Festival Gear DIY: Make Your Own Camping Essentials Case

Whether you are car camping, tent camping, or festival camping, it’s always best to have everything you need in one place and ready to go. Sara takes a vintage overnight train case and converts it into her perfect overnight bag for car camping and festival camping. Follow her steps and make your own Essentials Camping Case that’s durable, playful, customizable, and super organized. 

What is upcycling? Upcycling is when you take something that would otherwise go into a landfill and give it a new life and purpose. Check out thrift stores and yard sales in your area for train cases or similar luggage items to use in this project.

Materials needed for this project: 

  • Vintage Train Case 
  • File Folders (or something similar)
  • Foamcore Board or NEW Cardboard
  • Glue Gun & Glue Sticks 
  • Mod Podge (or any non-toxic water based glue) 
  • Approx 2 yd of your chosen fabric 
  • Elastic Bands (Hand bands will work)
  • Fabric Pins 
  • Exacto Knife 
  • Fabric Scissors 
  • Pencil
  • Paint Brush 
  • Tape (to connect your side panels into one)
  • Parchment Paper (to protect your work space from glue) 
  • Cutting Board 

If the video is moving a bit too fast for you, here are the steps to making your Organizer:

  1. Remove all interior fabric & panels 
    1. (But hold on to them!) 
  2. Wash Your Hands – These cases have very old fabric that has seen a number of hands. After you remove it be sure to wash your hands before continuing.  
  3. Trace new side panels using old ones. 
    1. I used old file folders. You want something stiff, but flexible. 
    2. Even if your box has separate side panels (like mine) a combined long piece will be easier to assemble. 
    3. If you choose to make one side panel you want to make sure the seams meet head to head. Overlapping will cause unnecessary wear and likely not look as clean
  4. Trace new top & bottom panel pieces onto Foamcore Board or NEW Cardboard
    1. *If your case doesn’t have a hard bottom panel (most don’t) to trace just make two top ones and trim as necessary 
    2. The bottom panel will always be smaller than the top
  5. Cut out your new panels & test
  6. Cut your fabric to size for each of your pieces. 
  7. Glue your fabric down 
    1. I used Mod Podge. Any light adhesive will do. 
  8. Smooth your fabric down 
    1. If your fabric is porous, you might want to dap it with a paper towel to take out excess. 
  9. Fold excess over back sides and glue down. 
  10. Glue your fabric onto your top panel 
    1. For your top & bottom panels fold your edges like a fan and pin down after glueing 
  11. Wrap Elastic Bands around your top panel and secure with pins. 
  12. Hot Glue Bands into place on the backside of the top panel only
  13. Glue Top Panel to your Train Case
    1. I chose to use my Mod Podge for this step because hot glue might cause the panel to sit unevenly
  14. Hot Glue Side Panels
    1. Roll your single panel up and secure one edge on the front inside of the Train Case. You want to keep your seam on the front end because it will be the least seen side of the Train Case 
    2. As you unroll the panel, glue sections of it to the train case interior and press. Continue on until you’ve met your original seam 
  15. Measure Dividers
    1. Determine the depth of the dividers you want. The length of the dividers should be snug to prevent movement in the case
  16. Mark Cross Section
    1. If you measure out the bottom of the case you can plan out your dividers and where they intersect. Mark this location against your cut out dividers 
  17. Cut both intersections to match & test
    1. I used foam board for my dividers just like my top and bottom panels 
  18. Trim, Seperate & Glue fabric on dividers 
    1. Trim the fabric close enough to the foam that you can fold it once and cover the edge. Excess will not be helpful in this area. 
  19. Make a slit in the intersection of the fabric – Do not trim this excess
    1. The small extra fold of the fabric will blend seamlessly when you bring the dividers together.  
  20. Glue and Pin sides of the Dividers
    1. As you glue down the side of the dividers, you need to pin them down. The small flaps of fabric will otherwise pop up. 
  21. Glue on Bottom Panel to your Train case. 
    1. I’ve saved this step to the end incase you need to measure your dividers against this panel
  22. Connect Dividers & place them in your case 
  23. Load your stuff in

And now that you’ve made your handy dandy Festival Organizer, here’s some ideas for your packing list whether you’re out on a camping trip or frolicking with friends at an event. It’s always good to be prepared!

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