• Decorative Storage Chests

    An old pine chest can make an ideal place to store all kinds of things. Use it for towels and linens or as a toy chest for a child's room. With a little work, you can decorate that chest so that it looks great in any setting and goes with your decor. You can also put some padding on top, making it a comfortable place to sit. One way to decorate the chest is with different colored "bricks" of paint created by craft sponges.

    In addition to the chest, here's what you'll need:

    • Sandpaper, tack cloth, and dust mask
    • Multipurpose primer
    • Off-white latex paint
    • Acrylic craft paint in the colors of your choice
    • Upholstery foam, 3 inches thick
    • Upholstery fabric, decorative trim if desired, fabric glue, and staple gun
    • Flat foam paintbrushes and one cellulose sponge per "brick" color
    • Painter's or masking tape
    • Craft knife
    • Paper towels, chalk pencil, straightedge, and scissors
    • Sealer

    1) Sand - Sand the trunk and wipe it with a tack cloth.

    2) Prime - Apply two coats of primer. Let each coat dry.

    3) Paint - Apply two coats of off-white latex paint. Let each coat dry.

    4) Create the grid - Divide each side of the trunk into a grid of rectangles, each one as large as the sponge blocks you will be using with 1/4 inch channels in between the blocks. Create the blocks straight up and down or stagger them as you like.

    5) Sponge - Use a separate sponge and paper plate palette for each color. Wet the sponge with water and wring out excess moisture. Press the sponge into the paint and remove excess with paper towels. Press the sponge firmly onto the surface. If you have any drips, wipe them up while the paint is still wet.

    6) Seal - Wait for the paint to dry thoroughly. Use two coats of sealer on each side of the trunk.

    7) Cushion - Measure the top of the trunk to determine the size of cushion you need. Many craft stores will cut a 3-inch thick foam cushion to the size you request. Or you can do the cutting yourself. Purchase enough upholstery fabric to cover the top, go around the sides and tuck in under the bottom to staple. Adding 8 inches to each side of the dimensions of the top of the chest should be plenty. Put the foam pad on the trunk lid and fold the fabric over it. Staple the fabric to the underside of the lid, mitering it at the corners. Glue trim along the perimeter if you like.