DIY Network

How to Paint a Steamer Trunk Coffee Table

A casual coffee table, painted with Onyx paint, takes on the look of a well-traveled steamer trunk.

More in Painting

mismatched furniture now full of color and charm
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Sand the Table

Sand the surface of the table and wipe it free of dust.

sand surface of table and wipe free of dust

Step 2: Apply Onyx Paint for the Borders

Apply Onyx paint to create borders along the top and sides of the table. Also paint the legs black.

Paint color: Benjamin Moore semigloss paint #2133-10 (Onyx)

Step 3: Glue Pictures or Postcards in Place

Lay out post cards, pictures, or travel papers in a loose pattern and glue them in place with matte medium. Once they are glued in place, use the same medium as a varnish over the unfinished wood surface. Allow the varnish to dry 1 to 2 hours to dry.

Old postcards, copies of pictures or magazine tear-outs.
Tudor brown furniture wax

glue pictures or postcards in place

Step 4: Apply Paint to the Nail Heads

While the varnish is drying, apply a metallic pale-gold paint to the nail heads on the table.

apply metallic pale gold paint to nail heads

Step 5: Apply Furniture Wax

As a final step, rub Tudor brown furniture wax over the wood and burnish until the finish stops feeling sticky; the wax adds to the antique feel of the trunk.

apply furniture wax over wood