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DIY: Harry Potter Trunk

Around the holidays, i find myself using the “I dont have time” excuse a lot. And when you replace “I dont have time” with “its not important enough to me,” (because that reall honestly is what you’re saying) you look at it a different way.

I do try to remember that i should take priority to the things i give excuses for like spending time with my friends, going out with coworkers, having a social life at all really. I do want balance in life and thats part of thr balance but holiday time, sadly, i for real do NOT have the time. 

Holidays mean time with family, gift giving, family dinners, yadda yadda and everyone knows that takes up lots of time. For me, its the gift giving that sucks up much of my time. Being in the low to middle class salary range, gift time sucks a lot out of me, and not just from my wallet. Im a maker and crafter and creator. I love coming up with unique personalized gifts for people but the problem is, sometimes i cant find the things im looking for. Or when i do, theyre way out of my price range... so i make them instead. And making them takes hours.

This year, my son has learned about Harry Potter. And being a HUGE Harry Potter fan, this was the most exciting thing to me. I get to introduce my son to the world of magic and wizards. Of COURSE we start with book 1. I definitely wasnt about to let him watch any movies because they are pretty scary for a 4 year old.

Unfortunately, someone let the cat out of the bag on that one and let him watch the first movie... grandparents are such pushovers! Lol i stopped it there though. No more movies until hes six (and even thats pushing it for me on the age thing).

Ok ok, im rambling, sorry. Getting to the point! His excitement inspired some awesome Christmas gifts this year, one of them being a trunk like the ones the students of Hogwarts pack their magical things in when heading off to school.

This took a bit of planning as i had no idea where to get a trunk. Buying anything like the ones from the movies was out of the question. Making one was a better option but even finding a lookalike that i could paint was STILL too expensive. And this is including all the ones for sale on the facebook marketplace.

And then it happened. I found what i was looking for after rummaging through the attic for my christmas decorations. I had a smaller vintage trunk from a yardsale a few years back. This would have to do! I could just paint it and it would be perfect!

And the project begins...


Step 1: Gather Supplies!

1. Trunk

2. Primer

3. Various paint colors - I used these below. Not that I preferred these brands, i chose purely based on color and price. The bigger bottle was my base coat, hence, the larger quantity.

4. Polyurethane

5. Some kind of covering for the handle (optional)

6. A stencil or decal of your choice (optional)

Step 2: Prime

I am embarrassed to say that i went against my better judgement and did not prime this to save time. I do regret it. I recomend sticking to this step if you want your trunk to be a tad more durable paint wise.

Step 3: Paint

So here is what i had to start out with.

I first covered the whole trunk in the cocoa brown paint. Priming would have helped here as i had to do two coats to cover the red parts. The paint didnt stick very well to this. Take it from me, PRIME EVERY TIME.

Next was a little more fun. I took the honey color and espresso and half mixed them to give the trunk a worn out/aged look. There was no dimension to the trunk with just one solid color on it. Very unauthentic looking.

I almost treated this step like blending base makeup and contouring. Where would the trunk be more worn out? Thats where the lighter color went. Against the hardware? More dark. Blend. Blend. Blend. I also used a very cheap long bristled brush (if i could do it over, i would pick a short bristled brush or maybe a sponge). I was extremely happy with how this turned out reguardless of the brush choice.

Painting the hardware was a little more difficult. I couldnt tape anything off because the tape would pull of all the paint already there, so i had to hand paint them. If i was able to take them off and spray paint them separately, i would have just done that. In hindsight, I should have spray painted the hardware first with gold rustoleum paint/primer Before painting anything else. Theyd be done a lot quicker and i wouldnt have to worry about them. But its my first time painting a trunk. Its all trial and error. I‘ll be a pro at this whenever kid #2 comes along.

Hand painting the hardware it is. This took a lot of coats but it was worth it! This i guess was personal preference too, i could have left the hardware silver but i wanted the gold. Its your trunk, be creative! Do whatever colors you want to do!

Cant forget about the initials on the side!

Step 4: Decals and Accents

For this, i bought these Hogwarts decals off amazon. You can get them by clicking here.

You could also find a stencil of the Hogwarts crest if you really wanted and use that. Probably find one on Etsy. I have prime though, so i went with the “free” shipping that im paying for.

I put the decals on first, before the top coat because in a lot of the reviews on these stickers, the artwork rubbed off of them. Of course, this was because people had put them on things like their phones, things that were handled many times throughout the day. But i figured that having the polyurethane going over those as well wouldnt hurt and keep them in good shape.

Step 5: Top Coat

Since I skipped the primer, i had to put a top coat of polyurethane on the trunk so the paint wouldnt all scrape off the first day it was used. I did do some research on this but ended up just asking the guy at Sherwin Williams what would be the best option. I ended up getting Minwax Helmsman clear coat.

Clear coat, waterbase, satin finish. Water based because oil probably would have really ruined the paint. I really didnt have the time to try and test things and since i already hacked the paint, i went with a top coat that was safe.

Good protection and waterproof. Not sure i really needed waterproof with THIS project but i do have other projects that need waterproofing...

And its finished!

The finished product! Ready for Hogwarts! Im very happy with how it turned out despite having to kind of guess and go with what i had. Under the tree it goes with the rest of the Harry Potter goodies.


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