Vintage Suitcase Tea Chest
Ever seen the movie An Education, starring Carey Mulligan? It’s excellent, and I’d recommend it. But without giving too much away, there’s an unsettling moment in the film where it becomes apparent that the dreamy London men Mulligan’s character has become infatuated with have made their riches by stealing antiques from unsuspecting elderly ladies whose homes they have charmed their way into. This is something I often think of when people look at some of my knick—knacks and ask “Where did you get that?“. Let me assure you, that when I say I’ve inherited a lot of my vintage finds from old people, it was all offered to me and none of it has any great monetary value! I have never even asked for something, nor would I ever. But if it was offered to me, then…
I seem to have gotten a bit of a reputation for collecting random old pieces and using them in my home and as props in photoshoots. And I love them dearly. So, as a result, many of our relatives, family friends and even some of my mother’s patients tend to box up and send over random things they’re keen to declutter. And that’s exactly what happened with this vintage suitcase. An chalkboard, jar of dominoes, an (empty!!) money box and framed wedding photos from the 1920s (of who, nobody seems to know) were also in the loot. If I didn’t take it, it was all going in a skip. Sad to think that that’s where somebody’s once-loved and regularly-used treasures would end up, isn’t it?
The brown leather suitcase was small, but not a briefcase. A children’s suitcase, perhaps? Anyway, because of its cute size, I knew it would make a really cool storage solution. I wanted to make use of the fact that it was hinged however, and not just any regular box. I loved the idea that you could open it as a surprise for people and let them root through it. And so, I decided that it would make a charming little home for my selection of teabags.
This DIY can’t outline any specific measurements because it would depend very much on the case or box you were using. But basically, I let the standard size of a wrapped teabag guide me when making my dividers. I used foamboard I got in a craft shop and crepe paper I picked up in Søstrene Grene. The foambaord fit snuggly inside, so I didn’t even need to use an adhesive to keep it in place. Which is great, if I ever want to take the dividers out and used the case for something else without damaging it.
I’m so pleased with how it turned out, and it’s such a nice piece to bring to the table with a teapot of water and allow guests to choose their own tea. And there, over a cup of lavender Earl Grey do I assure them that I am NOTHING like the guy from An Education.