Old school trunk

I love a bit of make-do. It’s not possible to run out and buy every beautiful piece of furniture you see and it’s important not to dispose of things “just because”. My mum went to boarding school and therefore had a school trunk, which I used to see in my grandparents’ garden shed as a child.  More recently, when I saw the trunk I knew I could make it into a fully functional piece of furniture that would last forever.  I decided to turn it into a coffee table that would double as storage.  However, I wanted to make it as versatile as possible so I added castors that would allow me to move it around my sitting room as and when needed.  The castors also add some height to it, which make it table-like.

You will need:

1. Vintage trunk or steamer chest

2. x4 castors (choose the size according to the size of your trunk)

3. x4 pieces of mdf (about twice the size of the base of the castor)

4. x16 screws (long enough to drill into the pieces of mdf but not too long that they go through the base of the trunk)

5. Wood glue

6. Screw driver or drill

Old school trunk

You will need: Old school trunk

You will need: Choose castors like these that are lined with rubber so they won’t ruin your floor covering.
Click on the picture to buy these online for £3.30 each.


1. Using the wood glue stick the four pieces of mdf on the base of the trunk. Position them where you will want the castors. You need these pieces of wood because generally the skin of a trunk is very thin so if you tried to drill the castors straight into the trunk the castors would not be very stable and liable to tear the skin of the trunk. Make sure you leave the glue to dry for a couple of hours.

Castor on vintage school trunk

2. Drill the castors into each piece of wood.

Vintage trunk upcycled into coffee table

All finished. How easy was that?

The trunk is now not only a coffee table but it provides a lot of storage. You can fill it with heavy objects and it will still be easy to move as and when needed because of the castors.

I love the vintage feel the trunk brings to my sitting room.

The fact that the trunk still has my mum’s name stuck inside makes me love this piece of furniture even more.


If you, too, would like to buy an old trunk then there are some options from online shops but these do tend to be quite pricey. By far the cheapest way to buy an old trunk is to use eBay: I bought one recently for less than £30.

Vintage metal trunks and chests.

Vintage metal trunks from Scaramanga £100

Vintage old school trunk

Vintage 1920s trunk with original railway labels from Lassco £135


Vintage and shabby chic trunk used as a coffee table.

Trunk used as a coffee table in front of the fire.

Vintage luggage used as storage in bedroom

Vintage luggage used as storage in bedroom.

Stacked vintage trunks

Stack trunks to be used as a lamp table.

Trunk coffee table at Foster House

At Foster House, a photography and film location they have used a trunk as a coffee table in this vintage-inspired sitting room.


Victorian pine toy-chest.

Shabby chic vintage trunk for storage of blankets and quilts.

Store blankets and quilts in an old trunk.

Vintage luggage and trunks used as a bedside table.

Stacked to make a bedside table.

Vintage suitcase upcycled into a bathroom cabinet.

An old suitcase made into a unique bathroom cabinet. Click on the image to find out how to make this.

Upcycled vintage suitcase.

Vintage suitcase with legs added to change its use.

Liberty patchwork heaven

I can not keep my love for everything and anything Liberty London hidden.  What better way to indulge in the joys of Liberty prints than to make a quilt?  Delightful. I have recently done an ‘Intro to Sewing’ class at the lovely Sew Over It sewing cafe in Clapham. Now, I think I will have to go back to Sew Over It to do the ‘Intro to Quilting’ class but in the meantime I just want to have a go. My lovely boyfriend was kind enough to buy me a sewing machine so I am going to put my newly found skills to the test (plus quite a lot of trial and error). So here goes…please forgive all the countless mistakes I am bound to make, as it is my first attempt at sewing solo.

You will need:

1. Fabric squares.

2. Fabric for back of quilt (I used a duvet cover that had a hole in it to save money).

3. Sewing machine.

4. A lot of cotton (I used three reels).

5. Scissors.

6. Rotary cutter and mat if you need to cut the squares.

7. Wadding (search for Dacron on the internet – I got 4m for £3.99).

8. Double sided bias binding 25mm.  You will need up to 5m of length depending on how big your quilt is.


1. Plan your design (sketching it is helpful with the dimensions) and then cut your squares. If you have a cutting board, ruler and rotary cutter this is a really fast, accurate way of doing it. Remember to allow for a 0.5cm seam around each square.

2. Lay out your design. I do it on our spare bed so I don’t have to take up floor space or bend to the floor constantly.

3. Start by sewing the squares right side together. Pin two squares together leaving a 0.5cm seam before sewing.

4. I used a basic straight stitch, which gives a neat finish.

5. It should begin to look like this once you have begun sowing the squares together in rows.

6. You then need to sow the rows together. Pin them together first (you can get away with not pinning small squares together but not long rows).

7. Once all your rows are sewn together you need to cut your backing fabric and wadding to the same size and layer them up with the wadding in the middle.

8. You must pin the three layers together all round the quilt and then sew around all four edges. If you want to attempt quilting the blanket some people recommend gluing the three layers together, before sewing, with an adhesive spray. This keeps the layers stable as quilting can make your layers bunch up.

9. You can leave the blanket as it is at this point or you can try to quilt it.

10. I made a quick sample (with the wadding and backing fabric) to practice some quilting patterns. My sewing machine does not have the right foot for quilting but thought I’d give it a go anyway. I’ve just used parallel lines of straight stitch and a pretty smocking stitch but I wouldn’t recommend this as it takes such a long time.  You can choose whatever colour thread you like, or alternate.

Liberty quilt

12. Parallel lines of quilting

Liberty quilt

13. Smocking stitch (be warned it takes forever and uses so much thread).

Liberty quilt

14. Finished result.

Now for the binding…quite a long, tricky process.

You will need:

bias binding

You will need: Double sided bias binding 25mm.


Binding on quilt

1. Trim the edges of your quilt very close to the stitching.

Binding on quilt

2. Line the top edge of the binding with the very edge of the quilt. Sew along the first crease.

Binding on quilt

3. You then need to fold the binding over the edge of the quilt.

Binding quilt

4. Sew along the binding again very close to the inside edge being sure to pin it as you need to catch the back side of the binding.

5. Your stitching should catch the back side of the binding.

Binding quilt

6. When you get to the corner there are different ways of turning the corner. I decide to cut a square out of the binding as you can see in the picture.

binding quilt

7. Fold the binding as you can see.

Binding quilt

8. You will then be able to fold the binding over and create a neat corner.

Binding quilt

9. Binding, although tricky, really is worth it as it gives a neat finish to your quilt.

Liberty quilt

10. All done!

Now, just need to decide where to put it or who to give it to….