1. A hard shell suitcase (thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales are the best)
2. Table leg top plates - 4 (like these)
3. Table legs - 4 of your choice (these are super cheap and could easily be dressed up or left plain)
5. Very short screws - I needed 16 but it depends on your top plates. The length also depends on your suitcase. Don't rely on any that come with the top plates because they are made for much thicker bases. If you're a really cool kid, just take your suitcase to the store with you and hold screws up to the edge to test it. I'm sure the people at the hardware store have seen crazier things. I speak from experience when I warn that getting screws that are even just a little too long means they will poke through the top which can scratch you, ruin the suitcase, or at the very least make it super wobbly. It's a small, but important detail.
Make sure the suitcase opens to be a flat surface before you try to use it as a table. Once you have all the materials, the first thing you need to do is the use the screwdriver to attach the top plates in the corner of the suitcase. If yours has a rounded edge like mine, the plate should go just before it starts to curve and instead of flush against the outside edge. Its' a good idea to keep your other hand, or at least a finger, or the outside of the suitcase so you can feel if the screw starts to poke through. No bueno.
After your top plate is secure, screw in the table legs. Flip the table over and you're done! It should take you a grand total of 20 minutes to make.
My suitcase was from an estate sale on the side of the interstate (the $4 donation) and the table legs/hardware were generously provided by friends who collect antiques some of which are not always in the best of shapes and can be used for parts. The moral of the story is: always ask around. Who knows what you might find!
The best thing about this table is that when I moved, it was easy to unscrew that table legs but leave the top plates on, then shove curtains, pictures, and anything else that belonged in the living room inside. It was like creating a living room decorating kit, contained in a pop up coffee table. Cheap and functional. Who could ask for anything more?
In the Montana Apartment:
In the South Carolina apartment:
PSS. I'm struggling with blog worthy photos! Any advice is greatly appreciated!