Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to revive an antique trunk

So I promised you a post about my antique trunk that is currently serving as my wrapping paper station.

Back in September of 2009, I went estate sale shopping with my mom for some basic furniture for my first apartment! (You know we all need to start out that way!) I was fortunate to receive lots of hand-me-down furniture, but I didn't really have any place to sit in my apartment. So off we went... and I found a couch, a swivel chair, and a loveseat. I had had my heart set on a trunk as a coffee table so that it could have double functionality by providing storage for me. As we were checking out at the estate sale, I saw it..... a trunk.... a HUGE trunk that just needed a little love. For about $37.50 it was mine....ALL MINE!!! And I had huge plans for it.

When I got it back to my parents' house (I hadn't moved out yet), I cleaned it up and set to work on making that baby sing!

Here's the plain ol' brown before. This picture is actually it upside down because it was pre-blogging days where I try to take pictures of everything! But this is what the trunk looked like all over.

I made a quick trip to the used bookstore around the corner to see if they had any old maps. I found a beautiful 1970's map of the Grand Canyon. It was perfect! But it wasn't enough to cover this behemoth. So I started poking around the National Geographic magazines from the 1940's and 1950's. In the front and back few pages, I found old travel ads that were PERFECT! So I bought 8 or 9 of them along with the maps, and then headed to Barnes and Noble to see if they had any map calendars. They did! I bought 2 mini calendars - Old World Paris and Old World Maps.

The next few days consisted of cutting, arranging, and mod-podging all of the beautiful pictures into place. I had to use an exact-o knife to get the pictures to fit around the metal latches perfectly. It took me several hours to finish this project, but it was SO WORTH IT!

Here are a few pictures of the finished trunk:



Other side:


And a few details of some of my favorite aspects:

And my absolute favorite: "SURPRISE awaits you in South Africa!" (I wonder why....)

I'm linking up with:


  1. Clever! I love the idea of using maps.. I never would have thought of old National Geographics. What a conversation piece!

  2. This could be one of my all time favorite projects. I've dreamed of owning a trunk since high school - yet I'm so particular that I've never found one to quite suit me for a price I'm willing to pay.

    Also, I love maps.

    Great project.

  3. that is such a fun idea! thanks so much for sharing at my party!

  4. You did a great job! It is such a pretty and unique piece.

  5. Looks great! I have a plastic trunk I inherited upon marriage. Perhaps I should make it look cool like this!