When my daughter was a regional manager for Kirklands I never had to worry about home decor. She sent me something unique and beautiful for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
One of the favorite items she ever sent was a decorative trunk. I used in my living room for about 20 years. Even when it no longer fit into my decor, I simply couldn’t bear to part with it.
Recently, I decided to recover the trunk to match my bedroom. It was easy to do and the end result was stunning.
If you have an old trunk that you want to use as a coffee table, end table or just for decor, this process might work well for you as well.
To get started, you will need to make sure you have certain items on hand. Otherwise, you’ll need to make the purchases. These include:
A roll of paper;
Ruler, yardstick or measuring tape;
Glue gun and glue sticks;
Small wallpaper trim roller;
Decide where you plan to use the trunk once it is done. This will have an impact on your fabric and trim choices. I recommend choosing something that can be used in more than one room. That way you can move the trunk as the mood strikes.
Think about the color and/or type of pattern you want to use for your trunk. Obviously, plain colors are more versatile but they can also be a bit boring. I recommend using something that has life like stripes, plaids, or prints.
Choose fabric with some body like upholstery fabric. Flimsy or sheer fabric is likely to wrinkle or buckle so steer clear of anything that is too thin in nature. I used some tapestry I had picked up at a garage sale for $1.
Determine whether or not you need to use trim to cover the fabric’s raw edges. This will depend on the type of fabric chosen as well as the aesthetic you are looking for. Since my trunk was banded, I knew that I could butt the fabric up against the band and avoid the need for trim.
In choosing fabric and trim, keep in mind that it will need to be stain coated. Either purchase fabric and trim that is already stain resistant or choose something you can treat easily with Scotch Guard.
Keep in mind that you can use a glue gun and glue sticks, fabric glue or a combination of both. While a spray-on adhesive might work in some instances, it is risky when it comes to many fabric and trims. I recommend avoiding that option.
I used a combination of craft glue and hot glue. I used fabric glue on the bulk of the trunk in order to keep the fabric from bulking or bubbling. Then I used hot glue on the borders to get a firm, even adhesion.
Follow the following step-by-step instructions to cover your trunk.
Step 1. With a ruler, yardstick or measuring tape, measure the areas of the trunk you want to cover. Write each measurement down.
Step 2. Use a roll of brown, white, or wrapping paper, cut a pattern that exactly matches the measurements. Hold the pattern up against the trunk to make sure it is absolutely perfect. Keep making adjustments until fits as desired.
Step 3. Pin the paper pattern onto your fabric and cut around it as designed.
Step 4. Start by covering the flat surfaces around the sides of the trunk first. Begin with the back, work to the sides and then finish with the front. That way, by the time you get to the front you will have all the kinks worked out of your application process.
Using a sponge brush, apply a smooth, even coat of craft glue on the surface area you intend to cover. Then carefully lay the fabric on top of the glued area, working it carefully so that it lies flat against the surface.
Using a wallpaper trim roller, work out any buckles or bubbles. If necessary, or desired, tack down the raw edges of the fabric with hot glue.
Continue the process until all sides of the trunk are covered.
Step 5. Cover the top of the trunk using the same process used in Step 4. However, keep in mind that a curved top could present more problems that a smooth surface. Be careful not to allow the fabric to wrinkle, buckle or bubble as you apply it.
Step 6. Using a ruler, yardstick or measuring stick, measure the areas of the trunk that require trim. Cut each piece of trim to fit the specific area in question. Take into consideration any potential lap over or meeting quarters. Be sure not to mix up the cut trim. Mark it on the back with masking tape and a pen, if necessary.
Step 7. Apply the trim following the same process as the fabric. Begin with the sides and work toward the front. Finish the top last of all. You can use either craft glue or hot glue for this application process.
Step 8. Add any other decorative trim desired to jazz up a solid colored trunk. This could include things like ribbon, beading, pearls, ribbon or silk flowers, etc.
Step 9. Add tassels to the front of the trunk if desires. Glue into place or work the tassel around the trunk opening.
Step 10. Spray the fabric and trim with Scotch Guard to prevent staining.
A trunk customized to an area or room adds a touch of elegance and romance. Have fun with the idea as decor but also think about how to use it for extra storage.