Recycled Craft: Portable Art Case

I have a couple of budding artists in my house, and it seems like we have projects and materials spread all over the house. I consider this a good thing- but I still wanted to contain the supplies a bit, and in a fun way.

I made this custom art suitcase out of a thrifted book.

Recycled craft - art caseIt was very inexpensive, and makes a great portable, and customizable art studio!

CCatrfolio 004Supplies needed to make your own portable art case recycled craft:

MARCH2013 432Let’s get crafting!

The first thing you will want to do is prepare your book. You will need to cut the pages out of the binding. This is easy to do, just run a craft knife down the sides of the inside cover. Go slowly, so you don’t damage the binding.

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MARCH2013 436You can set aside the book pages for another craft project!

The next step is making chipboard backing for the inside covers, and the book spine. These do not have to be perfect, they will be wrapped in felt. They are just to give the felt some stability when you glue it into place.

Cut the chipboard pieces slightly smaller than the covers, and the spine. This will leave some wiggle room for the felt to fit without hanging over the edges of the book.

MARCH2013 437Do not glue the chipboard into place yet, we are going to wrap them in felt.

Lay the chipboard over the felt, and trim- leaving enough felt around the perimeter to wrap.

MARCH2013 438At each corner, notch the felt as shown.

MARCH2013 439Then, use adhesive to hold the felt in place on the back side of the chipboard.

MARCH2013 440The notched corners should give you a clean fold.

Then, use a sewing machine to stitch the perimeter.

MARCH2013 441Repeat for both covers, and the spine of the book.

Then choose how you would like to design your art case.

I wanted to include pencils and a sketch book.

Lay out where you would like your materials to be, and add elastic.

I used elastic on the top and bottom of my sketch book to hold it in place.

MARCH2013 443I used pins to hold the elastic in place and then when it was placed where I wanted it, I used a stapler to pull the elastic taut and hold it so I could sew it.

Yep. A stapler. I have never professed to be an award winning seamstress, but hey- it gets the job done!

MARCH2013 445Just remove the staples when you are done stitching the elastic in place.

I repeated the same process to add my pencil holder. I marked lines with a pencil every 1/2 inch along the elastic, to house each pencil individually.

MARCH2013 451Then I sewed the elastic in place, stitching on each 1/2 inch interval.

MARCH2013 452I added a pocket along the bottom of the pencils- to hold erasers and a sharpener, and possibly treats. :)

I simply trimmed my felt to size, and folded it towards the back.

MARCH2013 455Then I stitched it into place. The nice thing about felt is that it doesn’t require hemming to look finished.

MARCH2013 456Now you can add your purse handles.

Place your finished covers inside the book, and mark where you would like the handles to be- making sure they line up together. Then cut four 4″ sections of grosgrain ribbon.

MARCH2013 446Loop the ribbon pieces through the rings on the purse handles, and staple the loops closed.

MARCH2013 447Place the handles where you want them to be, and staple the loops to the covers.

MARCH2013 448Sew the loops to the covers. Make sure they are stitched on there good and tight, I did four passes. I am the queen of over-kill!

Now you are ready to secure the covers to the inside of the book.

MARCH2013 457I used a good old fashioned glue gun! Seriously, what did we do without glue guns?

MARCH2013 459Be generous with the hot glue- you don’t want those covers peeling up!

Then you are ready to add your supplies:

The sketchbook-

MARCH2013 461And the pencils.

MARCH2013 462There you go! A chic and portable art studio!

CCartfolio 014 CCartfolio 017Ready to inspire any artist.

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About Shaunte

Shaunte is a 30-something, chocolate-loving, SAHM from Utah. She has been scrapbooking since 1997, the dreaded era of photos cropped with deco scissors. Since then, her work has evolved into a clean, linear, photo-focused style. Her favorite subjects to scrap are her husband and five kids (never a lack for subject material there).


  1. MonaMonn says

    I adore and love it, it is amazing, thinking to make this for my personal organizer with pen and maybe calculator ect. But I do not think I will find purse handles just like that to buy separately :(

  2. Frances Clements Fawcett says

    What a delight to find your post via Kate Robertson’s blog (and Link Love today) – super creative way to re-use a book AND make a portable sketchbook supply holder for all of our missions!

    In Delight from Yes and Yay HQ,


    Gonna have to try to make this for myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    keep up the great work!


    • says

      I know! I totally wanted to keep it! :) I had to make two- one for each daughter. Now I have the hang of it, and I am scouting the thrift store for a book for myself.


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