Since I saw Newt Scamander’s suitcase for the first time in the cinema, I knew I had to get my hands on one or make one for my collection of wizarding objects. If you follow me on twitter and Instagram, you may have noticed that I started my first attempt by buying an old suitcase that matched the characteristics of the prop and tried to add the missing details in order to make it more magical. But after working on it for a few days I realized that, as I saw it happening at the WB studios during my stay in the prop making department, If I wanted it to be as accurate as possible, I’d have to make it myself from scratch.
I began, as I often do, by finding as many images of the original prop as possible and researching how the object would be made if it were real.
To start I got a few meters of faux leather and some greyboard. I made a template out of card based on the old suitcase I bought and checked the dimensions, and that everything fitted together correctly. From the card templates I constructed the body of the suitcase using laminated layers of greyboard. I glued the faux leather to the greyboard and cut out the holes for the latches. Once I’d covered the base and lid with the faux leather I added the trim. (I stitched the trim by hand, using two needles. I used a punch to mark the holes for the stitches.)
After finishing the faux leather work, I recovered the handle with real leather, coloured and aged it. The corner pieces are also made from real leather which I cut and shaped by hand. Then I added the metallic fittings, which I kept from the old suitcase I bought.
I used leather paint to make every piece look the same and disguise the faux leather to make it look real, and to give the whole thing a harmonious look. I aged it with several layers of acrylic. I also hit it and scratched it with various things.
Finally I joined the lid and base, and lined the inside with the fabric.
Now it’s time to fill it in, and I already have most of the items shown in the scene where Newt opens the suitcase at the customs desk in the port of New York. As soon as I finish dressing it I will share pictures of it, which will include the process of making the pyjamas by hand.
Check the gallery to see more pictures of the process of making the suitcase.