Skip to Content

My Weekend Trunk Redo

My husband gets his hair cut every two weeks. I love to go along because there is a Habitat for Humanity shop right across the street. He gets his hair cut and I find a weekend redo project. So, on Friday I found an old trunk. It was actually there last time I went, and I left without it because I wasn’t sure what I could do with it. This week I walked in and it was right up front calling my name. I snagged it for $15.

As you can see it was pretty beat up. One of the stickers on the side said ‘1977’ so it has seen better days. I sprayed it down with goo gone (which didn’t do much) and then lightly sanded it all over. Then I decided to use some of the leftover paint from my Bathroom Redo project to paint the trunk. It is a blue/mint sort of color.  After painting the trunk it looked to clean and fresh. It needed a little character, so I took some stain Mike had in the garage and applied it around the edges. Then I quickly wiped it off with an old t-shirt for a subtle look.


thrift trunk redo


I’m pleased with it! In the end I purchased some polycrylic for $8.50, so the whole project cost less than $25. The best part is that it would make great toy or blanket storage! It will make the perfect coffee table for now. I like to test furniture in a few different spots before deciding on it’s permanent place.


Carolyn Villines

Friday 29th of October 2021

Hi Kelsey. I have an old army trunk from the early 1940's. It looks identical to your trunk. Hinges and lock are the same. I had covered it with contact paper about 50 years ago, so I stripped it all down. It appears that the top & sides are cardboard, and the black edging is also thick cardboard? I was disappointed that I would not end up with wood to refinish. I thought I could find some thin cedar veneer, especially for the inside. Any ideas? Did you keep all the same trim edging and hinges? I would really appreciate your help and ideas. This belonged to my father, so it has a lot of sentimental value. Thank you so much for your help.


Sunday 7th of November 2021

Mine was a thin wood inside and hard to redo so I didn't do anything to it. However I did see where people cut thin wood or cardboard to sized and wrapped it in fabric and then attached it to the inside of the trunk to make it look very nice. I did keep everything the same as far as the edging and the hinges.


Friday 23rd of September 2016

Adorable! You've inspired me to tackle one I bought months ago! Thanks!


Thursday 3rd of September 2015

Hi Kelsey! What kind of paint would you recommend if I'm turning this into a coffee table? I see some of your projects you use chalk paint vs regular wall paints... Any tips on the type to look for? Thanks!


Friday 4th of September 2015

Hey Merli! I used two coats of latex on this and then two coats of polycrylic and it held up really well considering we used it as a coffee table with two toddlers! If you already have the paint great but if not I would just grab one or two sample sizes of the color in latex because they are only a few dollars and just enough for this sort of project. The sample will be a flat finish but the polycrylic will give it a satin finish in the end :)

A Dash of Sarah

Monday 29th of September 2014

Great job! I can't believe you snagged this at only $15!!! Our community has wised up to the up-cycling crafters around here... most trunks go for $50 around here! I've got a question: how did you avoid painting all the gold accents and all metal parts of the trunk? Did you tape them off? I have a trunk similar to this and want to paint it white, but would love to leave the rusted gold for some character.


Monday 29th of September 2014

Hey Sarah! Yes, I used painter's tape :)


Sunday 17th of August 2014

I have a trunk that looks like is made of the same material as yours. Did you use a certain kind of paint to paint it? I kinda think if I used just any paint, it would peel. But I'm not sure! :)

Comments are closed.