A Shabby Chic Trunk

As young kids, my brother Alex and I would always try to get our mom to open up the "treasure chest" in my parents room. We never really knew what would lay underneath the heavy cedar chest lid that day; a new toy, vintage clothes, souvenirs from past trips to Germany, or remnant items from our childhood.  It was usually whenever we had been well-behaved for sometime that mom would surprise us by asking..."who wants to see what's in the treasure chest?" I still like looking through the chest to see my old baby clothes, my parents grade school pictures, and anything else sentimental that my parents kept.

So obviously I've always wanted my own chest or trunk of my own.

I decided that by buying a trunk that could be used in my wedding as a card box and for keepsakes afterwards would justify the purchase.  Not having the budget to buy the same kind of chest my mother had, I decided to find something smaller and rustic. I loved the structure of this trunk, but decided it needed to be refinished before displayed at the wedding. 

And the sanding began...

It didn't take long for me to get down to this blue paint and then discover that someone had written an address in black permanent marker on the natural wood! It was actually really fun sanding and trying to decipher what was underneath all this layers. 

Thanks to my co-worker I didn't have to hand sand the rest of it the second time around. I then promptly added a power sander to the registry...I'm envisioning a lot more projects like these. :)

The finished trunk! 

So do you guys like it?

I'm so happy how it turned out and can't wait to use it for the wedding.
I've been quite enamored with the whole shabby chic effect; hence the distressed look.

Here is what you need to get this look:
old trunk - or new
sand paper - high grit
power sander to make the job easier
primer - I used Behr white paint and primer in one (sample size)
paint - I used Martha Stewart Sea Glass (sample size)
new screws or hinges if unusable
cork board tiles
foam board
 glue - I used gorilla glue

I first sanded most of the two layers of paint (and permanent marker) off, put down a coat of primer, one coat of sea glass paint and then another coat of my white primer/paint. These coats took a while to dry, so over that waiting period I repainted the hinges and replaces the screws since most of them were stripped. I also used some leather conditioner on the strap. Once the trunk was dry, I then undid some of my precious work by sanding off random areas. Definitely sand all corners or areas where natural wear would occur.
To make the trunk a little bit more unique I added cork board to the inside. Since the tiles weren't that thick, I added foam board first, then cut the titles to the appropriate fit.

Now you are probably wondering why I would put cork board on the inside of a trunk...Well the trunk will be left open during my wedding for cards to be left in and I wanted to utilize the inside lid to display pictures, notes, and a "card box" sign. I got the inspiration to do this from one of our wedding photographers, Mae! Check out her cork board DIY here.

I love creating and watching my work unfold.  I could definitely see myself refinishing lots of older pieces in the future.  Speaking of future...we recently put an offer in on a house and it was accepted today!
We are hoping to close after the wedding, so nothing is official yet, but I'm so excited about the potential of this house and what these hands can create in it.


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13 Responses to A Shabby Chic Trunk

  1. 1. your trunk is beautiful. all your hard work paid off! can't wait to see it in person!
    2. i have already expressed it but i am SO HAPPY for you and zach. what an exciting time in your lives!

  2. The color you chose is so pretty and perfect. It'd make such a nice end table or something if you could find similar smaller ones and stack them. I've always wanted to do something like that with vintage suitcases. Chests are pretty similar :D

  3. i love it, kate! where did you find the original trunk??

  4. It looks great, you did a wonderful job on it (and hooray for power tools on the registry!). That'll be such a fun touch of your personality at the wedding and seems like a great keepsake. You're making me want to run out and do my own projects!

  5. Your trunk look gorgeous, love the sanded down color and your idea of putting a cork board inside. :)

    The Cat Hag

  6. Ohh I like that idea Lea! Thanks! :)

  7. Thanks Kayley! I got it from Estate Sales Warehouse which is right off of 28th street by Best Buy...lots of random stuff, but if you look hard enough there are some treasures in there!

  8. Love it! Nice work, Kate. :)

  9. wow. great job i love the color you choice. i like that the outside is not perfectly painted but the inside is :) its nice

  10. great truck! im impressed... love that its not fully painted on the outside but is in the inside... its nice :)

  11. I adore old trunks, and this one looks fabulous! I love the idea of the pinboard inside the lid, too!

  12. Hi my name is steph and i am a bride to be as well. I just found your blog and I can tell you I am in love. I want to hear more about your wedding. It sounds beautiful.

    PS. by the way I love your trunk.

  13. Thanks Steph! That means a lot to me. :) Feel free to shoot me an email if you need any wedding tips or other blog/websites to help you in your wedding planning journey; love to help out in anyway!


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