WWII Navy Trunk Revive

I recently redid this WWII Navy Trunk for a friend of mine.  It was a story that I shared during the "I am grateful" giveaway series for Modern Masters.

Fern Avenue Blog Navy Trunk

I have had several asking about my process and so I thought I'd dedicate a post for that.

Once I had the trunk in my possession, I took a piece of the trunk that was tearing off.  It was pretty small, but big enough to take it into my local paint store & match it to a color swatch card.  It was pretty spot on.

I cleaned up the trunk using simple green, and being careful of the original tags so we could salvage them.  It was important to my friend.

I tore out the contact paper on the inside & cleaned it with simple green as well.

I started by giving the trunk a couple of coats of paint.  Once it was all dry, I started on the patina part.  This was the most time consuming of all.

I used an artist brush & went over all of the metal parts with Modern Masters primer. I let it dry. And, then because I wanted it a little extra rusty, I mixed a little of the primer & bronze oxidizing paint. I let this dry over night.  The next day I went over all of the metal parts again with the mixture & used the rust activator spray on the wet paint mixture.


The straps also needed to be replaced since they were not in good shape at all!  I need to back up just a minute.  Knowing the straps would need to be replaced, I had asked a dear friend if he could help me.  I don't have the right tools to pull the nails out without causing major damage.  He pulled them out and gave me new straps :)  He's a good egg!!

Since the straps were brand new I needed to make them look old to match the trunk.  

I took a sanding block and roughed them up a bit.  I then took the mixture of the primer & oxidizing paint and dabbed some on the straps (making sure I covered the stitching).  I then sprayed a bit of rust activator.. 

And, they now look old :)  

I used some spray poly over the entire trunk & especially over the tags to protect them.  After it dried, I went over the entire trunk with dark wax...  

Now it was time to send the trunk & straps back to friend for him to attach for me.  While he had the trunk I worked on the casters to give them a rusty old look.  You can read how I did that HERE.  

Fern Avenue Blog New Casters made to look old

Once he sent it back to me, I touched up the trunk & painted the inside an antique white.  

Fern Avenue Blog WWII Navy Trunk

Fern Avenue Blog WWII Navy Trunk Repurpose

Fern Avenue Blog Navy Trunk Revive

Fern Avenue Blog Navy Trunk using Modern Masters Rust Activator

This trunk was now set to return home.  I wrote about the trunks history in my giveaway post.  But, you may have missed that...  It is a great story to be told & one that brings me much joy...  If you'd like to read about it, you can read it HERE.  


  1. This is an awesome story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I love this. Great job!
    :) gwingal

  3. This is a wonderful trunk and thank you for sharing its story at Thoughts of Home.
    We are so glad you are here.

    White Spray Paint

  4. Awesome makeover, Lynn! I love that you were able to breathe new life into such a special piece. Thanks for sharing with Merry Monday this week.


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