When I came up with the idea for Read and Rise Global Explorers, I was thinking about those world subscription boxes like Little Passports...

DIY Cardboard Shoebox Suitcase


When I came up with the idea for Read and Rise Global Explorers, I was thinking about those world subscription boxes like Little Passports and Little Global Citizens. Both of those are super cute and Lil C absolutely loved getting a new package in the mail (she'd been gifted 6 months of Little Passports for a birthday). However, I know subscription boxes can get pricey - especially if you have multiple children - and not everyone can afford them. So I wanted to create something that could be done with virtually any budget, utilizing library books, video read alouds, and printables to help you and your children explore various countries around the world! But the first things we needed were a suitcase and a passport! You can get the printable passport in the post for "My Granny Went to Market," but just keep reading to find out how to turn a simple shoebox into a suitcase!

For this project, almost any cardboard shoebox can be used, but the easiest are ones where the lid is attached to the base. If you only have boxes with separate lids, you'll have to snip two of the corners and glue one of the long flaps to the base so you can open it like a suitcase. After that the instructions will be the same for both kinds of boxes.

Supplies needed:
- cardboard shoebox
- scrap pieces of corrugated and thin (like cereal box) cardboard
- 2 small brads (paper fasteners)

1. Open up all the flaps on the shoebox and reassemble it inside out so the outside of your suitcase is a solid plain color.

Box open

Box closed

2. Cut a 3/4"x4" piece of corrugated cardboard and a 2.5"x10" piece of thin cardboard. You're going to wrap the small piece in the large piece to create a handle. To make sure everything's centered, draw lines at 3" and 7" and place your small piece in between those lines. Then mark lines on either side of your small piece so you know where to fold in the next step. (Fyi, don't do what I did, mark your lines on the patterned side of your cardboard not the plain.)

4. Fold along the long lines you made in the last step. I always use a ruler to help make long straight folds.

5. Place your small piece inside and fold the cardboard around it, gluing it shut. Fold the sides up.

6. An inch and a half from each end, fold the cardboard in the opposite direction as shown below.

7. Make a small hole in the middle of each end flap (I used a very small Phillips screwdriver).

8. Attach to the middle of the front side of the shoebox using the two brads (it doesn't have to be exactly precisely in the middle, but doing some loose measurements will help it not be lopsided).

9. To create the latch that will hold the suitcase closed, you'll need 4 more pieces of corrugated cardboard. The long piece should be as tall as your box and about 3/4" wide. The other long piece should be about 3/4"x4" and the two short pieces will be about 3/4"x3/4" (if mine don't look square it's because I didn't actually measure...)

10. Glue the long strip to the inside of the lid.

11. Glue the two small pieces to the ends of the 4" strip.

12. Glue the 4" strip at the bottom of the box over the long strip. The vertical strip will slide underneath the horizontal strip and keep the suitcase closed while you're carrying it. 

Now you're ready to decorate your suitcase and come travel with us! 

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