Skip to Content

Painting a Vintage Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint

Sharing is caring!

After generations of travelling across the Atlantic ocean and back I have acquired a collection of vintage metal trunks! See how simply painting old trunks can give them a whole new life!

An beat-up vintage metal trunk painted with Old Fashioned Milk Paint.

Painting Old Trunks

Disclosure: I was compensated for doing this post with product.  However, all the opinions stated here are my own.

In my trusty old basement we have a whole lot of trunks. Not exactly what most folks have, but then again we are not most folks. We have traveled the Atlantic many times over. My husband’s family and my own have moved to the US and back again. So it should come as no surprise that we have so many trunks.  

Trunk Before, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

In fact, I counted about five last time I looked. One of them got a makeover a few years ago with decoupage and became the Chivalrous Trunk.  But the rest were in pretty bad shape.  After years in the basement (where else would they be) it was time for a makeover!  I had to drag this one upstairs to work on her.

As you may know I am an Old Fashioned Milk Paint Brand Blogger and I was curious to see if this true milk paint would work on metal. And so today I am going to show you how to revive a metal trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint. 

How to Revive a Vintage Metal Trunk

I started by cleaning off years worth of dirt and dust, using a vinegar and water solution.

After cleaning with vinegar and water solution, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

I was going to paint it myself but instead I got one of my girls to do it. Nothing like having her do a little work for some extra money.  My girl is an artist so I was not worried about the results. And Old Fashioned Milk Paint is safe and friendly for the environment.  

I should point out here that I used the SafePaint version of Milk Paint.  There is also a regular version which allows for chippiness to occur.  But in this case we did not want any chips on the trunk.  It already had plenty of dents. For a natural time worn look!​

Paint colors Snow White and Pitch Black, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

We mixed Pitch Black and Snow White to create a soft grey.  This is not rocket science folks.  I just added the white in a jar and then just kept on adding the black till I reached the color I wanted.  Oh and I added equal parts warm water to the powder. I let it rest for about 20 minutes and I was good to go.  It turns into a nice foamy mixture. 

You can see just how much I love my milk paint, I ordered a big batch of it. I keep it in jars.  In fact you can mix up only the amount you want and store the unused portion for up to 3 days in the fridge. ​

Here we are after a few coats of Old Fashioned Milk Paint.  I love that I can just custom mix any color I want so easily!​

applying the paint, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

The final steps were to add wax in order to seal the paint. You can even make your own beeswax furniture polish!

adding the beeswax, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

And of course to gussy up the hardware.  I even added some wax to the handles.

wax on handle, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

I just love the metallic burnished brass against the soft gray!​

metallic lustre burnished brass on hardware, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

My girl only painted some of the hardware.  There was also a bunch of metal strips going up and down the trunk but we decided in this case, less is more. ​

Finished trunk, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

Here you can see all the metal studs and the strip that I was talking about right in front of the basket.​

the top of trunk, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com
hardware, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

I purposely didn’t mix the powder too much because I wanted this effect of different shades. Can you see it?  It almost looks like a cloud effect.​

soft brushstrokes for a cloudy effect, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com
lots of dents on top, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

It is finally presentable and can take its place in the house instead of the basement! And I’ll actually be able to use it for storage!​

metal trunk painted with milk paint, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

I must admit I’ve had this for a month now and am very impressed with this true milk paint.  I had never seen milk paint used on metal before but it was a breeze for painting this old metal trunk.

reviving a metal trunk with old fashioned milk paint, How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

And that is my how-to on painting old trunks with Old Fashioned Milk Paint. I have a gorgeous “new” trunk and my kid has a few extra bucks in her pocket! A win-win for sure. 

Now tell me, what should I do with the other trunks?

Have you ever tried to revive an old metal trunk? I had great results using Old Fashioned Milk Paint. How to Revive a Metal Trunk with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, www.theboondocksblog.com

If you like what you see, share it with your friends, or save it on Pinterest.  Above is a Pinterest worthy image!

​If you really like what you see subscribe to my blog and get my adventures twice a week in your mailbox. The form is on the sidebar and on top.  Your e-mail will never be shared with a third party.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Upcycled Bookcases and How to Avoid Mistakes- The Boondocks Blog

Thursday 26th of November 2020

[…] far I’ve shared some areas of this space with you, the beach table, the trunk and the happy chairs just to name a few.  Today I am going to show you an upcycled bookcase […]

Cindy

Thursday 20th of April 2017

What a beautiful transformation on the trunk. Love how it turned out. I have a big red one. I need to drag it out! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Mary

Friday 21st of April 2017

Ohh Red! I can see that as a centerpiece for a room Cindy! Go for it!!

[email protected]

Thursday 20th of April 2017

Your basement must be a treasure trove of goodies Mary! You really cleaned her up all nice and spiffy and it looks fabulous! (I'm not sure if you're aware, but the social media icons on the left of your blog block the some of the text. I think here's a way to resize them to avoid that). xxx

Mary

Friday 21st of April 2017

Doreen I have so many and so many ideas for them all. I just need to find the right spots for them. Thanks for mentioning that about the sm icons. I think it has to do with what you are reading this on. If it is a tablet it might be that. I will look into making it smaller, Thanks again!

Jan

Thursday 20th of April 2017

I love the way it turned out!!!! I have a old hump back trunk that I need to redo.......totally wondering what to do with it. Not working on it soon as we are in the process of moving, but every time I look at it I wonder - LOL!! I brought my grandfather's sea trunk back to life in black and silver - looks awesome!!

Mary

Friday 21st of April 2017

Jan don't feel bad. I've been looking at these trunks for years and years. But now there is no avoiding it. I need more storage and they are great for that. Black and silver sounds great! I always love black but in this case, it was going into a room which needed a different aesthetic.

Amber Harrop

Thursday 20th of April 2017

I adore this trunk Mary it is a gorgeous transformation and the new hardware looks great on it

Mary

Friday 21st of April 2017

Amber would you believe me if I told you the hardware is the original, I just spruced it up with the metallic lustre. Gotta love the power of paint.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.