ashley campbellDIYdiy projects

diy project: suitcase vanity & towel holder

by AshleyAnn

When I visit a friend’s home, it’s the little details filling the house that stand out and make me feel welcome. In my own home, I want to find ways to make my guests feel special. Baking cookies or having a favorite drink on hand is easy. What is not so easy is the tiny size of our guest bathroom. The small space makes it difficult to have extra little items on hand for guests. To add a bit of storage that is both pleasing to look at and practical, I attached a thrifted vanity suitcase to the wall to serve as a towel holder and small cabinet. Depending on the space you have available, there are numerous ways to create your own wall storage units from found suitcases. — AshleyAnn

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • vanity suitcase (I found mine for $5 at an antique store.)
  • fabric or lace to decoupage (I used a thrifted lace curtain.)
  • decoupage medium
  • hooks, screws, screw nuts
  • Hammer-Drive Hollow Wall Anchors (if you are attaching to drywall)
  • long wood screws & washers (if you are attaching to the wall studs)
  • scissors, X-Acto knife or rotary cutter for trimming fabric
  • hand drill
  • hammer


1. If you want to add fabric or lace to the suitcase, apply a thin layer of your decoupage medium directly to the suitcase.

2. Add the fabric or lace on top of the glue. Typically, you want to let this dry before adding a top coat to avoid any bubbling. Since I was adding lace to my suitcase and bubbling was not an issue, I soaked the lace with the glue and let it dry.

3. Trim the edges of your fabric using scissors, an X-Acto knife or a rotary cutter. Apply more glue to the edges, making sure everything is firmly adhered.

4. Measure where you would like the hooks that will hold the towels to go. Make sure you leave enough room for the towels to easily slide on and off the hook. I used the hooks that go inside lockers. Drill your two holes, and then attach the hooks using screws and screw nuts.

5. In the photo below, you can see the towel hooks attached. Next, you will want to pre-drill the holes for attaching the suitcase on the wall. Find the center of the suitcase and drill holes toward the top and bottom.

6. This is an inside view of the towel hooks. You will want to use screw nuts to hold the hooks in place.

7. This step will depend on where you are attaching the suitcase to the wall. If you are attaching it to drywall and not a stud, I recommend using Hammer-Screw Hollow Wall Anchors (see photo below step 5). You will want to pre-drill two holes into the wall that line up with the holes you pre-drilled into the back of the suitcase. Once your holes are drilled, you will place the anchors in the holes, hammer them through the suitcase and wall and then secure the anchors by screwing them tight.

8. Finish it off by adding a hand towel and a little “for our guest” luggage tag. If your towel does not have a small hanging tab, you can stitch a ribbon to one corner for easy hanging.

Keep in mind that many old suitcases are made of a heavy cardboard. You will want to consider the humidity of the room and the weight of the contents before hanging the suitcase. Depending on the size of your bathroom and the size of your suitcase, you can fill it with a few basic items or outfit it with everything an overnight guest may need.

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