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Revival Woodworks is dedicated to reviving wood to its true beauty. Through our sustainable designs from re-purposed materials like pallets, barn wood, and reclaimed materials often thrown out, we are able to create beautiful home designs that can be enjoyed! We believe that wood has a natural beauty that should be brought out and restored, not covered or thrown away.

DIY Vintage Steamer Trunk Coffee Table

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DIY Vintage Steamer Trunk Coffee Table

Adam Koons

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Antique chests seem to be one of those things that are easily found via online marketplaces, garage sales, and anywhere old stuff is sold. They have a certain style about them, with all the tacks, hardware and style. Every time i have acquired one, I wonder where it has traveled, and what it must have been like to use.

We recently found one at a local Goodwill for $6.99, which seems like a deal! For less than $10, we couldn’t pass it up, and there had to be something we could do with it. Our vintage chest is smaller than a lot that are around, but it has the flat top, so naturally I thought coffee table.

Here is the “before”:

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How to make an antique chest coffee table

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Our chest was someones DIY project gone wrong. Somewhere along the way it had been pained with a cheapo brush and white paint. It was clear that the project wasn’t what they wanted after one having one coat. They tried to keep the paint off the hardware, but their paint lines weren’t the greatest, and I assume they gave up and donated it. Had it not already been painted, I would have done a preservation and refinished it to bring out the natural wood color. However, after it was already painted, the time commitment would have been too great, so we will be painting it correctly.

Our first step was to give a light sanding to everything. I used 100 grit sandpaper on a random orbital sander to remove any loose paint and to rough the surface up for new paint. I let the sander hit the wood and the hardware, and discovered that the outer canvas was still intact on this chest!

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Next we needed a way to lift the chest up to coffee table height. I found some small table legs that have bolts ready to screw into a project.

Now we are ready to paint everything. For this project, I wanted the “shabby chic” white chalk paint look. I selected Rust-oleum 2X Heirloom White in Satin. This spray paint has great coverage, while giving a nice even finish. When using spray paint, make long even strokes and put on light coats. Using more light coats and long strokes, you can reduce the risk or runs, while evenly covering everything. Make sure to spray at all angles to get paint on all the sides, nooks and crannies of the chest.

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Finally the vintage chest was ready to assemble and become a coffee table. We picked up a package of t-nuts, which have prongs that fasten into the wood. We measured 2” in from each side and made a hole just big enough to fit the t-nut. Then we screwed the legs on tightly and it was ready!

After: Vintage Trunk Coffee Table

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antique trunk coffee table makeover