Mini Suitcase DIY

Jourdan Fairchild is a fantastic example of how to make lemonade when life hands you those proverbial lemons. Jourdan spent seven years working in the magazine industry in New York before moving to Chicago with her husband, where she became the Chicago editor of DailyCandy. Just a few months ago, the site closed down and Jourdan lost her job. Two weeks later, she was given the opportunity to go Africa. It wasn’t a vacation. She went to help a nonprofit group check on the status of wells in the country of Malawi and to document the experience. (You can read about how it all happened and follow her trip here. It’s a must-read if you’ve ever lost a job.) The trip was life-changing and when she returned home, Jourdan drew on her travel experiences as well as her knowledge as a former craft editor and created her first e-book, Fly DIY: Crafts for the Modern Traveler. The 59-page book has 12 simple and affordable projects (and all of the models in the book are local Chicago-area female business owners). It’s a sweet, fun book that will give you ideas for projects to make while you’re waiting to depart for your next trip! (And 10% of proceeds go toward funding water projects in Africa.) -Amy

From Jourdan:: Call me sentimental (or a packrat), but I think one of the sweetest ways to remember a vacation is to save little mementos from the trip. Typically, I’d toss them in my purse without a final destination in mind. But now I’ll be packing them away in these adorable mini suitcases. Just pick up craft boxes for a buck or two each or use jewelry boxes you’ve been gifted, plus some paint, rubber bands and stamps.

Photography by Carolina Mariana

Image above: Fly DIY: Crafts for the Modern Traveler by Jourdan Fairchild is available for download right here.

See the steps for making your own mini suitcase after the jump!

• Square craft boxes
• Rubber bands
• Brown acrylic paint
• Paintbrush
• Rubber stamp
• Stamp pad

1. Paint rubber bands brown (each suitcase needs two rubber bands for straps and one for its handle). Let dry for an hour. Don’t worry if they crack because it mimics the look of old leather straps.

2. Cut band to create handle, then use scissors to cut a pair of slits into one side of a box top.

3. Slide handle into both slits as shown. Pull to secure; trim inside if necessary.

4. Use a Sharpie to add gold “hardware” to the box top’s corners.

5. Stamp boxes with rubber stamp.

6. Fill with collectibles and secure with bands.

Kristin Collins Moomey

It was kind of fun reading this over lunch and suddenly recognizing a familiar face. Congrats, Jourdan, on the new book – how exciting! And you look super cute on the cover. :)


i always have currency, museum tickets and boarding passes floating around in my bag. such a great idea to corral momentos!


Africa is not a country. Please clarify in your post as the way it’s written continues commonly used ways of writing about the African continent. Your African readers thank you for the edit. :)

Grace Bonney

Hi Ngozi

I’m sorry if it seemed as if we were implying that Africa was a country- the projects and charities referred to in this post took place in many countries within the continent of Africa, so that’s why we said Africa and not a much longer list of countries. I apologize if you felt we were implying it was a country.


Stacy {Woodsy Weddings}

Really cute, this could also be one of the best wedding invitations. Fill the suitcase with a “passport,” and other travel related RSVP, menu items, etc. Love this.


Thanks, Grace. Definitely understand there was no way to make a list, was just mentioning based on the way post was originally worded. Many thanks! :-) Very cool project!