Creating the Look of an Heirloom Sign on a Trunk

Cathy and I really enjoy the creative process.  It started before we got married as we refinished some old furniture pieces that my parents were going to get rid of.  In 1976, my dad painted a lot of our furniture red, white and blue in honor of our country’s bicentennial.  He also loved high gloss enamel paint.  Let me tell you, that stuff was hard to get off.  This is a picture of our first creative endeavor.  We will NEVER get rid of this piece. It represents the beginning of our creative journey together.

Wooden Dome Top Trunk


Fast forward about 27 years and you will find Cathy and I involved in many of the same pursuits but now we are armed with some knowledge and skill.  We came across another trunk on one of our thrifting trips and we intended to just paint it a solid color and perhaps distress it a bit.  Nothing major, just spruce it up a bit.    The piece sat in storage as we were busy working on other pieces but we would occasionally talk about it.  ‘It’s in pretty rough shape’, ‘It would make a cute little coffee table’, ‘Let’s just keep it simple’ were some of the comments being bantered about. Now, I must vent just a little.  I love my wife and she is amazing but she will often get so excited to start a piece of furniture that she forgets to take the “before” picture.  UUUUGGGG.  So, all I have is a picture of the piece after we repaired it and painted it.  We intended to sell it just like this.  It is lovely and simple.

Painted Trunk

But, the creative bug just can’t be squelched, and after it was painted, Cathy began to think…and plot…and plan.  You see, she has developed a love of old graphics, signs and advertising.  So, she decided that she would paint an old sign on the top of the trunk.  Great.  She did a wonderful job planning the colors and painting the lettering.  I loved it. (UPDATE: Follow this link to read a tutorial on an easy way to use your computer to help create a template for the lettering on a sign.)

Sign Lettering

Then she decided there was too much negative space so she painted these lovely scrolls on the top to compliment the sign.

Trunk with Scrolls

Now it was done and ready for varnish.  She was happy and it was lovely.  That is where I stepped in.  You see, there was this cool little inset on the front of the box that was set off by some lovely architectural details.

Cathy made her sign about seeds and when I think of seeds I think of flowers and guess what I like to do? You got it, I like to paint florals.  So, I had a “canvas” to fill and the perfect flower to go in that canvas, peonies.  I suggested this idea to Cathy and she grinned from ear to ear.  “Perfect” she said.  So off I went.

Flower Being Painted

And this is the lovely piece that we ended up with.

Hand Painted Peonies


Heirloom Trunk with Signage and Flowers

We are so thrilled with this piece.  We both agree that this one will definitely will be hard to part with but there is just no more room.  So off it goes….

Please come back and visit us soon,


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