Antique Trunk Refresh

Antique Trunk Refresh

It’s time for another Thrifty Chicks Challenge! When a talented group of DIY bloggers come together and challenge ourselves to upcycle or create with a theme. This month we are all focusing on globes and maps. Can’t wait to see what everyone’s come up with!

Thrifty Chicks blogger challenge

I’ll have all the links to their projects at the end! Make sure to check out all their amazing creativity!

My project started a year ago!

We inherited a family trunk, which probably came over on a boat from Sweden. Luckily it had been kept in a safe, stink-free closet storage for many years, but the metal parts had gotten rusty. I didn’t want to change it too drastically because it’s a family heirloom. But I  wanted it to be nice enough to be enjoyed in our home and be a suitable place to store all my off-season blankets.

Antique trunk

Rusty hardware like this could be scrubbed with an S.O.S. pad, but I decided to go the easier route and just attack it with my palm sander and some 120 grit.

I honestly love how metal looks once you sand it. All the details of the pretty hinges started to show.

Antique trunk

I also sanded the wood slats smooth and even the fabric inserts, to dislodge some of the loose pieces. I wiped it down, let it dry, and then gave it all a couple coats of spray poly. {See “Wagner Sprayer”} The poly brings out the patina of the metal and brings warm tones to the wood.

Fast forward to our Thrifty Chicks Map/Globe theme…

I’ve been using the trunk for off-season blankets but never finished the inside like I’d wanted. I wanted to decoupage maps inside to bring it back to it’s world traveler roots. (which reminds me of an awesome centerpiece I did with the same theme, centered on a globe, “Centerpiece Challenge: World Traveler”).

Because many times these old trunks don’t look so great inside; this one had some spill stains. So I emptied the quilts and got out my stash of old maps and some Mod Podge.

Mod Podge decoupage medium

Because maps are so big, only brush small sections of the Mod Podge at a time, smoothing the maps as you go.

Decoupaging old maps inside an antique trunk

These old state maps each had their own personality. Some were more green and blue, some more black and white, others quite colorfully pastel. I used all the varieties together and loved the resulting colorful combination.

Decoupaged vintage maps inside an antique trunk.

This is not an exact science. Sometimes you’ll be working around hinges, etc. If you need to patch a spot, go right ahead. I did overlap the corners and then butted the next piece right up to the corner for a seamless look.

Decoupaged maps in an antique trunk.

If you want to seal the maps more and make it wipeable, after the initial dry time has passed, you could brush on a sealing coat of Mod Podge. I just left mine as is.

I wanted the edges to have a finished look and dug around my stash for some burlapy trim or something. No luck. But I did find some zippers I had picked up at a church sale. 1/2 the zipper seemed like a good width, and I thought the metal detail added a little funk to the whole project. I adhered it around the lid and base with tacky glue.

Globe and Map


The trunk will close a little more softly now, too.

Can’t believe I finally got this whole project complete! It only took a year…but isn’t it just like that sometimes?

Refreshed antique trunk


Antique trunk


This oldy still shows it’s history, but I think the makeover was a good thing! I like junky, but want it to be clean, updated and fresh!

Antique trunk


And I can fit a lot of quilts and blankets in here! Plus, it can be extra seating if we need, since it’s got a flat top.

As you can see, I’m a globe and map lover! I’ve got them all over my house, from Origami flowers made with maps {“Origami Flower How-To Make and How To Use“}, to an all-out crazy Christmas display I did last year, centered on my big, antique school map I have hanging in my living room {“Christmas Map Display”}.

Origami flowers made with maps

I guess the insides of the trunk will coordinate beautifully with the rest of my house;)

Do you have a family trunk that could use some refreshing? With a little TLC they can be enjoyed for another 100 years…without having to take an across-the-ocean voyage!


How to Refresh an Antique Trunk Pin


And now to see what my friend’s have come up with for their Thrifty Chicks Globes/Map Challenge…

Here are their befores:

GlobesMap Challenge

  1. Debra at Shoppe No. 5, “I Used a Wooden Platter to Make a Lazy Susan”
  2. Diana at Adirondack Girl at Heart, “Christmas Around the World Star Ornaments”
  3. My Antique Trunk refresh
  4. Marie at Interior Frugalista, “How to Make Wood Slice Map Ornaments”
  5. Tania at Little Vintage Cottage, “Naked Button Globe -A DIY Globe Upcycle”
  6. Tuula at Thrifty Rebel Vintage, “How to Make a Decoupaged Silver Tray Map Table”


Sharing at these lovely parties:

Wow Us Wednesdays

Talk of the Town

To Grandma’s House We Go

Vintage Charm

Friday’s Furniture Fix

Farmhouse Friday

Friday Favorites

Share Your Style

DIY Salvaged Junk Projects


14 thoughts on “Antique Trunk Refresh

  1. This turned out just fantastic. I love how it is a family heirloom so you cleaned up the outside and left as is. But when you open the lid its a wonderful story. And the zipper edging is a great idea to give it even more personality.


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