Last summer I spent many evenings and weekends sorting through and cleaning out my grandparent’s old store building, preparing all of their life-worth collection of stuff for an auction. My grandfather had been an antiques dealer, gun dealer and repairman, chainsaw sharpening and repairman, grocery store owner and construction worker, and had amassed an entire building full of stuff. Through all the sorting and treasure finding, one thing stuck out – an old trunk. The trunk was up on a shelf and badly damaged from moisture and mildew, as many of the items in the building were. Grandma said it was from her relatives, but because it was so damaged, thought I should throw it.

I didn’t.

Instead, I snuck it home and for the next almost-a-year aired it out in the sunshine, cleaned it up and repaired it’s broken parts. Once it was sturdy and didn’t smell like basement anymore, I decided to try a technique I’d found on Pinterest to bring some beauty back to it again. The technique is modge podge and fabric. The trunk used to have a paper on the outside of it that had a floral design (very little of it was left on), and so I found a fabric that had a similar design and looked “old”.

First I removed all of the trim pieces, metal pieces and accents, bringing the trunk down to just the frame. I covered the trunk with modge podge, cutting pieces of fabric to fit as I went, and then smoothed the fabric over the modge-podged sections. I then sealed up the edges with more modge podge and went over the top of the fabric with a very light, watered-down coat of modge podge.

While that was drying and curing, I primed then painted and distressed the wood pieces, as well as the rusted metal trim pieces.

After a day and a half I was able to put all the trim and accessories back on.

I painted the inside of the trunk, but used the same fabric from the outside for just the bottom of the inside. (I was running out of modge podge! It took almost the entire bottle.)

I also added some very small “bun feet” to the bottom, just because the bottom was warped so it didn’t sit straight on it’s own (plus, they added a little extra cuteness factor).

The original trunk had wood handles, but they were pretty much rotted out, so I fashioned new handles for the sides of the trunk (with a little help from hubby) out of a belt.

Here was the end result (minus the handles – I forgot to take a picture after we put the handles on)


A closer view of the detail

Grandma was definitely surprised and very pleased with her old/new trunk!