Wednesday, 3 February 2016

It's easy to upcycle with You Can Folk It

The best part about attending Craft fairs and trade shows is getting a chance to display our props; to show everyone just what can be created with our kits. Yes, you can paint beautiful cards and ornaments that everyone will love but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Recently we showed you how we were getting along giving our vintage suitcase a makeover. Vintage suitcases make great storage, for us we could use it to transport other props to and from trade shows, in the home though you can pack away bedding, craft supplies or Christmas ornaments. If you wish to be more adventurous, you can turn them into bookcases, stools or side tables and Pinterest is filled with great tutorials to help you.

It was admired by so many on our social media accounts, we decided to put together a tutorial for you to show you how we did it. Here is what you will need to upcycle your own: 

DecoArt Metallic Lustre in Iced Espresso 
DecoArt Chalky Finish paint (we mixed our own shade using Lace, Primitive and Enchanted) 
A suitcase - or anything you wish to upcycle

Folky HQ is near a fantastic vintage shop and is our first stop to find unique and beautiful items but you can also scour charity shops, skips and salvage yards depending on what you are looking for.

We liked the metal details on this suitcase which we knew could be enhanced.

The next step is to decide on the colour you will use. For this project, we mixed our own shade using DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint - a ultra matte paint that needs no priming before you begin.

Tip: paint a sample of your custom made colour in your journal. Make a note of the colours you have mixed and the ratio you used. This is a great reference guide for future projects.

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint
From left to right: DecoArt Chalky Finish paint in Lace, Primitive & Enchanted.

Create a great base for your painting by bisecting your project with DecoArt Chalky Finish paint.

Paint every part of the suitcase with your paint. This will give you a good base to add your Metallic lustre to the metal locks, brackets and handle. 

Next, use DecoArt Metallic Lustre wax to pick out the metal details on the case (or any metal areas of your chosen project). We chose Iced Espresso. 

DecoArt's Metallic lustre in Iced Espresso

Although the lustre suggests that it should be applied with a soft cloth, as precision is needed to apply the wax to the metallic detailing only, use a brush for the task. Once you have applied the wax, leave to dry and then buff to a shine with a soft cloth.

As you can see, the lustre's are a great product to give a gorgeous metallic look to anything you apply it to. 

Paint the inside of the suitcase.  At Folky HQ we believe that there is nothing that can't be Folked up. If you paint a card, don't forget the envelope. If you paint a suitcase, don't forget the inside! 

Begin by painting pink dots where you wish to add our pretty vintage rose design. Next, add leaves and petals to slowly cover the surface with roses. 

Next, choose your design to add to the top and sides of the case (and the bottom if you wish - depending on what you intend to use it for). We chose our Oriental Blossom kit. As well as being a pretty design, with the Chinese New Year around the corner, we thought the Plum blossom, the national flower of China, would bring us a bit of good luck while we were travelling to trade shows. 

A vibrant flower, it is said to symbolise inner beauty and strength in adversity as it blooms, even in the harshest winters. 
Mix You Can Folk It kits to paint beautiful oriental blossom with bluebirds and butterflies

1. Begin by painting the branches. 
2. Double blend your chosen colours and paint blossoms and individual petals. If you are painting a small area, you can use the patterns included in our Instruction booklet. However, if you are painting a larger item, like the top of a suitcase, you may wish to draw a larger pattern onto the suitcase using a light pencil line. 
3. Add bluebirds to the branches using your Bluebirds kit design and Series 1 paints
4. Add butterflies using your Series 2 kit and paints. 

Learn to paint with You Can Folk It and decorate anything that sits still long enough!

Next, add flowers to any other areas you wish. On our suitcase, we added the flower design we teach you in our Bluebirds kit. 

Learn how to transfer images with You Can Folk It Series 2 Series 2 Starter and add on kits

We chose to add transfers to our suitcase to showcase this technique. If you wish to do this, choose your image to transfer and use the instructions provided in the Series 2 kits to add it to the suitcase. If you would like to know how to flip an image, you can find useful resources on our Mixed Media Pinterest board here.

We also chose to transfer the image of the original label on to the front of the case to remember Mother Mary Cecelia, the original owner of the suitcase. 

Upcycle unloved suitcases and much more with You Can Folk It

To distress the suitcase, use a brush to add DecoArt Creme Wax in Dark brown. This will not only mute the colours and make the suitcase look worn, the wax will also protect the paint. 

Here is the suitcase on display in Frankfurt at the Creativeworld trade show. It was fantastic to be able to transport all our samples at the airport and a real talking point for everyone who saw it.

We hope you enjoy seeing how we created it and hope you will be inspired to start your own project. Please do share your projects for us to see, we love to be inspired too! Post your pictures on our Facebook page, tag us in posts or use #youcanfolkit

Happy Folking,


Carol & Sandra xx



  1. Wonderful, Andy Skinner will just be green with envy when he sees this, he will want it! Love it.

    1. What fab feedback - thanks so much. He will have to fight us for it, we have to say its captured our hearts :) x

  2. Love this project. Turned out so good. Thanks for sharing such an awesome DIY tutorial.


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