Travel Trunk to Stellar Storage

3 Materials
$75
2 Days
Easy

The idea of incorporating family heirlooms into your home appeals to a lot of people. A mix of old and new décor can actually work very well together to create a space that is warm and inviting with a comfortable lived-in look. Woodcraft’s graphic designer Tara Piggott reimagined a travel trunk built by her grandfather into a beautiful storage trunk for her home.

Before
Before

Travel trunks—wooden crates often covered with leather, animal hide or embossed tin—were a way for early Americans to carry belongings when traveling. Tara’s grandfather built this trunk for his sons (her father and uncle) to use during their travels on their Boy Scout trips out west in the ‘60s. Let’s see how she transformed it.

Taking hardware off
Taking hardware off

1.      Remove hardware.

Using a small screwdriver, the hardware was removed and set aside. Tara wanted to maintain the authenticity of the piece so she chose to re-use the original vintage hardware. However, she had her husband sandblast it to regain the shine.

Clean surface thoroughly
Clean surface thoroughly

2.      Clean trunk surface.

Due to the age of the trunk and the fact that it had been in storage for some time, it needed a good cleaning before paint or stain could be applied. Krud Kutter and Star Wipers did the trick. 

Custom color created with BDS paint
Custom color created with BDS paint

3.      Mix custom color.

Tara mixed her own custom paint color using Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint. Using 2 parts Dirt, 2 parts Patinio Greenio and 1 part Go Green, she created this beautiful fresh shade of green to complement her décor. 

Goodbye, orange!
Goodbye, orange!

4.      Paint outside.

She painted over the outside of the trunk with her new shade, using a round Black Dog Salvage furniture brush for a smooth finish. 

GF Black Cherry Stain on the inside
GF Black Cherry Stain on the inside

5.      Paint inside.

Tara wanted to spiff up the inside as well so she chose a black cherry water-based stain from General Finishes, which she applied liberally with a foam brush. The stain soaked into the wood and particle board leaving a warm, rich tone on the inside of the trunk. 

Brush on glaze, then remove excess
Brush on glaze, then remove excess

6.      Apply glaze effect.

To add a darker green aged effect on the trunk, Tara mixed some General Finishes Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects and Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint Go Green to get the shade she liked. She then wet distressed with that mixture, brushing it on with a chip brush and wiping off the excess. 

7.      Add legs.

The original trunk did not have legs but Tara planned to use it for storage like a little bench. It took several tries to find the right legs, but she ended up with a set of 6” chunky wood ones that she liked. She attached those to the bottom four corners of the trunk. She also reattached the hardware. 

Travel trunk reimagined into storage
Travel trunk reimagined into storage

Here is the completed trunk decorated in a vintage-style Christmas vignette. 


How wonderful to be able to enjoy a piece of furniture from the past in a new setting! Treasures like this hold even more special meaning if they are from your own family. Tara’s grandfather had a woodworking shop in his basement where he would build and repair all sorts of items over the years. She was able to keep some special pieces made by him, including an end table, a sideboard and a desk and chair.

Suggested materials:

  • Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint  (Woodcraft)
  • General Finishes Van Dyke Brown Glaze  (Woodcraft)
  • Brushes, rags, etc.  (On hand)

Top Hometalk Projects

14 DIY Hacks to Stay Clean While Camping
30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
30 Reasons We Can’t Stop Buying Michaels Storage Crates
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
17 DIY Projects You Can Start And Finish Tonight
17 DIY Projects You Can Start And Finish Tonight
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
30 Essential Hacks For Cleaning Around Your Home
13 Essential Repair Tricks That Everyone Needs To Know
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
The Easiest Ways to Grow a Bumper Crop of Tomatoes
21 Ways to Have More Polka Dots in Your Life
Lori Haught Harper

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Go

Have a question about this project?

Join the conversation

Your comment...