• Painted Steamer Trunk

    by  • July 2, 2014 • Crafts & DIY Decor, Decor • 4 Comments

    Hello again! Let’s skip past the awkward apology about another disappearance…okay? 🙂
    (Though I will say sorry to anyone who just got my draft post in their inbox, that’s super embarrassing. I think the “preview” button is a little too close to the “publish” button…whoops!)
    So anyways, I have this antique steamer trunk. It’s been in my family for awhile but I’m not sure of the exact history on it. It’s not a precious heirloom or anything, but I think it’s pretty cool and I intend on keeping it!

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    I like mixing in some older items in a room to give it some character, but I was having a hard time making this piece work. It was just a little too old looking. You see where this is going.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    I wanted to leave the wood pieces unpainted but they were looking pretty sad and thirsty. There was a lot of discoloration, especially on the top edges of each board. I thought some stain would even out the color and bring them back to life a bit.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    I lightly sanded the wood pieces, mostly in the discolored areas, before applying a coat of Minwax Provincial and a coat of satin Polycrylic.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    I was a little hesitant about using stain since I didn’t want to mess with removing any hardware, but it was completely fine. It absorbed into the wood really quickly so I was able to wipe it with a cloth after only a few minutes and it came right off the hardware. The stain made a huge difference though!

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    Pinterest browsing confirmed that I like the look of painted steamer trunks, so I went with that for canvas areas. I wanted a dark shade for a high contrast, more modern look. It was between these three – Valspar Antique Burgundy (purple), Valspar Lincoln Cottage Black (navy), and plain off-the-shelf black.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    The purple was speaking to me, and Phil actually liked that one best too. WIN! I didn’t think it was quite dark enough, so I mixed up a 1:1 ratio of purple and black. I only needed one coat of paint plus a few touch-ups. I cut in with a tiny craft brush and then filled in the rest with a larger one.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    The black paint I mixed it with had some blue undertones so the final result actually looks like a combo of all three shades, which I love. It looks more navy in some lights, more purple in others. I like that in a color – it has a lot of depth. Here’s how it turned out!

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    I think a clear lucite tray would be the perfect compliment for this piece to blend my love of vintage and modern. I’m going to keep my eye out for one.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters
    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters
    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    As you can see, I have it set up in our living/dining combo room, which I totally changed from my last post about my plans for the room. No surprise there 🙂 The rug and couch were both in the studio, but I basically stripped that room bare and I’m starting over, so I found new homes for my studio pieces.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    I’m pretty happy with the result! I think it fits my style much better now and I can really see it working in a bunch of rooms.

    Painted Steamer Trunk | Beautiful Matters

    What do you think? Any other antique trunk owners out there?

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    4 Responses to Painted Steamer Trunk

    1. July 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      That’s pretty much fabulous.

    2. Joyce
      July 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      I think it looks awesome! The stain/paint combo looks really nice. I would definitely be a little hesitant about treating it like an actual coffee table though…you know, like putting drinks on it. Maybe a lucite slab would be better than just a tray?

    3. Kelly Bamford
      July 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Love, love, love it! Way to be brave and not only stain but paint! I have an old trunk but it has tin sides and faded wood like yours did. I yet to decide what to do with it, but I can’t part with it I know this much. Thanks for the encouragement needed to spruce my trunk up!

    4. September 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

      I love that! I have an old steamer trunk in the same condition (plus with some broken hardware – sharp corners!) It’s been hiding in the guest bedroom – I never thought about painting the canvas. Thanks for the inspiration!

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