DIY: Customized Archie Comic Suitcase

You know the saying “can’t leave well enough alone”? Well, that pretty much sums me up… in a decorative sense. It has always been difficult for me to leave things as they are and it’s a serious struggle not to customize almost everything in some way. Anything from binders, text books, shirts, or my computer monitor… it has all been Adrianna-ified. When I get an idea in my head, I’m always on the look out for something that will work with whatever creative plan I’m stuck on. One of the big items on that list was a wheelie carry-on suitcase. It came to me after a few trips to the airport and seeing people with the same boring monotone wheel-on luggage. Browns and blacks were everywhere with nothing but luggage tape or plastic labels on the handle to identify one suitcase from the next. Then there would be the occasional “fun” one, but I always got into my head… hey, I can do better than that. This combined with how people put stickers on their guitar cases and laptops but as I don’t play guitar and my laptop is already sufficiently customized, I needed another sticker-able surface. I remembered those antique briefcases that people sometimes put stickers and patches on, and thought, hey… I can just combine these two ideas! So the hunt was on. I was on the lookout for a reasonably good quality, fairly priced, hard surface, carry-on sized, wheelie suitcase that had flat sides (no ribbing or other unnecessary texture). It was harder than you’d think. So this past Christmas I received this one as a gift. It’s a London Fog from the Wembley Lites Collection. The model is the 20″ Expandable Hardside Spinner Carry-On. My goal is to one day have an Earl Grey Tea Latte on my future travels so I can say that I’m having a London Fog with my London Fog. It would be even cooler if I was in London. And if it was foggy. This is what dreams are made of, everyone. Photo 2016-05-10, 6 10 30 PM  Photo 2016-05-10, 6 12 38 PM It’s a really nice suitcase and I was excited to start decorating! I had a few ideas, one was going with my original plan and covering it in stickers because God knows I have enough. The next was covering it in scrapbook paper (again, my scrapbooking shelves are bountiful), then I had some half-baked ideas involving vinyl and my Silhouette machine. But then I decided to go with the tried and true Archie Comic collage.


A is for Adrianna… And #ArchieComics ? #diy @archiecomics

A photo posted by Adrianna Mary-Anne (@adriannamaryanne) on

Archie Comics are something from my childhood that I hold quite close to my heart. I remember going to my cousins’ house and looking through their impressive collection from the 70’s and 80’s and slowly growing my own in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Every time we’d go on a holiday I would get to pick one of the comics from the checkout when we were doing our last minute grocery shopping. I was Jughead one year for Halloween. I remember watching the animated TV show on Teletoon. And now I am very stoked for CW’s Riverdale to air. For my artistic endeavours I couldn’t bear to part with (and by that I mean savagely cut up) my own beloved collection, so I picked up some Archie Comics from Value Village. Photo 2016-05-10, 5 08 19 PM Photo 2016-05-10, 9 28 22 PM I spent a couple hours cutting out the individual comic boxes with a criteria of it having to display one of the main characters or at least be referencing them. I used the last of a large bottle of Mod Podge I’ve had hanging around for a couple years, and started a new one of the smaller containers. For application I picked a sponge brush instead of a paintbrush to avoid the visible lines from brush strokes.Photo 2016-05-10, 6 16 00 PM Photo 2016-05-10, 6 17 06 PM Photo 2016-05-10, 6 17 58 PM To make the process as easy as possible, I started by opening the suitcase and placing it face down on the floor so that both sides of the hard outer shell would be face up. I watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix to pass the time (my favourite kind of multi-tasking). I started on the back where the wheels were as I figured this would be a more difficult part. In order to make it look more professional, I tucked the corners of comics into the crevices between the matte plastic affixed to the wheel and the shiny, smooth plastic (it’s actually polycarbonate… but we’ll go with plastic haha) of the suitcase’s surface. The process was mostly very repetitive. I used the sponge brush to apply Mod Podge to the surface of the suitcase, placed the comic, and sealed it with another coat of Mod Podge. I made sure that no black of the suitcase was showing by using an overlapping collage method. Photo 2016-05-10, 7 28 28 PM Other tricky areas were around the handle and the London Fog logo nameplate. The handle was especially tricky as the non-extendable handle fit very close to the top of the suitcase so it was difficult to maneuver it enough to get the comic pasted underneath without Mod Podging the rubber handle as well.  Photo 2016-05-10, 11 20 12 PM RIP to that sponge brush. The foam tore a couple holes and and has almost entirely ripped off the handle so this was his final sailing, but he served me well over the years! Photo 2016-05-11, 1 24 48 AM The whole process took about nine hours from start to finish. I made a pretty big dent in season five of Gilmore Girls, the small bottle of Mod Podge, and probably my spine from hunching over. But hey, I’m really stoked with the result! I used this suitcase for my trip to Connecticut (you can check my photo-an-hour post HERE). I decorated my suitcase the night before (procrastination at it’s finest) and got up to catch my flight three hours after I finished Mod Podging. I was very pleased with how well it held up with being crammed into four different overhead compartments, being pulled over the rough stones that make up Hartford’s streets, and a bit of rain. Nothing has peeled off or been damaged, but I think I’ll give it another quick sealing coat before putting him away into storage! IMG_1198 Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it!


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