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Yard Sale Trunk Turned Coffee Table {Guest Post}: Paisley Print Shoes

Hows about a snazzy little before-and-after for this fine Thursday? Yes?

Even better if it’s a $22 yard sale find?

And maybe even better if it’s a before-and-after by the absolute LOVELIES Jen and Katie from Paisley Print Shoes? Yeah?

Thought so. Check it.

We are SO excited to be guest posting for Kelly!

In case you are new to Paisley Print Shoes, we are Jen and Katie, two sisters who have opposite tastes in pretty much everything. House decor, fashion, you name it.

We decided to start a blog where we find things that we BOTH like and we write about it! We dabble in pretty much everything (clothes, DIY, home decorating, and food).

We are always amazed by Kelly’s DIY skills so we thought we’d share our process in overhauling a trunk that Jen got at a garage sale!

Here is what the trunk looked like when Jen got it.
Old trunk

vintage tan trunk

white antique trunk
Here’s were our thoughts going into it:

1. Keep the color, but clean it up a ton.

2. Get 2 belts for the top to connect to the buckles on the bottom.

3. Cover the inside with fabric.

We thought it’d be nice to keep the same color and just clean it up a bit so we got some cleaners and went to town. We scrubbed with rags and brushes and a bunch of different kinds of cleaners.

And…nothing really happened.

It was still sort of a mess. We knew it was clean but it didn’t look much better.

So then we got out some sand paper and tried sanding it. We thought we could give it a more rustic look but nothing really happened with that either.
trunk hardware
Hmmm….that sort of kicked plan number 1 to the curb so we decided we’d spray paint it and get it all one color and nice and cleaned up.

While we were scrubbing with the brushes we discovered that they had just painted over leather straps on the bottom. We began scrubbing the heck out of them to try to get all the paint off.
trunk strap
About halfway through we decided we would just cut them off and buy 2 sets of belts and make a new strap. So that’s what we did.

We cut off the straps on the top and the bottom before realizing that they were tacked in underneath metal covers. We had 2 options here.

1. Keep the metal covers on and cut up the belts and make them look like the were one long one. Or

2. Take off the metal cover and put the belts on whole.

Well, we had bought new tacks to tack on the belts and we were going to paint it anyway so we decided to just pull of the metal covers and get the old belts completely off and put the new ones on correctly. In the process of pulling these covers off we realized they weren’t metal….they were simply painted leather! Sweet! It took a few hammers, screw drivers and a crowbar but we finally got all of the tacks and leather off of the trunk. It was quite the workout.
how to clean up an old trunk
After they were all off we sprayed 2 coats of spray paint all over the trunk.
Then we ate some cheesecake. And drank coffee.
Then after letting it dry for oh, 20 minutes we decided we would finish the outside. Katie and I are activators and like to get things done even if it means staying up until 3 in the morning. Lucky for us it was only about 11:00pm at this point so we went at it. We had ended up buying 8 belts so we went through option after option until we came up with one that we liked.

The plan was to use 2 belts for the top and then 2 belts for the bottom. We couldn’t use one belt for the left and one belt for the right because they weren’t long enough so we had to mix and match.
So we cut up 4 belts and tacked them onto the trunk.11

When they were on we decided it needed something extra so Katie quickly spray painted one of the belts, we cut it up and tacked those on over the belts in the same spot that the other leather pieces were. (Again, any normal person would have spray painted the belt, wait 24 hours for it to set and then proceed with cutting and tacking on. We are not normal.)12

replacing trunk strap

Perfection. We LOVE it. It was quite a bit of work but the outside look so sweet.

We are still working on the inside…so we’ll leave that for later (you can see what we’ve done so far here), but we haven’t done a final “reveal” on Paisley Print Shoes because we were waiting for Jen to get settled into her new place. Well, she is settled, so here is the trunk in all its glory!

Trunk as coffee table
You can really see Jen’s colorful, eclectic style in her living room! Katie would NEVER decorate her place like this, but she loves to look at spaces like this! We are both thrilled with how the trunk turned out and we think it would look good in a variety of spaces!


eclectic living room with trunk coffee tableSo there you have it! Anybody else out there have a trunk that they have given an overhaul? This was DEFINITELY worth the $22 Jen spent at the garage sale!

View Along the Way readers, thanks for reading about our trunk transformation! We’d love to see you over at Paisley Print Shoes…any friend of Kelly’s is a friend of ours, and we love making new friends. 🙂

Kelly, we are wishing your family all the best and praying God’s blessings on you as you are just beginning life as a family of 4! We can’t wait to hear stories from you! Thanks again for allowing us to guest post!

TRUE STORY: when I was first reading this post by Jen and Katie, I thought that “after” photo was an inspiration shot they’d saved from a magazine or something. It made me do a double-take because — HOW amazing is this?! It looks SO good in Jen’s eclectic living room, and I adore her cool, collected style.

What do you think? Would you have looked twice at this trunk at a yard sale? How much are you loving the “after?”

Don’t forget to swing by Paisley Print Shoes and just fall in love with these sweet sisters like I did!

— AND like my one-month-old baby Mila did, when Jen and Katie sent her these SWEET, sweet onesies which she’s already asking me to wear even though they’re still too big for her:
appliqued baby onesiesThey MADE these onesies! (Here’s a similar tutorial.) I don’t know how they knew that Mila is a total high heels type. And by the way, Mila may have had one of those bows in her hair within five seconds of me opening the package.

One more thing! Jen and Katie were SO sweet and thoughtful and sent me this amazing scarf which just so happens to be in my favorite color. Check out the tag:
turquoise scarf
It’s from an amazing organization called FashionABLE that creates sustainable business for women in Africa. Look at what’s hand-written on the tag from my scarf:

“Because of you, I am able to: ‘[Send] Eyob to school.’ Thank you, Meselu”

Seriously cool. Here’s more information on FashionABLE. Thank you so much, Jen and Katie!

Let's connect


  1. that trunk looks perfect as their coffee table! i love the fun and colorful mix!

  2. I love the PPS sisters!

    Jen’s living room is perfect. I’m in love!!

    P.S. I still need to mail your child her gifts. I am, obviously, a huge slacker.

  3. I love following the PPS sisters! And what an awesome find the trunk was. It looks great with a fresh coat of paint and new straps. Unfortunately, I probably would have passed something like that up at a yard sale. Sometimes I have trouble finding the diamond in the rough.

  4. Wow ladies! This is awesome! The only thing my sister and I did till 3 in the morning was bicker, so I loved this story (and the beautiful trunk)! I also really love it’s new function as a coffee table! This has me wanting to break out the paint brushes!

  5. Those girls are awesome! They did an amazing job!

  6. I love the addition of the new belts! And have heard of fashionABLE, what a great cause. 🙂

  7. Yay! Katie and Jen!

    It looks SO good! I love how the belt straps pop against the trunk itself. And it looks absolutely perfect in that room. Well done, well done.

  8. What a great idea for a blog- sisters! How fun. Love the trunk too 🙂

  9. It’s fantastic! Love the little straps.

  10. Love those two! I’m w/ you about Jen’s room. Looks amazing and that trunk, well, incredible. Bravo girls!

  11. I heart that trunk – the new leather straps really make it! And Jen’s colorful room rocks!

    Makes me want to get cracking on the trunk I found at my epic $20 yard sale score!

  12. The trunk turned our brilliantly!

  13. What a fabulous guest post from two fabulous bloggers! Love how they just go with the flow …

    … and I adore the onsies and that scarf? Such a great cause. The note made me cry …



  14. totally awesome! love the belt idea!

  15. How sweet are they? I can’t wait wait to check out their blog – thanks for the introduction. Love how the trunk came out!

  16. Cute trunk! Going to check out their blog now! Thanks for sharing Kelly 🙂

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