How To Turn A Wooden Case Into A Rustic Trunk Table

What do you do when browsing the aisles of Goodwill and come across a fabulous rustic wood case with lovely aged metal hardware and worn leather handle? Then you notice the wood lid of the trunk is etched with a company logo. But the price tag on the case reads $2. Do you keep walking?

Mr. Frugalista knows me too well and figured I wouldn't let something like a logo stop me from turning this lovely case into something useful. Today I'm sharing how to turn a rustic wooden case into a trunk table.

DIY Rustic Wooden Case Trunk Table

How To Turn A Wooden Case Into A Rustic Trunk Table

Look at the rustic goodness of this case and I just happen to have the perfect set of legs in my stash.

Rustic Wooden Trunk Table Before

DIY Rustic Wooden Trunk Table

Those perfect long legs from my stash have one problem, the screw stems (whatever they're called) are an odd size and too large to fit into either vintage or new metal leg attachment plates. Onto Plan B, how to attach the legs to the trunk.

Paint the legs

Sand the glossy finish from each leg with 150-grit sandpaper. Then paint the legs with one coat of chalk paint, mine was painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Graphite.

DIY Wooden Trunk Table Chalk Painted Legs

Next, add a coat of metallic blackened bronze paint to echo the bronze finish on the hardware of the case.

DIY Wooden Trunk Table Bronzed Legs

Add a plywood base

The bottom of the trunk is much too thin to attach legs and have them sturdy, so the base needs to be beefed up.

Trace the bottom of the case onto a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood and cut it to size. Mr. Frugalista cut mine on the table saw for me. Sand the plywood with a mouse sander (or whatever sander you have on hand) and an 80-grit sanding pad to a smooth finish.

Give just one side of the plywood and the edges two coats of dark walnut stain to match the wood on the case.

DIY Wooden Trunk Table Stained Base

Attach the legs

Next, to figure out the placement of the legs an easy way to do it is by tracing the center hole on a metal leg attachment plate on each corner of the unstained side of the plywood.

DIY Wooden Trunk Table Marking Leg Placement

Drill a small pilot hole through the plywood on the mark created in the previous step.

To avoid splinters when drilling the holes, drill from the stained side of the plywood using an 11/64 drill bit.

DIY Trunk Table Drilled Holes For Legs

For the head of the screws, to sit below the surface of the plywood, countersink the holes with a 3/30 countersink drill bit. This will ensure there is no gap between the top of the base and the bottom of the case when they are attached.

DIY Trunk Table Countersunk Holes For Legs

Attaching the legs to the plywood base is a two-man job; one person to hold the legs in place and the other to attach them with the drill. The trick is going easy on the drill once the bit hits the legs to avoid spinning. Ask me how I know.

From the unstained side of the plywood, attach the legs with  #14 x 4" wood screws with a Robertson drill bit.

Attaching legs to DIY Wooden Trunk Table

Attach plywood base to the case

Now that the legs are attached to the base it's time to attach it to the case. First, apply a generous amount of construction adhesive onto the exterior bottom of the wood case.

Base Attached To Wooden Trunk Table With Adhesive

Line up the plywood base onto the bottom of the wooden case and hold it in place with bar clamps. Carefully flip the table right side up and check to make sure everything is still lined up properly.

From the inside of the case, use #8 x 5/8 wood screws to secure the base to the case and then remove the clamps. The screws will be hidden but more about that next week.

Secure base to Wooden Trunk Table

Cover the logo

Remember we had that etched logo issue on the lid? When I stained the plywood base I also stained over the etched logo using a cotton swab. This darkened the logo, making it a little less visible but unfortunately not invisible.

If the plan was to paint the wood, I would have used wood filler to conceal the logo but I wanted to keep the lovely wood patina. So I had to come up with a way to hide the logo and then I remembered something I've had in my stash for at least two years...

Decals for DIY Wood Trunk Table Top

Peel and stick decals...
Aged wine decals to be exact...
A French vineyard decal with MY name on it...

DIY Wooden Trunk Table With Wine Decal

Protective finish

The wood was faded and dry and I thought about using hemp oil to revive it but there is a product I've been wanting to try for months. Earlier this year Brenda from Unique Junktique was offering a giveaway of Daddy Van's Products in her Friday's Furniture Fix weekly series and I was the lucky winner!

Shadow Black Wax for DIY Wooden Trunk Table

I rubbed shadow black wax in a circular motion with a lint-free rag over the wood, metal hardware, leather strap, and legs. I loved how it was deepening the rich color of the wood and seeping into the scratches and imperfections. You can see the difference in the photo below...

DIY Wooden Trunk Table Dark Waxed and Unwaxed

I was surprised by how little I had to buff the wax to a soft smooth finish. It's quite lovely and I can't wait to try the antique bronze wax next. I love how the dark wax collected around the edge of the decal, adding to the aged appearance.

DIY Wooden Trunk Table Close Up

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project.

Materials List

DIY Rustic Wooden Trunk Table With Bench

I will be sharing what I did with the inside of the trunk next week so stay tuned.

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DIY Rustic Wooden Trunk Table Before and After

Have you ever turned an old trunk or perhaps a vintage suitcase into a table? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below.

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