From Black Hope Chest to Blue Vintage Trunk

Sunday, August 25, 2013 -
My grandpa Huish was an amazing man. A well known educator and community leader, he had several special talents. Most people would remember him for being an amazing woodworker. All 30 of us grand kids have great memories of being out in Grandpa's shop making toy swords and watching him turn gorgeous wood bowls.

He had 5 daughters, but the next generation was much thinner on girls. To make his granddaughters feel special, Grandpa decided to build us all cedar hope chests before we graduated high school.

Sadly, Grandpa developed Alzheimer's disease and became unable to work in his shop shortly after I graduated. Unfortunately, my few, younger, female cousins didn't receive a hope chest. I feel so lucky to have received one of the last wood projects my grandfather built.

In high school, I went through a super edgy/contemporary decorating phase, so when Grandpa asked what color I wanted my hope chest, I requested black. Beautiful, hardwood veneer and I wanted black. Oh well, tastes change. After going through a few moves and my active boys running around, the hope chest had seen better days.

I wanted a distressed, layered look but I didn't want the black to show through. To start, I mixed up some tan latex paint and brushed on one coat on evenly.

Next, I applied Vaseline around the areas that would naturally receive the most wear, followed by another coat of latex paint. This time, a medium, grey-blue.

Once that had dried. I sporadically brushed on Crackle Medium from Old Fashioned Paint Company.

I have used a number of crackle mediums before. In my opinion, the one from Old Fashioned Paint Company is the best. I provided a link below where you can find it.


 I'm not really into the whole 90's, country look, so I don't want to create large, uniform cracks. I've discovered I can use this crackle medium to create awesome texture and chippyness.

Brush on the medium and let it dry thoroughly. The directions say to only brush one, smooth stroke of paint over the crackle medium and leave it alone. If you do that, you'll get those wide, 90's style cracks. What I do is brush on the paint, let it partially dry, then brush over it again. Play around with it till you get the texture you like.

For my final coat of paint, I mixed some CeCe Caldwell Pure White with the blue from the last coat.

To make it look more like an old trunk, I decided to add some labels. I headed over to The Graphics Fairy and found this vintage label and enlarged it 150%.

Courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
I followed her tutorial How to Transfer Typography to Furniture and applied a logo to the front face and lid as well as a pair of "Fragile" stamps on each end. 

My tip is to first use a plastic scraper to take off the majority of the paper before you start to rub off the excess. 

Follow up with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the label and distress the edges. Wipe clean and seal with 2 coats of matte Poly.

For the last step, I added decorative brass box corners. They started off a shiny, gold colored brass. I'll write up a tutorial down the road on how I create the tarnished look.

They can be hard to find locally. You most likely can get a better deal online.


And here is the final  result.

It was hard to capture all the detail in photos. I really like how the darker blue peaks through.

This photo depicts the color the best.

Between the tan paint and the veins of black showing through, I think it looks a lot like wood. What do you think?

Here it is, back where it belongs at the foot of our bed.

It may not show off my grandpa's beautiful wood work, but I still think he would be proud.

Linking at:

A Stroll Thru Life
The Style Sisters
The Princess & Her Cowboys Keeping It Simple Elizabeth and Co. ThePinJunkie Furniture Feature Fridays


  1. Nice, it's all in the little details. And you got all the little details right!

  2. I love this and i can't wait to see how you made the brass look so deliciously rusty!

  3. I got a hope chest from my grandparents when I turned 13. As a 27 year old, I'm not sure where to put it in my house (not enough room in my bedroom!) but I could totally do this with it! Thanks for the idea - pinning it!

  4. Your chest is beautiful. love the details of the worn areas along with the stencil.

  5. Such a great project! I love it! Thanks for stopping by my blog. We did meet at Haven, we talked in the hall near my room. We were on the same floor. Just followed you on Pinterest. ~Sonya

  6. You nailed it girl!! It looks amazing and I think your grandpa is smiling down on you right now! What a special treasure! I love the finish, and I too like the dark blue peeking through! Can't wait for your tutorial on the brass, and of course I am pinning! Hugs Elisha!

  7. I bet your grandpa loves it from afar :) And I totally thought that was wood grain showing through when I looked at the first pic, so mission accomplished! But my favorite part is the little box corners. Seriously such a perfect little detail that makes it look so finished. You are amazing as always!!! :)

  8. Beautiful job! How wonderful to save this family treasure and give it a new life. It looks great at the foot of the bed, too. Those metal corners are an adorable touch!
    Thank you for sharing at DIY Showcase this week.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  9. wow, what a gorgeous transformation, it's wonderful!!

  10. You are handy with tools! And paint and everything between! It's lovely and I know is a sentimental treasure.

    Welcome, from a Cozy Little House reader!


  11. I saw your post on MMS. Very beautiful transformation and great description of your step by step!

  12. The history of the trunk . . . the loving work you put into it (obviously some of grandpa's skills transferred to you) . . . the color . . . the graphics . . . the hardware . . . ALL made for a beautiful post.

  13. So glad to have found you! Brenda introduced me to you. Love your work and am now your newest follower. Stop by for a visit sometime!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  14. Amazing job! I would love to include this in a roundup I am putting together, which will be posted on my blog. I will just grab a picture and give you a link back. If you'd prefer that I didn't use this project, please email me at

  15. What an authentically aged look you achieved! Just beautiful!

  16. I love the transformation. This look amazing, great job on the graphic too. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  17. It looks authentically antique. I love the color and typography! Your grandpa would be proud. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays.


  18. I cannot believe it is the same piece!! What a fantastic tutorial, and I had no idea you could order those brass corners online. You have such a great eye! Sharing at the party tomorrow at Redoux. Thanks!

  19. This is very nice and all of the information and links is super helpful. I see your worked really hard on this piece and it paid off....beautiful. New follower here. Come for a visit when you can. Thanks for posting this great tutorial. Pinning!!
    Debbie @ One Day at a Time


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