Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Organizing in 2012: Filing Trunk DIY project

My “filing trunk” reveal!


I am so happy to have this project completed!  Many of my upcoming reveals have been projects that have been in the works for months and months.  What happens when you take on too many projects at once?  They all get delayed in their completion.

{You lucky ducks, within this tutorial you’ll get some pretty good size sneak peaks at my Master Bedroom makeover.  It’s almost ready to be revealed entirely to you all}

I made this filing trunk due to the purchase of my new desk.  My previous desk was pretty typical with drawers down the left side and one long drawer above where you sit.  I had each drawer PACKED with “office” stuff so when I decided to purchase a new desk for my master bedroom you’d think a priority would be one with storage.  Nope.  I went minimalist and it’s one board across two “saw-horse” style legs.  No drawers. No storage.  So I have had to be creative and innovative to find space for all my “office belongings”.  I was originally inspired by {of course} a find from Pinterest by Martha Stewart
However,  I put my very own spin on it because I didn’t nearly have the same resources as the one from the original source.


The trunk was originally my husbands, which I do believe he has had for a while.  In retrospect I should have asked him if I could completely revamp his trunk first … but that’s the risk he took when marrying a DIYer.

So now it’s where I organize all our “important papers” we need to keep track of and miscellaneous other things I just need to know where they are located. And it doubles as a focal point at the foot of our bed instead of having a footboard.

How I did it:

First I primed the trunk with spray paint primer.  I used a spray paint can attachment for easy and even spraying {also easier on your trigger finger}.  If you’re unfamiliar with them, ask your local hardware store and they should have one. I even got mine at Walmart. They’re amazing.

Two coats of primer {half hour in-between coats for drying}


Then spray paint in color of choice.
I went with Krylon Glossy White Spray Paint.  I really took my time with this step.  I used over 4 cans in total, and took my time ensuring an even application for each coat and concentrating on heavy traffic areas. 

Finally two coats of polyurethane.
I did the kind in the spray paint can.  Was my first time using it and it worked perfectly for this.  Just follow the instructions on the can and be sure to allow enough time for drying.  I didn’t rush any of these steps to ensure it would be properly covered and protected.

Next – attaching the legs

I predrilled 4 holes in each corner, set back enough so that when the leg was attached it would stand even (due to the hardware on the corner).  The size of your drill bit will depend on the size of the screw that is in the legs you have.

I picked up the legs at Lowe’s for about $5 each.  To easily paint them I screwed them into a spare piece of wood so they’d stand upright while spray painting them. 


Initially I wanted these to be silver so I painted them with a metallic spray paint.  Changed my mind once I had the whole thing put together {convenient}.  And ultimately ended up spray painting them with Kyrlon ORB {oil rubbed bronze}. Love that stuff.

Then once the legs were dried I put a little wood glue in each pre-drilled hole and around the base of the leg and screwed in the legs.  I let sit overnight to ensure a strong hold.


Here is sat for a couple of days {right smack in the middle of my living room} where I debated about the legs {in metallic}.  I knew I didn’t love it as much as I could. That’s when I changed it up and painted them with Krylon ORB.


So much more beautiful!

The next couple steps I failed to take some pictures because I wasn’t really sure if it’d be fully executed so I’ll have to do a lot more of the written word tutorial.

open viewdescription

For the hanging folders I wanted them to be a little more hidden since they stood taller than the bottom of the trunk, so I created a “built in look”  I cut 4 pieces of 1x2 and to the specific lengths I needed.  Sanded, primed, and painted with the same Gloss White as the trunk.  Then I just surrounded the hanging folders system, and screwed into place.

installing bracketsb

I pre-drilled through the trunk and into the wood, and used 3/4” screws and used white screw caps to cover the heads of the screws.  I did it every couple inches to ensure the boards were secure.  The little extra height the boards gave helped hide the hanging folders system.

Now I have a convenient place to store all my important papers with extra room for other storage.

Here she is in her setting. 

And here’s a quick shot of my new desk and why I needed to create something for papers and “office goods”.
{Will work on better pictures for the Master Bedroom reveal… taking a picture directly into a window of that size is a big learning curve for me}

Linked up with these great parties and the others found here:
Weekend Wrap Up Party - Tatertots and Jello
Furniture Feature Friday - Miss Mustard SeedTip Me Tuesday - Tip Junkie
Tutes and Tips Tuesday - HomeStories A to Z

DIY Club
One Craft Contest - One Artsy Mama



  1. Wow I love this! Such a creative idea & you did a great job with the execution too!

  2. Glad you were able to reach your vision for Billy's trunk. Helpful and attractive.
    Great job.

  3. That is absolutely incredible! Great job!

  4. Looks great!! I'm glad you're getting your groove back! :) Hope you're going to join the Pinterest Partayy!!

  5. LOVE what you did with the trunk! (Just became a recent follower!) Where did you get the metal hanging file piece? Also, I was wondering if you would share the total cost of the project?


    1. Thank you Lindsey!! The metal hanging piece is from Office Depot you can find them at any type of those stores: Staples, Office Depot, Office Max etc ( ) and the hanging folders as well.
      Total break down of the project: (I'll edit the post also to include this)
      Trunk: $0 had on hand
      Primer: $4/can typically but I had on hand
      Spray Paint: $4/can (and I think I used just over 3 cans) but I had on hand, but replenished my stock after
      Legs: $5/each (total of 4 so $20 with 10% military discount)
      1x2 wood pieces: $2 (if that?)
      Hanging file frame: about $8
      Hanging file folders: about $9
      Total project: estimated about $50 but as I stated I had most of the paint on hand -- just replenished afterwards... The biggest cost was the legs I purchased which if I could have searched a little more and found some for like $2/each

  6. WOW!!! Pamela this is AWESOME!!! It's so pretty and all of the sneaky peeks of your room have me drooling :) Can't wait to see more!

  7. I LOVE this! I have a trunk I got for my high school graduation, and this would be so cool to do with it!

  8. Love it! I'm doing a similar thing with a wood crate-thingy. Your lovely white trunk caught my eye. :)

  9. That is such a clever idea...I love it! I like the legs better black too, it's perfect! I'm your newest follower from the blog hop. If you get a chance, I'd love you to stop by my blog & maybe follow along too!

  10. That's an amazing makeover Pamela! I am always looking for things to do with trunks since my hubbie seems to be a collector of trunks...LOL. What a great idea,

  11. You are AMAZING! I love this! Is there anything you CAN'T DO? lol
    I'm excited to see the bedroom reveal, from the pics it looks like your room is Gorgeous!

  12. Great project!
    I having been searching for bedding for a couple years! I LOVE your bedding. Can you tell me where you got it?

    1. Target!! It's a similar kind to one found at West Elm and Anthropology... I'm not sure if they still have it though?

      Thanks for the sweet comments!

  13. So pretty! You get such great results!

  14. I REALLY like this idea. I'm always trying to find places to stash paperwork and other things that I might need to find in the future. It would be so nice to have something like this that is out in the open (that I don't have to dig out of a closet or something) and a cute focal point in my bedroom.

    Newest follower here :)

  15. This is awesome. I love this trunk!! What a great way to store all your files!!


  16. That is a great idea! Love how it looks in the room but also like how it is such a functional piece. I am a new Twitter follower visiting from Tatertots and Jello. Vicky from Mess For Less

  17. Love. Adore. Want!! So pretty! Pinned it (: And WHERE did you get your rug??

  18. LOVE this and love the room! Hmmm, now I want to make one!

    @ Creatively Living

  19. What a great job! Love it!!!! I also love your office chair in the background. Off to a new start this year all organized! Feels good I'm sure! I found you from Tatertots and Jello.

  20. What a great idea to make good use of an old trunk! I've never seen one with legs added to it, either. I especially like the white contrast with the ORB legs. :)

  21. Fabulous project! I will have to find a trunk to do this myself!!!
    Kindest regards,

  22. Great way to reuse an old trunk! An awesome storage idea! Nice job!

    The Not So Functional Housewife

  23. WOW!!! You're amazing! That looks great. I've been on the lookout for a trunk for a month now without any luck. But I;m totally ready for when I get my hands on one. :) Visiting from Homemaker on a Dime link party

  24. This is awesome. So funny that I just saw this today, since I've decided after I move in a few months, I want to make over a trunk I have as well (In MUCH worse shape then the one you have pictured!) and wondered if it was possible to just paint over it! So glad the answer is yes! Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. Hi Pamela, the transformation of your hubby's trunk is absolutely fabulous. Even he must admit that you did a fabulous job and now it has a duel purpose. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  26. Beautifully done! I love the color before you painted it but you have taken it to a different level! Gorgeous with the legs and I am impressed with the utilitarian aspect - your filing system. Looks great in the room. Visiting via The Girl Creative. A new follower!

  27. I love this! PS...Love the colors and theme of your room you've featured! Ran across you on Cherished Bliss! I will be following you too!

  28. this is amazing! featuring you at the next crafty soiree party on thursday! xo

  29. ps newest follower ( -:

  30. I just love this trunk! I just purchased one myself and am looking for inspiration. Great job!

  31. PS: Featuring this at tonight's party! Yay!

  32. OMG !!!!!!!!!! I have two of these from when my Dad was in World War II ! this would be an awesome way to use them and think of him every time....thank you for this tutorial!


    p.s. i love your entire room! XO

  34. This looks fantastic!! I have a smaller trunk I used to use as a kid when I went to camp...been trying to figure out what to do with it...maybe a storage unit will be in the works for me ;) I found you on CraftOManiac and am now following. I would love it if you stopped by and checked out my blog! Haute To Sew

  35. I have an empty trunk just like that! AND I have legs from something we made before and are no longer using!!! WOW!! THANK YOU!! You have some mad skillz! :) lol

  36. How did you make the troughs in the wood to hang the folders? What tool or did you buy them like that?

    This looks great and I have a trunk sitting next to me with a pile of folder waiting for this transformation. You did a wonderful job to repurpose this!

  37. I'm not sure if my first comment went through but how did you make the troughs in the wood to hang the folders? What tool?

    I have a trunk sitting next to me waiting for this transformation. You did a wonderful job repurposing an old piece! Excellent job.

    Have you considered putting the paper one puts in drawers under the lid of the trunk?

  38. How lovely and functional! I have that same bedding too add I love it :)

  39. I was thinking of doing something like this already & I love the legs you chose. Are those 6-inch legs or 9-inch legs? I bought both because I wasn't sure what would look best. Yours look just right! PLEASE tell me which height you chose! Thanks, Natalie @

    1. Thank you Natalie! They're 6" and it's a perfect height against our bed which is actually very tall too.


    2. Thank you so much! :) I'll be sure to link up to your page when I finish mine. Should be in the next week or two. There are other projects I must finish first. (My husband hates when I have 8 half-finished projects lying around! hahaha)

  40. Swoon...Love...Squeal. Bravo - this is gorgeous!

  41. It's awesome, Pamela! Great job!!!

  42. Shut the front door! That is AWEsome! What a great job; such a transformation! Wanna make me one? ;) I'm so impressed, and I'm thrilled that you entered One Crafty Contest! Good luck!

  43. This is so smart and an easy way to organize your business and household files. Thanks for joining One Crafty Contest because this is awesome, xoxo

  44. What a WONDERFUL transformation! I just voted for you to make it through to the next round of the One Crafty Contest!

  45. I LOOOOOOOVE this!!!!! I am visiting from the One Artsy Mama Craft Contest. I am a new follower! I hope you will stop by and do the same.


  46. this is so inspiring! do you mind sharing the dimensions of this trunk? thank you!

  47. First of all, I am in love with your entire bedroom! And, being that my husband is in the army and has a ton of these trunks laying's a perfect project for me to do! :) I was wondering if I could get your opinion, our bedroom has a rustic feel to it, much like your AMAZING headboard. And our furniture is kind of cream/off white with a light wood look also. Would you suggest doing another color for the trunk? Also, how would you reinforce it to make it stable enough for a bench. (I would love for my husband to be able to sit on it to put his boots on in the morning). I would so appreciate your advice--I'm trying to be more creative and starting a few DIY projects, I just need a little help :)

    Thanks so much!!

  48. Hey Pamela! Imissed this post of yours last year! How fun and it fits right in with that rockin printer drawer you made :) pinning

  49. I am so thankful you did this post! I recently bought the same exact trunk at an antique store and was baffled when I realized it was too short as a coffee table. I can't wait to do this project!

  50. I am so glad I found this post! I recently bought the same exact trunk at an antique store and was baffled when I realized the trunk was too short as a coffee table. I can't wait to try this project!


Love hearing back from my readers, you make my day! Thanks, Pamela of PBJstories

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