Simple Sunday Re-Finish

A different kind of Simple Sunday this weekend. No cooking or baking, but a large Simple Idiot project was tackled and one big check off my to-do list! This weekend I practiced the Wabi Sabi art of Kintsugi which can be most simply described as the art of repairing what is broken. Typically, this is applied to broken pottery repaired with gold, but here in the Simple Idiot house it means taking what is old and worn, keeping as much character as possible but transforming it into something incredible.

This was quite the undertaking for me. My boyfriend has this funny way of describing my perceived actions when I say I am going to DIY something(book shelves, painting, etc). And yes, sometimes I can be impulsive and don’t always think things through but for this project I took my time, did my research, bought the right materials and planned appropriately. So I set out to prove it to myself and him.

This was my starting canvas.

Trunk - Starting Poin

Salvaged from the side of the road, and in far from “good” shape but I still fell in love. There is something romantic about a steamer trunk, I could have a house full of them. And these handles!


As I mentioned before I started by researching. Chalk paint has made its appearance on my Pinterest board for a while now and apparently it will adhere to anything. Perfect! Since I had no idea what was on the trunk. Next, wax vs. poly? This was the tough part. Most blogs and websites recommended wax but it seemed like it wasn’t very durable, and would need to be re-touched every few years. I wasn’t convinced so I went to an expert. My boyfriend’s brother-in-law happens to be a professional wizard at re-finishing furniture so on his advice, I went with a water-based poly. Thanks Jason!

Chalk PaintClear Coat

Step two was to sand! I “quickly” hand sanded the whole thing but little did I know we have a machine sander in our basement…face palm! That made things much more interesting and sent dust flying everywhere but here is the sanded product:

Sanded Trunk

I was so nervous to do the first coat of white paint but I figured it couldn’t look any worse than it already did. The chalk paint was lovely, great to work with, went on smooth and already gave it an antique look.

First Coat

I also wasn’t going to distress. I didn’t trust my hands and had visions of having to repaint the whole thing. I decided to go for it though as it would bring through some of the character of the original trunk.

Distress 2 Distress 1

Finally came the clear coat. As far as painting technique goes, I struggled here. Drips, pooling paint, paint in my hair, etc. Take your time with this part if possible. Three coats and …TA DA!

Finished Trunk 1

Simple Idiot’s foundations of Wabi-Sabi #2: DIY what you can!

Why you can do it too…

  • I did this in my living room, not ideal but doable.
  • Did not cost me much, two cans of paint, a new brush and sand paper
  • Free trunk!
  • You’ve got nothing to lose!

One more just because…

Finished Trunk 2


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