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Vintage Suitcase Makeover- Painting & Adding Dixie Belle's Wildflowers & Butterflies Transfer

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

I thrifted this suitcase for $7.99 at Goodwill, then transformed it into a showpiece using Dixie Belle’s Chalk Mineral Paint & the new Wildflowers & Butterflies” Transfer inspired by AJ’s Vintage Designs!

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to prep & paint a suitcase, plus how to apply the transfers & seal them.

These transfers are very sentimental for me, with my love of butterflies & flowers combined. I’ve been working on this with Dixie Belle since last year & I’m so EXCITED to finally show them off!

Read on for step-by-step instructions, all the products I used, PLUS a full Video Tutorial to follow along.

You will see bold colored text in the product list, those are links to each product so that you can locate the products easily if you are wanting to purchase them.

Step #1 Prepping the Suitcase to Be Painted

 The outside is textured plastic, so before I can paint, it needs to be cleaned with a TSB-Based cleaner such as Dixie Belle White Lightning.

Afterwards, I clean it really well with water & a rag to remove any residue.

Step #2 Prime Time – How to Prime Plastic for Painting

You’ll need to use an adhesion primer to make the paint stick to plastic and not scratch off.

I apply two coats of Dixie Belle’s Slick Stick, which is a bonding primer that helps paint adhere to any slippery surface such as metal, glass or plastic.

 Let your primer dry for at least 24 hours before you paint on it. This will give it time to adhere to the plastic.

Step #3 Blending Paint for a Cloudy Look

Start painting around the border with the darkest shade, Dixie Belle’s Chalk Mineral Paint in “Amethyst”.

The plastic has a textured surface, so I use a generous amount of paint to make sure I get into all the little bumps.

Then paint inside of that with Dixie Belle’s “Lucky Lavender”, then start blending them together towards the center.

Next add a little bit of Dixie Belle’s “Fluff” to lighten up the center.

If your paint starts to dry, mist with a little bit of water to reactivate it and keep blending.

I want a nice cloudy background, but it doesn’t have to perfect since I’ll be covering it with transfers.

To give it a cloudy look, I use a dry brush to blend & buff out the brush strokes.

I use a Dixie Belle Oval Medium Brush to swirl the colors into a cloudy blend. 

TIP: If you’re brush gets muddy with residual paint, wipe off any excess paint onto a paper towel.

Wait 24 hours for your paint to properly dry before doing any more steps.

Step #4 How to Apply the Dixie Belle Transfers 

The Wildflowers & Butterflies Transfer comes with 4 sheets of colorful designs that you can layer together for different looks.

How to Apply Dixie Belle Transfers:

  1. Cut out the design to fit your piece. The clear borders make it easy to line up.

  2. Peel off the white paper backing and carefully place the transfer where you want the design.

  3. Next, burnish the design with the tool that comes in the kit.

  4. Rub back & forth over the design with the tool.

  5. While rubbing, gently lift the transfer, starting at one corner. Rub & lift at the same time to “release” the image.

  6. Once you’re done, it’s important to “burnish” the design by rubbing over it with your fingers or a cloth. This will help it to adhere properly without bubbling or peeling.

  7. Then seal with a water-based Clear Coat to protect the design. Do not use an oil-based clear coat to seal it. I like to use Dixie Belle’s Water Based Clear Coat in Satin.

This Suitcase actually has 2 different looks that I came up with to give it a fun twist.

The Green Side was done using the same method in Palmetto, Kudzu & Fluff.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and you’re inspired to try something new. I’d love to see your projects if you do! 

Make sure to follow me on all my social media platforms. I’m always sharing Free Painting Tutorials and Videos, plus easy tips and tricks for painting furniture!

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