How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover

Today I am sharing how to strip paint. I gave this old trunk a transformation and removed the old chippy white gloss paint and gave it a makeover. This was my first time to strip paint and I am delighted with how it turned out. Stripping paint isn’t fun but I will share how I stripped mine and it was easier than I expected. I also have a Youtube video for this post and you can see how I transformed this trunk below.

How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​
How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​

Heat gun v’s chemical stripper

I had spent some time researching what would be the best way to strip paint. I settled on getting a heat gun instead of getting the chemical stripper. I watched some Youtube videos and I read some blog posts and in the end, I settled on the gun. You have to be careful with both techniques and use safety measures, however, I felt more confident using a heat gun than a chemical stripper. When it comes to liquids I easily spill them and strong odours give me a migraine. I also liked that the heat gun was instant and I didn’t have to wait for any chemical strippers to bubble up.

How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​

A common question I get asked is “do I have to strip paint?”, “can I just paint over it?”. As you can see from the before picture, this trunk was really chipped and there were stains bleeding through from the knotty pine. As it was so chipped if I applied paint over this it could still chip, the new paint wouldn’t penetrate the wood. As I always say, you wouldn’t apply fresh put make up on a dirty face? I have been painting furniture a few years now and my experience has thought me to do a good prep regardless of what a tin of paint claims. The pieces in my home that I properly prepped have lasted over time. The ones were I skipped prep and cut corners now need to be redone.

Before I got started with my heat gun I made sure to use a protective mask so I wouldn’t breathe in any fumes from the paint. I also had a sharp scraper to hand. Using the heat gun was simple. It is basically like a super hot hairdryer. I followed the instructions that came with my gun. I went around the trunk section by section and I held the gun on the paint until it started to blister. I then scraped away the paint using the scrapper and the paint fell off. You can see in the video below how easy it was. It took me roughly one hour to completely strip my trunk and clean up. Underneath all of the chippy white paint was this orange pine wood. I do like pine however I hate the orange varnished look that it can have so I decided to sand it and paint it.

After I stripped the trunk I gave the whole piece a sanding using my electric sander. I wanted to strip off the top layer of varnish before I applied the paint. I also sanded a little extra off the top of the trunk as I wanted to expose this wood and whitewash it. After I sanded the trunk I used some Krud Kutter to clean away any grime and residue from sanding. I then applied one coat of Zinsser BIN. The BIN primer is shellac-based and will stop any knots from bleeding through my paint. Once my primer has dried I then went in and applied two coats of Colortrend “Aged Vellum”. You might remember this paint from my cabinet makeover. I had half a tin leftover from the cabinet project so I decided to paint my trunk the same colour to match my cabinet.

How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​
How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​
How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​ Colortrend Aged Velum

Whitewashing the top

I decided I wanted to show off the wood detail on the top of this piece. It still had an orange hue after sanding it so I decided to whitewash it. I watered down some white chalk paint and I washed it over the top using a paintbrush. If you apply the paint too thick then don’t worry as you can wipe it off. Check out my video below to see how I achieved the whitewash effect. I then applied some clear matt varnish to seal the top of the blanket box.

How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​

I used some Rub n’ Buff to lighten up the original hardware. I wanted to make the gold hardware pop against the new paint job so I applied some of the gold Rub n Buff to the hardware. I then screwed them back on and I love how they look against the green paint. 

How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​
How To Strip Paint, Trunk Makeover​

I am delighted with my finished trunk. I originally got this trunk for free and I had it in my bedroom for ages. I am so happy I finally got around to giving it a makeover. I was dreading stripping the paint but I am surprised with how easy it was by using the heat gun. I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Let me know if you have any pieces in your home that need to be stripped bare and redone. You can tag me over on Instagram, comment below or comment on my Youtube video below.

If you have any painting questions then check out my furniture painting FAQ blog post here.

Thanks for reading,

Chat soon,


Please Pin the image below to your Pinterest boards

DIY blanket box makeover


  1. daintydressdiaries
    March 10, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    Hi Julie, The cabinet is the same paint I used for the blanket box, I had loads left in the tin of paint. The bed frame is Autentico eggshell in the shade ice cream x Thanks for reading, have fun painting x

  2. March 8, 2019 / 10:08 pm

    Catherine , your wooden chest looks very smart . I bought some rub & buff can’t wait to use it on them shoe box handles . What color green is that cabinet in your master bedroom ? Also what color is the head board ? I’m still inspired , also it’s all getting me through a a very low time . So it’s onwards and upwards , for me thanx to you Julie .

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