Quick & Easy Vintage Cosmetic Case Makeover

You know when you see something at a thrift store, and at first you think… nah… shaking your head at no one in particular?

Then you take a second look during your second lap and you think… hmmmm, maybe… while rubbing your chin and mulling it over, even though the colors are completely wrong.

And then you take a third look during your third lap and you think… yes!… and you snap it up… because you have to be the one to make it right. Right?

You’ve hard of speek-walking? Well this is thrift-walking. My kind of exercise. lol.

How about you?

Well that’s the way this happened, and this quick and easy vintage cosmetic case makeover has been a long time coming.


Just in time for the Thrifty Chicks Monthly Project Challenge, which this month is luggage.


Thrifty Chicks Monthly Project Challenge

On the second Wednesday of each month I join some very talented blogging friends for a project challenge, and with a different theme each time it’s really a lot of fun.

If you missed any of the past projects you can find them here.

I’m so excited to see what my blogging friends have come up with for this month’s luggage challenge.



vintage beige cosmetic case makeover front before

I found this very plain and beige-y boring vintage cosmetic case a while back, and it’s been waiting for its makeover every since.

All I needed to give this baby a whole new look was some painter’s tape and spray paint.


vintage beige cosmetic case makeover back before

Here’s the back.

When I saw it at the thrift store I almost passed it twice because I’m so not a beige kinda girl.

Even though I was pretty sure it was beige on the inside too, I decided to open it up and give it a boo on my third time around.


vintage cosmetic case makeover floral interior 2

I was wrong.

It happens occasionally. (wink wink)

Talk about the 70s in all its orange and yellow floral splendor!


vintage cosmetic case makeover floral interior 3

Now I’m a girl who loves color, and I do love orange and I do love yellow… but I have to say that I wasn’t totally loving the whole orange and yellow togetherness vibe that was happening here.

But the interior was in fantastic condition, and is quite the awesome nod to the fun and funky 70s… so I thought about my options.

And after letting it percolate in the back of my brain for like months, it finally occurred to me that the boring beige exterior was its main problem for me.

So instead of fighting the whole retro vibe I decided to go with it instead.


preparing vintage train case for makeover

Painter’s tape is a wonder for makeovers like this one.


taping over metal parts of vintage cosmetic case exterior before spray painting

I covered all the silver metal because I wanted to retain its color but also all the little dents and dings.


taping over metal parts of vintage train case exterior before spray painting

I taped it all the way around, and also the silver part below the handle.


taping over corner metal parts of vintage cosmetic case exterior before spray painting

When taping around the corners its best to use small pieces. This makes it much easier to get that little ridge along the top.


spray painting boring beige vintage cosmetic case yellow

A little while ago we had a mild spell so I took the case out to our portable garage and spray painted it.

Look at the difference between the beige and that fabulous yellow!

My spray paint color options to tie in the interior floral were this yellow or orange.

Orange would be gorgeous too, but I have absolutely no orange in my whole house  so I chose to go with the yellow. This makes this case work for me in almost every room.

Instead of travelling around the world it can travel around my house. lol.


vintage cosmetic case makeover floral interior 1


Here’s the interior when the outside was beige.


vintage train case makeover by spray painting after 2

And here it is now with that lovely yellow.

The bright color on the exterior actually tones the floral down a bit because it’s not such a contrast.


vintage cosmetic case makeover by spray painting after 2a

To me this color combo makes much more sense, and I actually like the floral interior much better now… and the bonus is that I didn’t have to tear out a perfectly good interior.


vintage train case makeover by spray painting back view after 1

I have to show you the back as well.

I gave the case three light coats of paint, and I didn’t worry about any of the dings and dents showing through… and there are a few.

They just give it some character.


vintage beige cosmetic case makeover front before

So here’s the boring beige case that I almost passed by.


vintage train case makeover by spray painting front view after 1a

And here’s my quick and easy vintage cosmetic case makeover… just right for me.

What do you think?


vintage train case makeover by spray painting front view after 1

It’ll be repurposed in my living room office area near my recently decoupaged desk, so you’ll be seeing it again in the future.

So the next time you’re doing your laps at the thrift store, take a second or third look at something that maybe didn’t look so good the first time around.

You never know, you just might see something that you can easily make right for yourself.


Now be sure to check out what my friends did with their luggage projects.

Here are the BEFORES.

Thrifty Chicks Luggage Challenge March 2018


Just click on the links beside the blog names to see the fabulous afters.

1.Thrifty Rebel Vintage – That’s mine.
2. Adirondack Girl at Heart – How to Clean & Care for Antiques: Vintage Luggage
3. Lora B. Create & Ponder – Repurposing A Vintage Cosmetic Case
4. Little Vintage Cottage – Upcycled Suitcase Tray


Thanks so much for reading, and until next time…


keep on keepin’ on!


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All you need for this quick and easy vintage cosmetic case makeover is some painter's tape and spray paint, and you've got a whole new updated look.


I sometimes share my projects and posts at these fabulous parties.


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  1. I love this tuula! Such a simple update yet it makes such a big impact!


    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks very much Tania! I’m always amazed at what a little spray paint can do.

  2. When I saw the perfect condition of that funky fabric I said out loud to my computer monitor, “don’t do it Tuula”. I am so relieved to see you kept and worked “with” it. LOVE LOVE LOVE the refresh you gave the cosmetic case!!! The pretty yellow makes it sing like the Spring birds. I can see some beautiful Spring|Summer vignettes in your home using this case.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks so much Marie! You and I are on the same wavelength with this one. I do have a few vignette ideas for it.

  3. Yesterday I thought the glitch was with my computer. You had comments that talked about the pictures. Glad I got to see how it turned out. I really like what you did. Happy you left the inside it’s so 70ish.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks so much Olivia! The pics were showing fine in the morning so some readers got to see them before the glitch happened. I hope it didn’t cause you too much worry about your computer.

  4. There are only 2 colors that I don’t like…yellow and orange. HOWEVER, I love this soooo much! It is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately it would not have come home with me. Glad it found a good home with you!

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks Granny! Sometimes the best way to work with colors we’re not to fond of is to neutralize them by working with them instead of against them. Sounds strange, but it works.

  5. This looks fabulous. The beige was so bland that it made the lining look awful. But after you painted the case it looks like this was meant to be.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks very much Debra! It’s definitely happier now, and so am I.

  6. I’m impressed! BTW, glad the computer problems got fixed. Back to the case…I’ve never seen an interior like that…boy is it awesome, and probably would have sold as is, but I do LOVE the yellow paint! What a transformation! It looks like it came that way. What kind of spray paint did you use? I have a small suitcase here I’ve tried to sell. Nothing wrong with it, but it won’t sell. It’s dark gray…kinda boring looking. I’ve been thinking of repainting it. You’ve inspired me.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks Florence! I know what you mean about the interior. Most of the ones I’ve seen in the past have been solid colors. So the fact that it was in perfect shape made me want to preserve it, but the beige wasn’t doing it any justice whatsoever. I used Krylon Fusion. I think you can pretty much spray paint anything with it as long as its clean.

  7. I love this makeover! That interior is just fabulous and would be so cute sitting open to show it off. I actually bought a travel case with an awful exterior because I heard you can paint over them. Well, it is still sitting there waiting for me. I am now inspired! I was going to brush it on but I might try spray painting instead.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks AnnMarie! If I can spray paint something rather than brush painting I’ll do that every time. It’s so much easier.

  8. This case is beautiful. I’m so glad you didn’t destroy that interior but added the yellow! I just love it and in fact this is the one I’ll never forget. I have an ugly blue case with an ugly blue interior, probably from the 60’s. I have no idea what to do with it unless I paint it and then stencil it. Sounds boring compared to yours. Thanks.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks Pam! I’m glad I kept the interior too. I usually see these cases like yours, the same color on the inside and the outside. If it was me I might try to dress up the inside with some colorful ribbon or trim that matches nicely with the blue just gives it some life, and then paint the outside with a color from the trim that also goes with the blue. Just an idea. πŸ™‚

  9. My first reaction when I saw the pic of the open case, finished , was…Aahhhh. perfect! My mom would have loved it! I tbink I probably wore something with a print like that wben i was a teen!

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks so much Jennie! I like it so much better now too, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I wore something similar myself.

  10. That interior is fantastic I would of bought for it that alone! Changing that boring beige out for the sunny yellow is exactly what the rehab junk doctor ordered. I was surprised how easy you can transform these cases with paint, I painted a small case black (it’s a Halloween thing) and the paint has held up extremely well.

    1. Thanks Mickie! The your case has held up well is good to hear. I’m hoping mine will last a long time. πŸ™‚

  11. Perfect color choice, Tuula–it totally pulled the look together. They were meant to be together–that paint and the fabric interior πŸ™‚

  12. Are you only going to use it for vignettes or do you store stuff in your vintage containers/suitcases, too? I am beginning to use some stuff for storage and I like the idea!

    1. Probably more for storage than vignettes Kathy. I love that this case can be left out because it’s nice to look at. It’s both practical and pretty, and for me that’s always a good combo.

  13. I love the yellow color, it’s perfect! What kind of paint did you use? Did you need to prime it first?

    1. Thanks Tracey! I used a Krylon paint and primer spray paint combo so I didn’t have to prime first, which is a huge time saver. I just gave the case a good cleaning before painting.

  14. Anita Ellison says:

    nice work on the yellow vintage case!

  15. Donna Rafferty says:

    Very Pretty Makeover!

  16. OK…..You got me with this one. Off to look for old cosmetic cases to use for my sewing basket πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the inspiration!