If you’re in need of extra storage in your living room and fancy having a rustic, vintage style coffee table in front of your sofa, this upcycled trunk project with pallet wood lid could be the two-in-one solution you’ve been looking for.
When I spotted this old trunk in a charity shop, I could already imagine the vintage style-coffee table I could create from it. The trunk didn’t have a lid but still had the handles, clasps and luggage labels from a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. I wanted to keep these original features but make a new top using pallet wood and add castor wheels to make it easy to move around.
Here a step-by-step guide to turning an old trunk or suitcase into a vintage-style coffee table and storage unit, with chevron wood table top.
You will need:
- An old trunk
- Castor wheels
- Wrecking bar
- Palm sander and sandpaper
- Wood glue
- Screws and nails
- Wood stain
- Finishing wax
- PVA glue
Clean out the trunk, wipe down the sides and use PVA glue to neaten up any loose labels or lining paper. Allow to dry thoroughly.
In the meantime, use a wrecking bar to take a pallet apart. Cut a 45-degree angle off the end of each plank of wood, removing the nail holes in the process. Use a palm sander to sand down any rough edges of the wood until you have a smooth finish.
Position the upturned trunk onto a piece of plywood and draw around it. Cut along the lines with a saw to create a piece of wood that’s the right size for the top.
Draw a line down the centre of the plywood top and then use wood glue to attach the pieces of pallet wood in a chevron pattern that meets along the centre line. Don’t worry about the overhanging edges as these will be cut off later. Allow the wood glue to dry then, if you feel the top needs to be reinforced, you can turn the top over and add a few short nails to attach the ply to the pallet wood from the underside.
Use a saw to cut away the pallet wood planks that overhang the piece of plywood. Glue and nail more lengths of the sanded pallet wood to the edges of the table top to make a lip. This not only creates a lid that you can remove, but it also creates the illusion that the wood is chunkier than it is.
Stain the sanded pallet wood surface with your preferred colour of wood stain. You may need to add two coats if you want to achieve a darker colour. Once dry, buff up the wood with a coat of finishing wax.
To add the castors, cut two pieces of pallet wood a little shorter than the width of the trunk. Screw these onto the base of the trunk from the inside. Turn the trunk over to attach the castor wheels to the wooden pieces.
What do you think of this two-in-one vintage trunk coffee table and storage unit? If you use pallet wood to make this chevron top, you can easily cut the ply wood to fit any size of storage box, trunk or suitcase you have stowed away in your garage or storage unit. It’s a low-cost way to create a rustic coffee table with storage, that looks much more expensive than it really is!
As with all our projects, please take care while using tools, materials and equipment and don’t take any risks.
By Cassie Fairy
and photography by Andy Greenacre