosing your design.


Step 2: Choose Your Design

Choosing the right design for your painted suitcase is crucial as it will reflect your personal style and make your luggage stand out. Here are some tips to help you decide on a design:

  1. Consider your travel destination: Think about the place you will be traveling to and draw inspiration from its culture, landmarks, or natural beauty. Incorporating elements and colors that represent the destination can make your suitcase design more meaningful.
  2. Personalize it: Add a personal touch to your design by incorporating your initials, a favorite quote, or a symbol that holds special meaning to you. This will make your suitcase uniquely yours and help to identify it easily in a crowded airport.
  3. Research design ideas: Look for design inspiration online, in magazines, or even in art galleries. Consider different patterns, motifs, or themes that resonate with you and reflect your personality.
  4. Consider the suitcase size and shape: Keep in mind the size and shape of your suitcase when choosing your design. What may work well on a small carry-on may not translate as effectively on a larger, checked-in suitcase.
  5. Sketch it out: Once you have an idea in mind, sketch it out on paper or use graphic design software to visualize your design. This will help you refine your concept and make any necessary adjustments before you start painting.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to designing your suitcase. Let your creativity flow and don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors, patterns, and styles. The goal is to create a design that is unique to you and showcases your personality.


Once you have finalized your design, you are ready to move on to the next step: priming the suitcase.


Step 3: Prime the Suitcase

Priming the suitcase before painting is an important step to ensure that the paint adheres well and provides a smooth finish. Follow these steps to prime your suitcase:

  1. Choose the right primer: Select a primer that is specifically formulated for the surface of your suitcase. If you are painting a fabric suitcase, look for a fabric primer. For hard-shell suitcases, choose a primer suitable for that material.
  2. Read and follow the instructions: Each primer may have different application instructions, so carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. This may include shaking the can well before use or applying multiple thin coats for better coverage.
  3. Prepare your workspace: Lay down a drop cloth or old newspapers to protect your working surface from any primer spillage or paint splatters.
  4. Apply the primer: Hold the primer can about 6-8 inches away from the suitcase surface, and with smooth and even strokes, apply a thin layer of primer. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the suitcase and allow the primer to dry completely before continuing.
  5. Follow drying time instructions: Check the drying time mentioned on the primer packaging and give it adequate time to dry. This may vary depending on the brand and weather conditions. Ensure the primer is fully dry before moving on to the next step.

Priming the surface of the suitcase creates a suitable base for the paint, allowing it to adhere better and providing a more even finish. It also helps to prevent the original color or pattern of the suitcase from showing through.


Once the primer is dry, you are now ready to move on to the next step: painting the base coat of your design.


Step 4: Paint the Base Coat

Now that your suitcase is primed and prepared, it’s time to paint the base coat of your design. Follow these steps to achieve a solid foundation for your artwork:

  1. Choose the right paint: Select acrylic or fabric paint in the colors you’ve chosen for your design. Ensure that the paint is compatible with the type of suitcase you have. Acrylic paint works well on hard-shell suitcases, while fabric paint is suitable for fabric or soft-sided suitcases.
  2. Mix and prepare the paint: If you need to create specific shades or hues for your design, mix the paint colors in advance. Follow the instructions on the paint containers for any mixing or dilution requirements.
  3. Start with a base coat: Using a wide paintbrush or foam brush, apply an even layer of the base coat color to your suitcase. This will be the foundation of your design. Apply the paint in smooth, even strokes and ensure that the entire surface is covered uniformly.
  4. Allow the base coat to dry: Check the drying time mentioned on the paint packaging and give the base coat ample time to dry. This is essential to prevent smudging or blending of colors when you move on to the next steps.
  5. Apply additional coats if needed: Depending on the opacity of the base coat color and the desired intensity of your design, you may need to apply additional coats. Allow each coat to dry before adding another layer, ensuring a smooth and even finish.

By painting a solid base coat, you create a vibrant and consistent background for your design. This step also helps to enhance the color payoff of the subsequent layers and ensures that your final design stands out.


Once you are satisfied with the base coat, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step: adding your design or pattern to the suitcase.


Step 5: Add Your Design or Pattern

With the base coat dry, it’s time to let your creativity shine by adding your desired design or pattern to your suitcase. Follow these steps to bring your vision to life:

  1. Plan your design: Using your sketch or reference images as a guide, plan out the placement and composition of your design on the suitcase. Consider how different colors and elements will complement each other and create a cohesive look.
  2. Outline your design: Use a pencil or chalk to lightly outline your design on the suitcase. This will act as a guide for your painting and help you maintain proper proportions and symmetry.
  3. Paint your design: Using smaller brushes for details and larger brushes for larger areas, start painting your design. Take your time and work carefully, layering the paint to create depth and dimension. If you make any mistakes, don’t worry – acrylic paint can be corrected by painting over it once it dries.
  4. Add details and highlights: Once the main design is in place, add any additional details or highlights to enhance the overall visual appeal. This could include intricate patterns, text, or shading to create depth and texture.
  5. Blend and blend: If you want a softer look, consider blending different shades of paint on the suitcase. This can be achieved by gently blending the edges of different colors or using a damp brush to create smooth transitions.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to create your design – it’s all about self-expression and personal style. Feel free to experiment with different techniques, colors, and textures to achieve the desired effect.


Once you’re satisfied with your design, step back and assess the overall composition and balance. Make any necessary adjustments or touch-ups before moving on to the next step.


Now that you’ve added your unique design to the suitcase, it’s time to apply the final touches to complete your masterpiece.


Step 6: Apply Final Touches

After you’ve completed the main design on your suitcase, it’s time to apply the final touches to add those extra details that will make your artwork stand out. Here are some steps to consider for the final touches:

  1. Check for any imperfections: Take a close look at your design and identify any areas that may need touch-ups or corrections. Use a small brush to fix any smudges, uneven lines, or color inconsistencies.
  2. Add embellishments: Consider adding embellishments to enhance the visual appeal of your design. This could include attaching small gems, fabric patches, or decorative elements that complement your overall theme. Make sure to use appropriate adhesive and allow it to dry completely before moving the suitcase.
  3. Highlight with metallic paint or markers: Metallic accents can give your design a pop of shine and sophistication. Use metallic paints or markers to add highlights, borders, or intricate details that will catch the eye.
  4. Blend or soften colors if desired: If you want to achieve a softer or more blended look, consider using a dry brush or sponge to gently blend and soften any harsh edges or color transitions. This technique can create a more seamless and polished appearance.
  5. Step back and evaluate: Take a step back and evaluate your design as a whole. Ensure that the colors, composition, and details are pleasing to the eye and reflect your original vision. Make any necessary adjustments until you’re satisfied with the final result.

Remember, the final touches are what truly make your artwork unique and special. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let your creativity guide you.


Once you’re happy with the final touches, allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the last step: sealing the paint to protect and preserve your design.


Step 7: Seal the Paint

After putting so much effort into creating your painted suitcase, it’s important to protect and preserve your design by sealing the paint. Sealing the paint will help prevent it from chipping, fading, or being damaged during your travels. Follow these steps to properly seal your painted suitcase:

  1. Choose the right sealant: Look for a clear sealant that is compatible with the type of paint you used on your suitcase. Certain sealants are specifically designed for acrylic paints, while others work better with fabric paints. Read the label or consult with a professional to ensure you select the appropriate sealant.
  2. Prepare your workspace: Lay down a drop cloth or old newspapers to protect your work surface. Ensure that the area is well-ventilated, as the sealant may have strong fumes.
  3. Test in a small, inconspicuous area: Before applying the sealant to the entire suitcase, test it in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions or discoloration.
  4. Apply the sealant: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply the clear sealant to the painted surface of the suitcase. Use smooth, even strokes to create a thin and consistent coat. Make sure to cover the entire painted area, including any embellishments or decorative elements you added.
  5. Allow the sealant to dry: Check the drying time specified on the sealant packaging. Typically, it takes a few hours to dry completely. Avoid touching or moving the suitcase during this time to prevent any smudging or damage to the sealant.
  6. Apply additional coats if necessary: Depending on the type of sealant you are using, you may need to apply multiple coats for optimal protection. Allow each coat to dry before adding another layer, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Sealing the paint on your suitcase not only protects the design but also adds an extra layer of durability, making it more resistant to scratches, water damage, and general wear and tear. If you plan to check in your suitcase during your travels, sealing the paint becomes even more important to safeguard your artwork.


Once the sealant has dried completely, your painted suitcase is ready to accompany you on your next travel adventure. Enjoy showcasing your unique design and let your creativity shine wherever you go!



Congratulations! You have successfully transformed your ordinary suitcase into a personalized work of art. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you have learned how to clean and prepare the suitcase, choose a design, prime the surface, paint the base coat, add your unique design or pattern, apply final touches, and seal the paint for long-lasting protection.


Not only does a painted suitcase help you easily identify your luggage among a sea of similar bags, but it also showcases your creativity and adds a touch of uniqueness to your travel experience. Whether you opt for bold colors, intricate patterns, or personalized motifs, your painted suitcase is sure to turn heads and spark conversations.


Remember, the key to a successful painted suitcase lies in thorough preparation, attention to detail, and allowing your creativity to flow. Whether you’re adding a simple design or creating a complex artwork, let your imagination guide you and make it a reflection of your personal style and interests.


Additionally, don’t forget to prioritize the use of suitable materials, such as primers and sealants, to ensure the long-term durability and protection of your design. Proper care and maintenance of your painted suitcase will help preserve it for many adventures to come.


Now, all that’s left to do is to pack your newly painted suitcase, embark on your next journey, and let it be a vibrant representation of your adventurous spirit and passion for self-expression. Happy travels!