DIY Wood Chest Makeover

Friday, February 9, 2018


 I found this gorgeous antique chest on Craigslist a while back and have been trying to figure out what I could do with it for my own home. It was all hand crafted, as mom and I found out just how much when we began to strip down the entire thing to refinish it. I thought I would be using it as a toy chest in a play room, but we have been in need of a particular sized coffee table to fit in our living room, and this piece was what we were missing. :) It could not have worked out more perfectly!


If you want to try out a project like this here's what I recommend to have prepared:


- 1 electric drill

- 1 electric sander

- Multiple sheets of 120 grit sandpaper

- Cheese cloths

- Protectant mask and goggles for sanding (and I used for painting)

- Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint


- Rustoleum Matte Clear Enamel

 - Old cleaning rags

- Valspar Reserve Interior Paint and Primer - White 

 - Foam paint rollers (two at least)

- 1 medium paint brush (for small areas)


There are a couple of extras you may want to pick up that I list and link down below but not must haves to complete a project.


I started by taking all of the hardware pieces off with a drill to leave nothing but the wood chest to sand down. While I was sanding the box, mom worked on cleaning and sanding all of the metal pieces. It's so nice to have a helper, it makes these projects go by SO much faster, especially when you're carrying a little extra weight in the front and need to catch your breath every once in a while. :) Because this chest was handmade, a lot of the wood was gritty and dangerously splintery so I made sure it was sanded down so much so that I probably went through 4-5 sheets of sand paper (which is a lot for a project this size, usually I would maybe use two on average), but we have a baby coming and I didn't want to take ANY chances of her hand getting any splinters when she starts trying to pull herself up.




 Once the hardware pieces were cleaned and sanded we laid them out to get the coats of paint. Our house is primarily gray and white with metallic accents so in keeping with that I decided I wanted the trunk to be white and the hardware to have a gold plated look.


I used my favorite, Rustoleum spray paint on all of the pieces, including the screws. A lot of times people will forget to make sure the screws match the new color of the hardware so don't over look that if you're going to try out a project for yourself!


I did about two coats on each sides and then finished it with clear matte enamel spray paint for protection against peeling, scraping, or scratching. 


I traded off sanding the chest and putting a coat of paint on the metal pieces so give it time to dry and better use my time. These shortened winter days don't allow for much outside time and I AM NOT a morning person so I have to use my afternoons wisely to get my projects done. 


Like I said above, the sanding took up most of the time as I wanted to make sure I checked every inch of the chest inside and out to prevent any splintering. 



It was about 40 degrees outside and a little windy on the second day of the job, neither things that mix well with painting furniture outdoors. Although I actually kind of liked the way it looked all sanded down, it unfortunately would not have a place in our home so we brought it back inside and prepped it for painting.


When I decided I wanted to make it into a coffee table/storage area I knew I had to make some changes because it looked so bulky when it sat on the floor as is. So I decided to add some legs to give it a little more height and more of a chic look. I found these at Lowe's and used metal top plates to secure them in place.


We used painters tape to secure the metal handles on the side (they were irremovable) and used foam rollers to begin the new look. We used a medium paint brush to get in the cracks and small areas and to smooth excess paint drips. We also used the medium brush to paint the new feet the same white (as you can see mom in the below picture working on that). 


We completed two to three coats of the white paint, making sure there were not missed areas inside and out, and topped it off with the sealant. Sealant is very important to use on any furniture surface you plan to set things on from decorations to drinks, it's a life saver for protecting your hard work. However, it has a VERY strong smell so ladies be cautious, if you are expecting, let someone else handle this part and steer clear of that area for a while to let the smell air out. Luckily my mom stepped in and completed that part as it was too cold to complete outside, and even with the door to the studio open I couldn't be in that room while she was working on it. So she completed the last coat and we let it sit for a day or two with fans pointing toward the door to let that smell wear away. 



When all coats were completely dry and to our standards of done, I began putting all the pieces back together, taking the painters tape off, doing any last minute touch ups, and preparing the chest for it's new home. Check out the beauty in it's new homestead down below!


Besides the sanding, it was a fast, easy project that we completed over the course of two afternoons, and things like this make me so happy to have a mom who enjoys doing projects as much as I do because that's just more time we spend together. Refinishing larger objects like this are also great to do with older children as well as I hope to pass on the passion to my little one when she's old enough. Speaking of her, I've got some great nursery projects coming up I can't wait to show you so stay tuned to the blog and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading guys!








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