Introduction: Beauteous Repurposed Trunk- on the Cheap!

About: SAHM with a penchant for productivity, yet never more than a few animal friends or Dollar Tree shopping sprees away from a reality show.

Ever seeking the best way to organize my endless piles of papers, I saw a neat office in a trunk type thing by Martha Stewart, and set out to emulate it.  BUT- a) I *hate* hanging files with a passion, and 2) the trunk I have isn't tall enough anyway.  SO- I endeavored to find a good use for this awesome trunk.

In musing over how I wanted to decorate it, use it, and frame some art I had bought from eBay and not framed yet, the light bulb came on, and my new trunk was born!

Step 1: Assemble the Materials:

  • Wooden trunk/box (I got mine from Freecycle!)
  • Art work (in this case, 3 panel piece bought from Ebay for less than $10))
  • Contact Cement (got at Walmart)
  • High Gloss poly or laquer or other preferred clear coat (got mine at Walmart, could have gotten from FC or the paint sharing thing at the dump, but was too impatient)
  • Rollers, brushes, acetone/stripper (had on hand)
  • Well ventilated area
  • Paper or drop cloth for work area (had on hand)
  • Scissors/seam ripper (couldn't find my exacto knife!)

Total cost of materials:  $20 (could have been free, cheaper, or more expensive, depending)

Step 2: Combine!

Apply contact cement according to directions to both surfaces (I poured a bit on and rolled/brushed it out), and place art onto trunk when it's dried a bit (10-20 minutes) and use pressure to smooth it from the center out, and bring the two together in a solid bond.

Step 3: Trim As You Go!

I trimmed edges and made openings for the latches and hinges and such as I went, using sewing scissors and a seam ripper, smoothing and re-adhering around them.

Step 4: Leave It Alone!

Let dry for desired period of time (I waited 12 hours before clear coat, but only a couple hours before next step).

Step 5: Fancy Up the Rest of It (if You Ran Out of Art)

I used regular old paint from my stash to put a base coat of white on the rest of the trunk, inside and out, as well as the trays (in retrospect, I should have probably done this first!).

Step 6: Seal to Protect!

After waiting a few hours, I started adding the topcoats, with the high gloss clear poly I bought at Walmart.  I just poured/rolled/and brushed, let dry according to directions between coats, and kept going til I was happy with the protection (my family and I are very hard on things, so this step was VITAL!).  Now I can wipe it up if I spill on it, set my glass or can on it, the cats can sleep on it, te kids can do whatever it is they do, etc, and it will stay looking good! 

Step 7: The Inner Workings....

Not sure what to fill it with now....I'm thinking craft supplies! 

I'm positive there are easier ways to have done this, and there are about a billion possibilities for adaptations.  That said, this is the single coolest thing I've rescued/created since my children and pets :-)

(PS: I am aware it's not perfect, but it's still pretty flippin cool, if you ask me!)