Upcycled Trunk Coffee Table DIY

Upcycled Trunk Coffee Table DIY (1).jpg

I'm always spotting steamer trunks at flea markets and in vintage shops, so I decided to pick one up and upcycle my newly acquired vintage trunk into a coffee table. here's how I did it.

To make an upcycled trunk coffee table you'll need:

  • A stiff brush/ wire brush
  • Sandpaper - course and fine grade
  • Chalk paint or furniture paint in your chosen colour
  • Clear indoor varnish
  • Paint brush
  • Newspaper/ dust sheet
  • Masking tape
 Vintage, weathered trunk with wooden bands - Upcycled Trunk Coffee Table DIY

Vintage, weathered trunk with wooden bands - Upcycled Trunk Coffee Table DIY

1)  Clean up

Firstly, give your vintage trunk a good brush down and hoover out. There were few few travel stickers stuck to the outside of my trunk which would have been lovely to keep had they been in better condition but I made the decision that they were far gone to save, so I scratched them off with a stiff brush. Inside I also found an article on the minimum wage, things were different back then.

[Side note] The article on the changes to the minimum wage in Worcestershire shows separate bands for men and women; which was interesting and made me think about the gender pay gap that we have now. Perhaps seeking to do your own thing and doing what you love is even more important for women, so that we can be more in control of what we earn - but, that's a debate for another day.

After a thorough clean up it will already look a lot better. If your trunk has lovely vintage travel stickers on the outside which are salvageable you can keep those on and paint around them at the later steps.

 The Minimum wage - new order for Worcestershire found in a vintage trunk

The Minimum wage - new order for Worcestershire found in a vintage trunk

2) Sanding (I know it's boring but it'll be worth it!)

Next, get to work sanding all of the wooden parts. I also sanded the metal bits with a really fine sandpaper and it turned out that they were a super-shiny, if battered copper. Definitely worth the extra sanding effort.

 Vintage trunk sanded down ready for painting - Upcycled Trunk Coffee Table DIY

Vintage trunk sanded down ready for painting - Upcycled Trunk Coffee Table DIY

3) Boring bit over, now time to paint!

Cover all of the wooden and leather parts with masking tape (plus any other areas you might not want to paint).

Using furniture paint or chalk paint give your trunk a couple of coats - leaving it to dry in between. Once it's dry remove the masking tape.

4) Finishing touches

Finally, give the whole trunk (including the wooden, metal and leather parts two coats of clear varnish, leaving the varnish to dry before the next coat. This is pretty essential for protecting it once it becomes your coffee table.

And now you have a brand new coffee table, better put the kettle on and get a brew on the go!

If you've caught the upcycling bug, check out my Country & Seasonal posts for more upcycling tutorials. And don't forget to share your upcycling projects with me on Instagram

 Upcycled steamer trunk painted with french grey chalkpaint

Upcycled steamer trunk painted with french grey chalkpaint

 Antique trunk upcycled into a coffee table

Antique trunk upcycled into a coffee table

 Tea and cake on an upcycled trunk coffee table

Tea and cake on an upcycled trunk coffee table