Tag: Antique

Vintage Trunk Coffee Table: From Bedraggled to Shabby Chic

I don’t know about you, but I think cruising the Facebook marketplace every now and again is a must. I’m assuming you’re like me in that you want beautiful décor at budget-friendly prices and you’re excited about the challenge of making a piece your own. I’ve found some real gems in the marketplace. When this trunk came across my feed with a $20 price tag, I was immediately sold. Follow along as I convert this bedraggled vintage trunk to a beautiful shabby chic coffee table on wheels.

Vintage Trunk: Starting Condition

In addition to peeling canvas, there were some signature cracks in the top of this trunk. It was a bit sunken in as well. 

Fixing those Cracks

I settled on using some quarter board I had on hand to solve the sunken crack issue. I cut it to size and screwed it to the top with 1/4″ long screws to level out the cracks. It worked like a charm. From there, I peeled the canvas off the outside from most spots. I left a few panels that were intact. 

I used wood filler to fill the cracks and level out some of the few remaining low lying spots. After a good bit of sanding to get it completely smooth, I was ready to paint. 

Fusion Paint for the Win

I had some Inglenook Fusion Mineral Paint from Vintage Finishes from a recent armoire project. It paired well with the wood and metal colors of this vintage trunk. Green painters tape kept them free of paint. I used a paint brush I also purchased from Vintage Finishes for the majority of the painting, but needed to use some small brushes to get the corners and spots around the locks. It was a fairly quick step. I debated doing just one coat but ended up touching it up with a second coat. 

Vintage Trunk in need of paint aging

I had thought the paint would look completely nice as is with the wood, but I ended up feeling it was missing something. It sat for a night and then I decided to use some dark wax I had to age the paint. It could have been accomplished by sanding the paint in areas but with the difference of the canvas in some spots, wood in others, and wood filler in others, I didn’t feel it was an adequate option. For this vintage trunk look, the wax gave it just the right touch.

Inside this Vintage Trunk

The inside of this trunk was not as easy to scrape clean as the outside was to peel off in long strips. I used some special cleaner purchased from door to door sales gals. This stuff has worked some magic on grease and cars. Anyway, I did my best to scrap all the loose bits off to ensure maximum sticking. It’s also important to rub off all the dirt as best you can. There can definitely be a smell, so jump on over to my other post on trunk refinishing for some other tips. 

Wallpaper time

On my previous trunk project, I used a cotton material with glue and Mod Podge. Initially, I thought I would do the same with this vintage trunk, but then, I thought about the recent project I’d done with peel and stick wallpaper. I was sold on the idea of peeling a sticking. After looking at the options, I was fairly certain I would do a flower pattern. Just as I was about to place the order, I found this mandalla like one which really spoke to me for this vintage trunk. I was sad it didn’t have the measurement lines on the back like the last wallpaper I’d used, but I was alright without it. The hardest part was that it was slightly wider and stiffer than needed, so it required some finessing. A long scraper helped with smoothing it out. I did some of this while watching Bride of Boogedy with my kids for Halloween. A childhood favorite movie I couldn’t wait to show my girls. They were annoyed with the sound of the scraping, so I had to put a pause on the progress. I’m pretty smitten with how it turned out!

Easiest Part of the Project

I did a fair bit of searching for vintage wheels that were appealing and affordable. As usual, I landed back on Amazon, where I found these vintage wheels. They came with the screws the perfect length for my project and a screwdriver. I probably could have just screwed them in without drilling a hole but I didn’t. I decided to make my life easier by drilling the holes. In case you would like a tip for this type of thing, use a pencil to mark the holes. Then, remove the wheel to drill the holes. Using a drill to screw in the screws, tighten one screw 3/4 of the way and continue with the rest to ensure they all fit into the holes. Once the screws are all in, tighten them up. Presto! The 5-minute step was done.

Vintage Trunk Ready for Display

I hope you enjoyed the fairly easy project run down. With some muscle put in scraping and some budget friendly purchases, this bedraggled vintage trunk turned into a shabby chic coffee table showcase. 

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Antique Hutch Refinish For an Outstanding Shabby Chic Focal Point

In a random search of the Facebook marketplace, I found this antique kitchen piece for less than $50. I LOVED IT! I find it truly exciting to find these kinds of things, even when I don’t need anything for my own house. Have you found any antique steals yourself?!  This kitchen hutch (as I deemed it) was located near my sister’s house, so after confirming she could pick it up for me, I snatched it up. Then, she lovingly dropped it off at my house for me. I was ready to take on this antique hutch refinish job. 

To do’s for this project:

  • Painting the wood 
  • Buy wood and new drawer handles
  • Cutting new shelves
  • Staining the shelves and the top
  • Cleaning the rust off the metal drawer bin
  • Replacing the metal 
  • Fixing the broken wood


  • Annie Sloan paint: $12 for 4 oz
  • Fusion Paint: ~$22 for 16.9 fl oz
  • Pine board $16
  • 5 drawer handles, $15 
  • Metal sheet, $22
  • Wood Filler $7
  • Drawer/shelf liner (bought for a previous dresser refinish)
  • Time…priceless

Total $84

After having used Fusion paint on several projects, I wanted to give Annie Sloan paint a try with this project to be able to compare the two. I had found an Annie Sloan paint seller nearby at an antique barn sale, so I had gotten a 4 oz bottle of teal (named Provence and number B8100620). The bottle says “Absolutely anyone can use my paint. It’s easy.”

Normally, I’d say you need to sand or strip the wood before painting, but with this one, it wasn’t necessary. I had to fix a few pieces of wood that were loose or broken before painting. After those fixes, I did a single coat of teal on the back and a double coat of white fusion paint on everything else. This was likely the easiest paint refinish I’ve done to date. The single coat of teal was enough coverage to give it more of a rustic look. Of the 4 oz canister I bought, there was about a quarter of it left. I’d say that’s pretty good coverage for that small amount. It also went on smoothly without any brush marks. It was definitely a positive to have an easier paint job for this project given the other tasks needed. Annie Sloan got a thumbs up from me.

A Little Bit of Metal Work

With the top and the legs painted, it was time to start on the metal bins. I’d been told they were used to store flour, but I really couldn’t find any information on the internet to verify that. I would guess they were used to store onions and potatoes but that’s purely based on what I think would make sense to put in there. 

One of the bins was only slightly rusted, but the other side had a hole in it from all the rust. In order to fix this, it was easiest to replace it altogether. I bought a sheet of aluminum from Home Depot to cut to size. In order to get the old metal off, I had to remove the nails holding it in place. It took me quite a bit to push myself to start this task because I thought it was going to be quite difficult. Procrastination really gets me on some projects. It ended up being easier than I had thought, which was fantastic! Be warned that sometimes our fears end up falling flat. 

A little motivation for you…

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

“If you put off everything until you are sure of it, you will never get anything done.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started.”

Dawson Trotman

Adding a friend to the mix

While I was working on the bins, my friend was working on her own dresser refinish with me in my garage. It was cold in there! I was helping her learn the refinishing ropes. Having a buddy definitely makes a project much more socially fun. 

Clean metal bins

Although part of what I love about crafting and woodworking is the solitary nature of it, sometimes it’s really nice to have company. You can still get lost in your own thoughts and mentally working through your own problems, but you also have the opportunity to get feedback on those thoughts. Normally, I do have social engagement even in my garage solitude due to the constant need for ‘mom’. For example, while trying to write this post, I’ve been interrupted no less than a million times from the three kids and husband. 

Anyway, back to business…

I placed the new sheet in place and then nailed it into place with some 1/2 in nails. After it was set in place, I pressed the edge down over the wood and used a hammer to flatten it as flush as possible against the wood. It was complete after that!

Rust, Rust, and more Rust

I used this same tool I had used to cut the metal. It had several different tips and this bristle brush was FANTASTIC at scrubbing off the rust. Since I hadn’t done anything like this before, I was really impressed with how well it worked.

Wood Fixes and Staining

This antique hutch refinish was well on it’s way to being complete. I ended up buying some pine to cut into two shelves because the hutch hadn’t come with all the shelves. The hutch had a removable cutting board that was in need of repair. I used wood filler to fill in the gaps. I did one round of it, let it dry, and then did another layer. If you put too thick of a layer on, it doesn’t seem to dry as well as it should. I’ve learned this from personal experience. I’m glad to fail to help you stay on a successful track on your journey. (Definitely not happy when it happens, but after the moment passes, I can be.)

Shelves cut, stained and ready for placement.

After the wood filler dried, I sanded it and the top smooth to be ready for staining. I employed the services of my oldest to help with applying the dark stain. I used the same stain as for my Paddle Platter

Look at how much she appears to love helping with this…Not at all. After the stain, came the three coats of polyurethane to protect the surface from frequent use. 

Antique Hutch Refinish Final Product

And after all that work and time, it was finally finished and ready for staging. If I had the space, I would love to keep it. Sadly, I don’t, so this beauty is ready for a new owner. 

Hard to see in this photo but there was nice detail on the top border.

I hope you enjoyed the run down of this antique hutch refinish and find it inspiring as you start on your own journey. Happy crafting!

Antique Trunk Refinished into Side Table

I referenced my grandparents in my paddle platter post and plan to include them a bit here as well. Within their property, are several treasure trove sheds I thoroughly enjoy rooting through when I visit. During this particular visit, I found an antique trunk my grandmother said was hers from her younger years. I was ecstatic when she granted me the honor of giving it new life. I had actually been on the lookout for a trunk to use as the coffee table in our living room, so it felt quite serendipitous to come across it.

This old barn holds many memories and treasures. If you find there are barn sales near you, I bet it’s worth a look!
There it was, just sitting there amongst some other trunks.

The Before of the Antique Trunk

My grandmother had painted the trunk at some point, but much of the had worn away over the many years. It was in fair enough shape apart from the broken leather straps and some peeling of the metal.

The inside was covered in old paper and desperately needed to be removed.

Tools to Refinish the Antique Trunk

I went at the project with just a few tools to start cutting away the jagged metal coating on the top and scraping the paint away. These included:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Metal cutters
  • Razor
  • Scraping tools
  • Paint Thinner to clean it up
Simple tools for the antique trunk refinish

The Outside

With tools in hand, it was then time for an intense arm workout.

To start: chipping paint and rusty metal. The scraper and elbow grease got the paint and rust off while the paint thinner was pretty effective at cleaning it up. If you’re not looking to scrap your life away, there are definitely products out there that will make this process of paint removal easier. I typically tend to stick with the least inexpensive route.

I ended up cutting away the entire metal panel to expose the wood underneath as seen in the right photo. I scored the edges with the razor to make it easier to pull up with the pliers and metal cutters. If I were to have gone 100% at it, I would have had to get some new aluminum to replace the metal I had cut away. Given that the metal was textured, it didn’t feel worth the effort to go the extra mile.

Scraping the antique trunk

With every flip of the trunk, there was more and more scraping to do. It felt like it would never end. If I were to do this again, I would choose to go at it with a wire wheel rotating brush to save the soreness in my arms.  

Antique trunk scraped clean
Having scraped off all the chippy paint, I was ready to start painting.

Additional materials

I used two shades of Valspar paint from Lowes to paint the trunk. The lighter brown went on the majority of the metal covering.

Antique trunk painting

I used blue painters tape to cover the freshly painted light brown to be able to paint the wood strips and corners with the dark brown. This color pallet matched with the leather couches in our living room.

Inside the Antique Trunk

The next step was to clean out the inside paper. I used the technique described by Antique Chests and Trunks instructing to spray the insides with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water solution and soaking for 15 minutes. I ended up spraying and soaking it twice with the vinegar/water solution to get the majority of the paper and glue off. It definitely helped with the musty odor. Then I had to start with the scraping again. “When is this going to end?!” was what kept running through my head. Being sick of it doesn’t begin to describe how I felt by the end. I dreaded the continuation of the project.

Antique trunk with cleaned out insides
Antique trunk storage and inside material

Joann Fabrics happened have the perfect material on clearance, which always feels like a huge win. I love finding a deal when I need something (another generational aspect). After I cut the material to size, I used a wide paintbrush to brush Mod podge on the inside of the trunk to get the material to adhere to the wood. 

Another Completed Refinished

Antique trunk finished product

I finished the outside by painting all the gold ascents to include all the many grommets. Tedious doesn’t begin to describe doing that, but I felt it needed the distinction. You can determine what you prefer if doing your own.

With all the scraping, painting and gluing complete, the antique trunk refinish was finished. It now stores a ton of family games that used to be in the unfinished side of our basement.

Antique trunk as coffee table
I took the photos on the wall after we moved into our new house. They were the only things in the room for more than a year as we tried to decide what direction to take the room.
Antique trunk used as side table

I had initially decided it would be a coffee table but ended up preferring it as the side table. If I were to go the extra mile with it, I would buy new leather to replace the missing straps. I didn’t (and still don’t) feel pressed to do that. As you see it here is as it remains.

Antique Trunk Before and After

My husband liked the final look, which is always the true test. I hoped you enjoyed the tutorial! If you’re looking for other refinishing ideas, check out my refinishing page.

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