Asked on Jun 24, 2013

Painting a 1890 Blanket Box

Cheryl Barclay AngletonSugar and SpiceLaurie Harry


The little cottage needs some blanket storage and a coffee table. So I went on the hunt for a old blanket box. The local antique dealer was holding a moving sale. I found this awesome 1890 blanket box to meet my needs. I think the box is pine but will have a friend confirm.

I would like to strip the top and bring it back to it's natural wood and paint the bottom white, possibly distressing it (which I've never done). There are only 2 layers of old, old paint on it.

Your suggestions of how to clean, stripe and paint it are most welcome.

I found a little rosary crucifix under the wallpaper lining that I removed. I think it was all meant to be.
1890 Crude Blanket Box
1890 Blanket box with Candle holder
Hopeful outcome
10 answers
  • Cynthia
    on Jun 24, 2013

    Would look nice. You could always stencil a design on the sides or top.

  • Miriam I
    on Jun 24, 2013

    I'm tagging @SheilaG, Plum Doodles - she's awesome at this. :) great find, btw!

  • Larose LoganOakes
    on Jun 24, 2013

    Don't be upset if you cannot recreate your antique exactly like the pic because if yours could tell stories I am sure that it would have many to tell.It has lived a long life.I don't know very much about redoing furniture so I will leave that to the pros on HT. But I do think that with a lot of elbow grease and some new hardware and moulding or trim as it were and a butcher block top you might get what you are hoping for.Best of luck to you on your journey!:)

  • Larose LoganOakes
    on Jun 25, 2013

    You might find this stuff to be helpful.

    q painting a 1890 blanket box, painting
  • Carol Oswald
    on Dec 22, 2014

    (I am not a paint hater) :). However, I honestly would not paint the bottom if I was going to do a white distressed finish. It has a distressed, aged patina you could never replicate. I would clean it well and seal it and keep the bottom finish as is. I agree with another commenter that you could add the trim like the inspiration piece has and that would bring it up a notch. Have fun re-finishing it, whatever you decide. It will be Amazing. You have quite a nice piece of history there.

    • Dee Corns
      on Jan 4, 2015

      I wouldn't paint either. I have painted in the past wood has its own beauty, sometimes it needs refreshing a bit!

  • Casita
    on Apr 15, 2015

    Make sure it is not full of lead paint. If so then send it out to be stripped. Lead paint dust can hurt you and any other folks in the house. Then refinish it with a stencil design on top and a new shiny brass lock and then get the key and put an elegant tassle on it.

  • Pam Walker
    on Jan 3, 2016

    I would remove the lid from the trunk (IF you're very slow & careful, it should just unscrew easily) & strip & sand the top & restain it & revarnish it. I would prime the bottom part of the trunk & repaint it. Once everything dries, reassemble it & it should look like your ""hopeful outcome"" pic. GOOD LUCK!

  • Laurie Harry
    on May 31, 2016

    I have a very similar box that I'm interested in knowing how to strip it as well. It looks more like a military trunk that's been painted several times. How can you tell if something has asbestos?

  • Sugar and Spice
    on Jun 1, 2016

    It was nasty to strip because it was original milk paint. I used a harsh stripper and scrapped off gooey paint and product like the bacon grease in a pan. Then I wiped it down with a cloth and sanded and then applied the stripper again, repeating this process. I was able to strip the top and gave up. I milk painted the entire box a slate blue with antiquing white. Turns out it smelled like horses. I think it was used as a barn blanket box. So I cleaned the interior with a wood cleaner and painted the interior as well. Three years later, the smell is gone.

  • Cheryl Barclay Angleton
    on Sep 2, 2016

    I would have left the Crucifix where it was there for a reason, just my thought is all! If thats the box finished you did an amazing job! :)

Your comment...