This is the ” before”  picture. We went to a junk-and-poultry farm auction in Dundee one Saturday, looking for gears and dials for the steampunk-our-bathroom project, and I ended up hauling home an enormous, dilapidated steamer trunk because it was only five bucks.  It was mildewed and musty and full of broken wooden drawers which apparently had once fit inside of it.  My ever patient hubby just gave me that look, and then found a way to drag it through the mud and chicken poop, and load it into the van.  “Only five bucks!” I kept announcing to my family on the way home. The kids, who were wedged into their seats on either side of my find, seemed unimpressed by the bargain.

I hauled it into the house, where it took up about as much room as a small recreational vehicle.  I rubbed orange oil furniture polish all over the outside, and it looked (and smelled) a lot better, but the inside was pretty ragged. It had clearly once been lined with fabric of some sort, and ratty bits and glue marks were all that remained. I pulled out the drawer-thingies and hanger-thingies and set to relining the trunk.

Never mind that the spray adhesive I bought cost three times more than the trunk (and the fumes likely killed off both the brain cells I had left from college.)  When I dropped the boys at Scout camp and Jeff and Molly headed for the girl scout dance, I went to the fabric store to look at my options.  I found an authentic vintage civil war era fabric, but choked a bit on the price. I poked around in the quilting bolts, though, and found a very similar fabric for less than half.

I got the thing done in maybe two hours. My secret?  Low standards! I am well schooled in the use of phrases like, “It won’t show from the road!” and “It couldn’t look any worse than it did when I started!” 

The spray adhesive was really annoying… before long I had glued the fabric to my hands, bits of thread and trimming shreds to my nails, and at one point the spray-nozzle of the adhesive popped off the can and stuck firmly to my finger.  Jeff found me the lighter fluid to clean up with (which smells like my childhood… grandma was forever getting pine sap off my hands and out of my hair.)

I am kind of fascinated with the innovation involved here: this was a trunk that coould be loaded on some steam-conveyed transportation, and then stood on end, opened like a book, and used as a dresser. On the left side are hanger-type racks that lock in place for shipping, and on the right, a series of drawers with tie-downs for the contents.

My plan is to make this into a cupboard for my steam-punky bathroom… finish the drawers in some arty way for bathroom stuff, and hang towels on the hangers maybe. I’m still working that out. Anyway, for now, here’s what I have done. I have to trim the fabric around the drawer slides, maybe paint the slides, and add ribbon trim at the edges… but not tonight!

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