Monday, March 21, 2011

My Antique Trunk Transformation

I love digging around at estate sales and auctions. I acquired this beauty from one such event.
This is the 'after' picture. Warm and beautiful.

 Here it is before the transformation - flat, cold, plain jane.

 Inside before the transformation -
This one was in very good structural shape and I could see promise. I really liked the leather corners as opposed to the metal that most trunks have. To begin the transformation, I took a utility knife and carefully cut each canvas panel. (The brown area between the leather and wooden stays.) After cutting it, it had to be peeled up with a stiff scraper. I don't have any pictures of the process but let's just say, it's painstaking! The brown canvas leaves behind a hard glue layer. After the canvas was removed, I took the trunk outside and began using the garden hose and a stiff scrub brush. This got most of the glue off. The rest I sanded off. I sanded the whole trunk down (except the hard leather corners). I wish I had some between pictures to show you but unfortunately, I don't. I then chose a warm brown stain and covered the whole thing. Finally, I gave it several coats of polyurathane. I recommend satin finish to keep the old look.

 I was able to keep the original handles - they are mostly intact.

 The metal banding on the lid and the corner/edge brackets I left alone other than coat them with poly. They were a nice brown and blended well with the trunk after I put the stain on. If they're rusty, some people opt to paint them. Personally, I think that makes it look too 'new'.

To finish off the inside, I chose an 'antiquey' looking fabric. First I took poster board and cut a piece the size of each panel. Then, using spray glue, I put quilt batting on each piece - trimming the edges carefully. Finally, I cut the fabric for each piece, leaving a 2 - 3 inch margin around each poster board piece. Next, I laid the fabric piece face-down on my work surface. On top of that, I laid the poster board piece batting side down. Working one side, then the opposing side, I wrapped the 'margin' around behind and glued to the poster board. I did this to every panel. Now I'm ready to insert the panels into the trunk. Using a heavy duty glue, I glued the back of each panel and put in place inside the trunk. I did one side at a time and laid out heavy books evenly over it all to hold in place until the glue was dry. I did this until each surface inside was lined.

Edited to add: This lining that you see is actually the second lining for this trunk since I've had it. I changed my mind on the first fabric I lined it with and had my Mom redo it in this fabric.

 Finally, a few more photos....

 Come back tomorrow for a peek into my Victorian Room.

Linking this post to Between Naps On The Porch - Metamorphasis Monday,  Debbiedoo's Newbie party,  DIYbyDesign's Swing Into Spring Party, and Vintage Furniture party @ Three boys


  1. WOW!!! You did an amazing job! My parents have several trunks that they've redone and I have a couple that I haven't redone... But I love trunks and can definitely appreciate your talent in refinishing this!

    I'm here from Debbiedoo's party. I hope you'll come visit me too.

    Have a great day.

  2. That is an amazing find in such perfect condition. It looks super heavy. Thanks for joining my newbie party. Welcome to blogging. I look forward to seein you on Mondays and watching your grow and makes some new friends.

  3. So beautiful! I would love to have a trunk like that. It reminds me of one my mother had when I was very young-I remember her telling me to stay out of it. I'm your newest follower-visit me at Brambly, I would love to hear from you. Good luck with your blog-I'm new to this world too. Take care.


  4. I adore what you've done with this trunk...gorgeous!

  5. hiya i am visiting from debbies newbie party xwow i love what you did with the chest it looks like a lot of work but sooo worth it when you see results like yours x i am going to have a look around your blog x maybe iw will see you at mine soon x

  6. That trunk is really gorgeous. Just awesome. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I am following you back. I hope you come back tonight after 8pm EST and join in the party with this post.

  7. That was a big project. You did a beautiful job. I'm a new follower.

  8. I am so glad you stopped by and linked up this awesome post to my Swing into Spring party.

  9. wow!!! it looks gorgeous! the wood looks so beautiful!!

  10. What an amazing transformation! Love the look of your trunk now.

  11. Holy cow! Your trunk looks like a million bucks! Aawesome transformation!

  12. I absolutely would love to have that trunk!! lol There is the perfect spot in my house for that! You did such a beautiful job!

    I am here from Sarah's Link up Party {Vintage Furniture Party}


  13. Ohhh!! I have a trunk I totally need to do this to!! So pumped to see how well it turned out for you :)

  14. Great job WOW!!
    I have an old trunk that is covered in canvas and I started removing the canvas from the top and than stopped. You have re-inspired me to finish it!!

  15. Found you via Three Boys link party. This looks beautiful! You did a great job with it inside and out :)


Thanks for taking the time to make my day with your comments!