A map-ster of disguise

Let me just start out by apologizing for this post title.... I'm so sorry you had to read that. And even sorrier I wrote it.

If there's one thing Eric and I enjoy doing in regards to home decor, it's getting furniture on the cheap. If there are two things, it's getting furniture on the cheap and then hacking that furniture to make it a little more customized to "us."

If there's a third thing (there's always a third thing), that would be turning someone else's trash into our treasure. Thankfully, a popular television show has reformed "dumpster diving" into "American picking." And that's exactly how our latest project began.

Shortly after the new year, Eric noticed our neighbors across the street were tossing out a big wooden trunk. You already know about Eric's new-found obsessed with old boxes. It was just sitting there, by their recycling bin, teasing Eric through our front picture window. Realizing they were not at home, Eric took the opportunity to scamper across the street, pluck up the trunk and bring it back to our house a full 35 seconds before I witnessed them pulling into their driveway, right next to where the trunk used to sit. This would surely make for an awkward encounter and wouldn't exactly win us the "coolest neighbors on the block" award (though perhaps our obnoxious Christmas lights already knocked us out of the running for the title), but at least he got away with it by the skin of his teeth.

Anyway, once the trunk was rightfully (I guess?) ours, what were we to do with it? We figured, in case we ever do become good friends with our neighbors, we should disguise the trunk as much as we possibly could. Eric got to work right away.

First, he sanded down the trunk and primed it, as the best way to fool your neighbors into believing the trunk in your house was not once part of their garbage is by painting it a completely different color.

In this instance, the color to mask the trunk was Behr's Mossy Green, which we initially bought months ago when planning to paint a dresser in the guest room, but later changed our minds.

Two coats later, it was a nice, shiny change. But we knew it needed more. 

To give it a little lift, Eric picked up some wooden legs from Home Depot to attach to the bottom of the trunk.

Then he stained them a deeper color to give them a rich finish.

All together now.

A big change, but once we brought it up to the guest room, where it will live, we agreed it was missing something... It was a lot of green on one piece of furniture, and it needed a little more detail. I scoured stores for pretty wrapping paper to cover the top, but couldn't find anything that would fit with the room's color and the bright green of the painted trunk.

After sitting on the idea for a week or so, it finally popped into my head - a map! A map would look great adorning the "new" green trunk. I just so happened to have a couple of old Ohio maps that, for whatever reason, were still stuffed in one of my car's side pockets nearly four years after I moved away, so I figured what better way to pay homage to my home state than to have a map of it plastered onto a piece of furniture in our house?

I laid the map out on top of the trunk and measured where I'd need to cut. I wanted to fit all the places I lived in Ohio on the trunk, but alas, the distance between my hometown of Greenville and my collegiate town of Athens (Go Bobcats) were just too far apart. The eastern portion of Ohio had to be snipped from the trunk, as including my hometown (located on the west border of the state) was the most important place I wanted to include.

Once I had the map cut to size, I worked on getting it adhered to the top of the trunk. This is where your best friend and mine (I'll fight you for its honor), Modge Podge, came into play. If you've never used Modge-Podge before, it's essentially a slightly-watered-down glue that's a great adhesive and sealant... especially if you're working with paper products. I simply added a medium layer of Modge Podge directly to the top of the trunk, lined up my map all straight, then added a couple of coats of Modge Podge directly on top of the map, making sure to flatten out any bubbles as I went. I also paid close attention to the edges of the map, and made sure they molded to the edges of the trunk to ensure clean lines.

We also added a fun little knob to the lid of the trunk, which I picked up for $1 from a World Market store that was having a store-closing clear out months ago. 

Now, while I do like the changes we've made to it, I feel like there's still something missing.... I like it needs a little more. Something stenciled on the front? I'm not sure. But I'm still not 100% satisfied with it, even though the Ohio map on top did turn out really nicely.

Heck, even a little bit of Kentucky and Michigan make an appearance!

One thing's for sure, though, I'm fairly confident that if our across-the-street neighbors came over and happened to traipse into our gust room, they would never know that this bright-green trunk was once considered a piece of their garbage. 

Unless, of course, they begin reading this blog.

Dang it.


  1. Love the map idea!! You guys are so creative.

  2. I thank you for the information and articles you provided


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