Yes, this old chest was calling out into the night, to be rescued… as we passed it by on our way home some time ago. It was sitting at the side of the road, in the dark, rather lonely I am sure. Of course I had to stop… but not wanting to use solvants (and this old guy clearly needed some paint stripped…), with a twinge in my heart, I decided to be strong and leave it for someone else.
A day or two later, when I passed by again, it was still there, this time sitting in the rain. Not being able to stomach the idea that a beautiful (well not so beautiful yet) chest, that someone had crafted so long ago, would be ruined in the rain… into the trunk, the old trunk jumped. At the very least, I would make it pretty and sell it, I told myself.
Back home, I examined a trunk that was beaten up and rather dingy inside but that would be sturdy enough to use and beautiful in the end.
I quickly began to strip the pain off, as you can see in the picture below. In a well ventilated area, with the appropriate gloves on, as well as protective eyeglasses (in case any paint stripper should be flung up), I carefully slathered on some gel paint remover and waited, following the instructions on the can. As you can see in the picture below, the paint quickly started to bubble up.
Below, you can also see the interior that was covered in paper which in many places was worn off. Some of the chest’s wood was exposed and it was dirty, dusty and dingy.
Next, still in a well ventilated area, i started to scrape off the bubbled up gooey paint, hands and eyes still protected. Below, you can see what was under the cream paint.
Although I like a worn look, this was way too worn and way too brown for me- I’d have to paint it. Since I paint most things white, I decided to paint it black. A touch of black in a room, to “anchor” it, to add a touch of masculinity, is always good, so out came the black paint. I covered the wood parts with tape, (my plan was to leave these exposed) and got started with the black spray paint (I use a big box which I opened up, as a protective screen so I wouldn’t paint any if the numerous other items in my garage).
Here was the result. Although I liked it, I thought it looked too much like a pirate trunk and so, I decided to opt for white. I taped up the wood parts once again and reached for the white paint.
There were bits of the outer metal shell (everything painted white is metal that covers the wooden box underneath) that were worn away and the texture is rough as I didn’t scrape the metal clean. As the box is a crisp white, I wanted to keep these “imperfections” in order to retain the character of the old box. As for the metal clips and adornments, the same stood- I removed the newer mint green and red paint, to reveal what was underneath.
I wanted the interior nice and clean and so my plan was to sand the wood down and seal it with a simple mat varnish. In the cover however, there was an old image and surrounding trim design glued on. As these seemed original to the box, I decided to keep them. I carefully cleaned up and sanded the areas around the glued paper and then applied varnish everywhere.
For the bottom, since there were some nails popping through, I cut a rubber shelf covering, to put into place, so no little hands and fingers could hurt themselves.
In the end, I made some space, selling some other unused items and decided to use the box as a toy chest for my little one as you can see below.