Foot Locker into a Fairy-tale Chest

(Disclaimer: none of these stores or brands have bribed me or paid for any sort of sponsorship. They just happen to be the ones I frequent and or like to use.)

What is this you ask? This lovely creation was originally a foot locker that I received over a year ago that has gotten a makeover.

Now I will fully admit that I am a bad, bad and did I say bad? DIY blogger. I SUCK at remembering to take pictures. Now I am not necessarily  talking about this project. I actually started this project before I started this blog. Allow me to describe how this foot locker looked when I received it. This particular foot locker was a bright blue with a black trim. The inside was in fair condition and in truth, this trunk was the best of the three but I still gave it a face lift. This one, is one of three and at this point all three have had a make over.

Allow me to tell you how this project began. It all started back in November when I began to think of what to make the Husband for Yule.You see, every year I make at least one hand made gift for him. So I began to ponder what that Yule’s gift would be. I racked my brain on what he needed and then it clicked for me. I had two foot lockers available, the third one is serving as a toy box, and he had tons of art items without a proper home. So, I painted one of the empty foot lockers white, he likes to draw on things so I figured to give him a blank canvas, filled it with storage items for his art supplies and set it on legs so he could even use it as a table. It turned out so freaking awesome that when it came to the journey of Steampunking our home, it wasn’t a reach to do something similar for our living room. I also saw the ability to use the foot locker to store the projects and tools I was currently using in the house so I was not constantly running back and forth between the house and the shop.

With the idea formed I just needed to decide how I was going to make the foot locker in question Steampunky. It didn’t take me too long to think of something. You see, back when the Husband and I were discussing Steampunking our home, we decided on themes for each room. Our living room is our Fantasy/Natural Steampunk room. It only made sense for us to choose those particular themes as our dominating entertainment stand is stained crates with an ivy pattern wood burned into them.We also have a fair amount of fantasy items in out living room that mixes wonderfully with the our natural elements. I also have a deep love of nature and fantasy so it’s not a challenge for me to want to or even come up ideas. The foot locker was going to be our Fairy-taled chest.

Off to our local book store, Half Price Books, I went to hunt for a fairy tale book that was older but not so old that my inner book lover would sob hysterically at ripping it apart. I found what I was looking for during the first hunt. It was an older book with Victorian drawings but still new enough that I only cringed slightly when I dismantled it. I snapped that book up for around $5. Before I could begin my Matte Mod Podge paste fest of the book, I needed to get those border pieces looking better so it was off to Lowe’s for some spray paint. Now the paint that I used is Rust-oleum’s hammered copper. The effect is beautiful, at least in my eyes, and can make non metal look very metalish.

Now normally I would tape everything off but in this instance I did not because of two words, bright blue. The trunk was originally bright blue and I did not want this showing through my pages just in case the pages were light enough to allow that blue to peek through. The hammered copper toned it way down and I was no longer worried about any unsightly peek through. After I was happy that everything was properly covered, I began the joys of mod podging the book paged to foot locker with a  1″ Dollar Store brush.

Now I personally do not water down my Mod Podge when I am working on a project like this. Some people like to add some water to make it go further or they aren’t looking for a consistency that is so thick. Both reasons make sense and if when you do a project similar to this and you want to water your Mod Podge down, go for it. Experiment. That is what DIY is all about, at least in my eyes. Now, the reason why I use Dollar Store brushes in a project like this is simple; I normally destroy my brushes quickly and would rather not fork out $8 per project.

I did not, please read that again, I did not cut my pages to go around my borders before I glued them on. I highly recommend that if you do a project like this, find a good xacto knife and make friends with it. Trust me when I say that it is much easier to just go around everything with a SHARP xacto knife once everything has DRIED. Please notice that I said and underlined the word dried. Do NOT try to cut while things are still wet. Things will only rip and you will have to go back and touch them up which can be a bigger pain in the butt if you allow your impatience to rule you.

Once the outside and inside was covered to my liking and fully dried, I took a piece of coarse 220 sandpaper, gave myself a paper-cut with it too, and sanded down the glued book pages. That’s right, you read that right, I sanded the book pages. I did this for two reasons. One, I wanted to get the excess glue off so there would be nothing to hamper the absorption of the tea I would be applying to give the pages an aged look.  Two, I was really looking for a weathered look and figured that the sandpaper would give me the best look I was searching for. It sure did. I loved how it turned out.

After I got the sanding done, I applied my tea stain. I used a simple black tea. Lipton works great too and tends to be cheaper than what the Husband picked up when I had put tea on the grocery list expecting to get Lipton. The tea added a lovely stain that I was looking for but I wasn’t done just yet when it came to what I was looking for. The last step when I came to weathering the foot locker involved a lighter and rubbing alcohol. (Please do not do this last step unless you are over the 18, in a well ventilated room, have something to extinguish the fire close by in case it gets out of hand and are doing this safely. This step can be dangerous as the flames on the inside of the foot locker can get rather high as it is in an enclosed area.) I punctured the top of the bottle of the rubbing alcohol and randomly sprayed down the foot locker. The alcohol burns quickly and in my opinion hot, but I suggest using a small amount at first until you are comfortable with this step.

This is the top of the foot locker after it has been tea stained and burned.

Top of the Trunk
The outside was easier to disperse the flames and get more of a slightly even burning effect.

And here is the inside of the chest. The burning got a little bit more crazy on the inside, hence my warning of watching how you burn in an enclosed space such as this.

Inside of the Trunk
I wish I could have gotten the sides burned more but the inside was bloody difficult.

Now that the chest was finished, it was time to go back to Lowes and get the legs and top plates for the foot locker to make it a chest. I went for the Waddell Pine End Table Legs (0.125″ x 14″). They stain wonderfully and give me the perfect height.

Legs before Stain
$5.48 for each of the legs and $2.08 for the top plate at my local Lowes. Not bad prices.

Now I knew from doing the Husbands foot locker that I was going to need an additional bottom on the inside. The screws for the top plate are long and the chest is just thin enough that a small portion of the screw will stick out in the bottom. So I took some wood lath that I got from Lowes as well and cut it into 2’5″ sections with my brand new shiny and fun corded skil saw. I nailed the piece together with three cross piece that are located on the underside. The photo below shows the top side.

Bottom before Stain
Unstained bottom inserts on top of my very messy workbench.

Three, yes that is right, three coats of MiniWay Bombay Mahogany PolyShades and this is the result.

Stained Legs
Stained table legs.
Bottom Stained
Stained insert for the bottom.

It was time to put it all together and put some minor touches on it to make everything really pop. I didn’t want to use gears at all on this project and I really tried to resit. I ended up using a couple on the top piece to really make it pop and then a couple more on the latches. I found a cute bracelet bangle of scissors and other sewing things that I really liked. I placed it over the key hole as there is no reason for this chest to ever be locked. I also put a small octopus down at the bottom of the locking area. The handle of the chest mildly hides him but I wanted to include an octopus as I am trying to link a small item/theme from each room to the others so there is a slight coherent feel. Tada, this is what we get.

The Bottom is In
All put together and ready for all of my crafting supplies.
Close up of Trunk
A close up of the front. I tried to keep the gears to a minimum and tried to incorporate other themes that will be used it the house.
All Done
Fairy-tale chest ready to be used for hidden treasures.

I have to say I rather like how this turned out.This project was a little time consuming as there was a lot of waiting for drying to occur but so far it hasn’t been the most time consuming project I have worked on. On a scale of one to ten for complexity, I would give it a 5 mainly because of all the detailed cutting that was required with the xacto knife. If you have any questions or comments about this week’s project, please feel free to drop me a line.

Next week’s project: Cthulhu teapot.

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