Being as Harry Potter crazy at our house as we are, our whole family has been looking forward to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them coming out, so I used some of that pent up enthusiasm to make our own magical case. Of course it needed a Muggle-Worthy setting that would only show clothes, and another option for (almost) safely holding all sorts of fantastic beasts. I can't absolutely promise that one won't escape by accident. (I've gotten lots of questions from friends about child appropriateness of the movie now that I've seen it...this cute guy in the picture will be playing with his magical beasts at HOME and will not be seeing the movie in the theater.)
Not knowing exactly what beasts would make an appearance in the movie, I did my best to find realistic looking figures that were as close to possible as creatures from the Harry Potter series. These were ordered from Safari Ltd. They all look amazing...but none of these specific creatures show up in the movie. It seems that they made a deliberate decision to only include beasts of Rowling's own invention in this movie, so unless you're crafting your own creatures, you may need to stick to some of these more traditional ones. I used:
- Dragon (I used the Forest Dragon, but there are lots of dragon varieties to choose from.)
- Thestral (It's actually marketed as "Midnight Pegasus" but for me it's a thestral.)
- Unicorn. (Not too happy about the flowers on it...but it was the best I could find.
- If you're looking for smaller versions or some stocking stuffer fantastic beasts, you can also buy a TOOB of tiny creatures similar to these.
The most difficult piece of this project to track down was the vintage suitcase. But between checking thift stores and vintage shops or searching Etsy or eBay, you're likely to find one so suit your needs.
Here's what you'll need to make your own:
- 1 Vintage Suitcase - I found mine on Etsy at SixPenceMoon and she does seem to have one more although it looks a bit different.
- 6+ Magical Creatures.
- 3" Foamology Cushion Foam or Craft foam from Fairfield World the size of your suitcase.
- Stiffen Interfacing from Fairfield World (Piece to fit dimentions of case.) I used cushion foam because I had it on hand, but craft foam would also work in this case.
- Approx. 1/2 Yard of Cloud Spa Cuddle in Navy from Shannon Fabrics. You need quite a bit more fabric than the size of the suitcase because you're going to be dipping it down into the holes and tucking it in the sides.
- 1/2 yard cotton fabric in a brown tone.
- Hot Glue Gun and glue
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing Machine and thread optional, but not necessary.
- Pen for marking
Note about fabric: I chose fabric colors to match Newt's suit and vest as best I could to give more spirit from the movie.
Start by tracing the size/shape of your suitcase onto the foam. Cut just inside your lines. Lots of people say using an electric carving knife if best for cutting foam, but I don't have one and my good bread knife works just fine. You want some serrated.
Check the fit. The awesome thing about foam is that it's squishy.
Check the fit of your animals. We had room for 6 magical creatures. Depending on the size of your case and size of your creatures, you might be able to fit more.
Using a small cerrated knife, dig out the foam to roughly fit the shape of your creatures. This is a bit tough and WILL look UGLY, but don't worry. It will look awesome when covered with your fabric.
Lay your fabric over it, push it deep into the holes.
Trim off extra leaving a couple inches to each side for tucking in.
Kinda makes you jealous of the beasts that they get all that soft snuggly coziness, huh?
You could stop here as the divider flap isn't necessary, but I wanted someway to give the case a Muggle-Worthy setting, so we could add clothes and make it look "regular." I chose a tan brown fabric for this to match Newt's outfit, but you could try matching it more closely to the case as well.
Trace the suitcase shape onto your piece of stiff. Cut 1/8 inch or so INSIDE your line and test the fit. Trim an necessary. You want it to cover the space without interfering with closure.
If you don't mind doing a little sewing...Iron your piece of stiffen onto your divider fabric. Then layer on top of your cuddle fabric with soft side UP.
Then stitch just to the side of the Stiffen, so you're just stitching through fabric. (Most sewing machines are capable of sewing through Stiffen just fine, but we don't want to worry about Stiffen in the seam allowance. Trim and clip curves LEAVING A COUPLE INCHES of the cuddle fabric at the top.
Turn right side out. Either stitch or glue the raw edge of the top fabric underneath the stiffen.
Remove the foam from your suitcase temporarily to give you a clear space for gluing. Heavily add hot glue to the back of your case and use the extra flap of cuddle fabric to secure it. be sure to glue right up to where you want it to stay attached.
And you can close your flap and add clothes. My particular suitcase is on the small side for a real suitcase, so it looked best with my 4-year-old's clothes inside.
If you want to make your own fleece scarf in Newt Scamander's Hufflepuff colors, you can use my Hogwarts House Scarf Tutorial here, or I also Newt Scamander scarves in my Etsy Shop here.
If you want more DIY projects from Harry Potter's magical world, you can check out my Harry Potter page here for most of my links...there's actually around 40 now.