How to Hide Your Tools in Plain Site – Metal Trunk Makeover
When you live in a small space, and you’re a DIY’er you have to get really creative when it comes to finding ways to store and hide your tools. No one wants to see a whole bunch of screwdrivers, hammers, and drills lying around all over the place. And if your small space is a holiday home that you let friends and family use it’s even more important.
Sadly our tools have gone missing in the past. Hey, it happens. People forget that the screwdriver they used to fix the table they broke should go back in the toolbox and not in a suitcase 😀 And I can’t tell you how many times a drill has grown little legs and managed to escape the confines of our holiday home never to be seen again. So here’s what we came up with to hide our tools in plain sight.
No one will guess that THAT beauty is a treasure chest filled with hidden DIY stuff 😉 And it all started with this bent and battered metal trunk that we found at a thrift store.
It’s big and strong enough to hide your tools. Drills, hand saws, screwdrivers, hammers, nails, measuring tape ..…. You get the point 😀 Everything a typical DIY’er needs.
See what I mean. Nobody wants that stuff lying around all over the place. Tools aren’t the prettiest things in the world, but they sure are useful. I’ll be honest it took a bit of work to get metal trunk ready for her hidden storage makeover.
Transforming the Metal Trunk To Create Hidden Tool Storage
Our trunk had a massive dent in the lid, and it wouldn’t close properly. Not much use if you want to hide tools and things inside. Fortunately, we could knock it out with a rubber mallet.
But first, we had to get the lid off.
She was a bit rusty in places, so we scrubbed her down with a wire brush before using a rust-inhibiting metal primer to prepare her for a new coat of black paint.
We also needed a sturdy base so the weight of the tools wouldn’t bend the metal trunk out of shape over time. To reinforce the bottom the hubby used a cardboard box to create a template before cutting a piece of shutterply to fit inside.
The shutterply base had to fit as snuggly as possible to avoid small tools falling into the cracks. So the hubby cut the base down the middle before gluing it together inside the metal trunk.
While the hubby was working on fixing the inside, I could get cracking and make a new top.
Making a New Top For The Metal Trunk
We wanted the trunk to look less trunk-ish and more table-ish. After a little deliberation, we decided to create a brand new top that we could screw onto the lid. That way we could change the look and hide some of the smaller dings we couldn’t get out.
I measured the top and added 4 cm (about 1 ½”) all around. Leftover bits of tongue and groove were glued together and then stuck onto a piece of plywood that had been cut to the correct size.
To neaten the edges I made a box frame from 1″ x 2″ and just glued and screwed it on. Small L-shaped brackets were screwed in underneath to hold the top and sides together.
Time to Make the Table Top Pretty
To get rid of any rough bits we sanded her down lightly before using a heat gun to add some character. Once happy with the overall look we used the dry brush technique to add layers of white and grey chalk paint.
Don’t you love the way the wood goes from boring bleh to wow once it’s been burnt? And by applying the white and grey paint with a dry brush that character still shows through.
Once the paint had dried, we could add the last few finishing touches.
Finishing Off the Metal Trunk
To up the stakes a little we added four metal wheels to the bottom of the metal trunk. We figured that she would be really heavy once all the tools had been packed inside. No ways did we want to try pick her up and move her. The wheels were screwed onto the bottom four corners.
And finally, the lid was reattached to the trunk, and the new tabletop screwed on top.
A beautiful antique lock completes the picture and keeps the tools where they belong. Safely hidden away 😉
I can’t tell you what a difference this little makeover has made. The hidden tool storage fits perfectly and looks like it’s part of the furniture. And I’m so happy with how easy it is to move around depending on where we need it.
What do you think? Is it something you would make for your small space? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Don’t forget to pin it for later if you like this idea to hide your tools.
And to think it all started with a bent and battered metal trunk. Psst if you’d like to know what else we’re hiding behind that metal trunk have a looksee here.
Oh before I forget. If you’re looking for some of the things we used in this makeover, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a tiny commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft ideas for you 😉
And as always, I hope you have a beautiful, craft-filled week.
78 thoughts on “How to Hide Your Tools in Plain Site – Metal Trunk Makeover”
Wow, Beauty as well as functionality. This is a very clever makeover for a small space. I would never even think to look in there for tools. Well done on another great repurpose. And the antique lock definitely needs a mention, it is stunning.
Well if you ever come visit us here in South Africa, I’ll tell you where the key is so you can make stuff while you’re on holiday 😉
Wow!! Sooo good!!
Thank you very much
Absolutely AWESOME! You did an outstanding job, be very proud. ❤
Thank you so very much Naomie
Just posted you on F/B how I have a couple old foot lockers and got some ideas.
Thank you Larry, so glad you got some ideas and I would love to see how those lockers turn out
Love this crafty idea so much! My tools are all kept in a shoe box, but as I’ve gained more over the years, I need somewhere bigger and more practical to store them. This might be just the trick! X
So glad you like the idea Becca. Some of ours used to live in shoeboxes too and those boxes would just collapse after a while with all the weight ?
Genius!!!! I need one of these in my life to hide allll sorts of things!! Tools, craft stuff, my husband LOL! Just kidding!! Such a creative idea, Michelle!!
?LOL, hiding your hubby inside could be interesting ?
It looks so beautiful.
I will do this too.
Thanks so much, I’m glad you like it ?
This is super creative, It looks gorgeous and you are so talented. I would love to show this tutorial to my dad. He would love it.
Thank you so very much Karla, that means a lot to me
Probably going to have to do this for my boyfriend. We’ve been looking for a way to disguise all our tools
Oh cool Brennan, I’m sure your boyfriend will be real happy
That looks fabulous! What an awesome, multipurpose piece of furniture you created 🙂
Thanks so much Sarah
This is so creative of you. Well done!
Thanks so much Joseph ?
Very impressive, you are way more than just a standard DIYer. Loved the project!
Thanks so much for that Tammy ?
Now that’s one classy looking metal tool trunk! Stunning upcycle 🙂
Thanks so much Marie ?
It’s an amazing result! Really love the lock and those wheels have really changed everything. Great job!
Thank you Mel. That lock is really cool, so glad we found it at that little shop
ok, so I don’t have tools to hide, but I have kids. And everyone know kids come with a lot of stuff. I could easily use 4 or 5 of these around our home.
? That’s the best comment ever Cia ?
I need one like this too! You are so far away, I wish you will be closer my friend to make one for me 🙂
Me too Christina. Just imagine the fun we would have together ?
Now, this is what I call a makeover. You certainly know how to create beautiful one of a kind pieces, and sharing the link for the antique lock is so helpful Michelle. As always your project is beautiful.
I’m so happy you like it Leanna, thank you very much
Wow that looks amazing and so funky looking! I love seeing the process you went through to make it – so clever and talented.
Thanks so much Rachel, I’m hoping that by sharing the step by step it will encourage other people to look at discarded items in a different way and maybe they’ll try save something old and turn it into something new ?
What a beautiful transformation! Yall did a wonderful job on it! Perfect way to hide your tools. I love the wooden top, and that it can be moved easily, and that’s a cool lock.
Awwww Linda, thank you. That antique lock just finishes it off so beautifully.
I’ve always had a big love for DIY. Yours is so creative. I would like to transform a metal trunk myself, too.
I’m so happy you found the makeover inspiring Linh, thank you
What a great transformation! If only I’ve seen this sooner.. we just bought a plain ikea storage bench for all our tools!
Oh darn ?, maybe you can transform those Ikea storage benches
This is seriously such a good idea!! I love transforming things to make them look more aesthetically pleasing. Really good job!
Thank you Olivia ?
I didnt believe such brilliant transformation. From something that I will be throwing out into a gem. Love the new look to the max! I liked wheels you added for easy moving.
Thank you so very much Kumamonjeng ?
This is a great way to store stuff and also decorate! I am terrible at this so I will take all the ideas I can get.
Thanks so much Rachel and I’m sure you’re not terrible at decorating. Maybe give it a try one day ?
Oh, Michelle. This is a brilliant transformation. I love the amount of detail that you put into every single thing you do. It looks absolutely adorable, and it’s the perfect way to hide your tools in plain sight!
? Thank you Amy, we really had to make a plan for all those tools
Very nicely done! I can relate from the perspective of having to safely stash away my quilting and sewing supplies, to keep them safe from our fur babies (or to keep THEM safe from swallowing pins and thread, or getting cut on sharp objects).
I love your transformation of the old trunk! Reminds me of one of my favorite shows, Flea Market Flip!
? we have fur babies too and they do tend to want to taste everything we leave lying around ?
What a beautiful transformation and love that rustic vibes! Thanks for sharing the DIY with us!
Only a pleasure Ana, thanks for popping in to say hi
I love this! It looks like something out of a Restoration Hardware catalog. I’m always looking for functional (and good-looking) storage solutions.
Yup, I agree with you Christa, storage doesn’t need to be boring and ugly ?
Wow that’s such a great treasure to update and give life! Love the tutorial. I’ve aways wanted to try things like this I just might now. Thx!
Oh I hope you do give it a try Tosha. I’m sure yours will turn out amazing
Great idea, I would have never guessed there were tools hidden in there.
? Oh that’s good, then we succeeded ?
That trunk is amazing! So creative! I wish I had your skills!
Thanks so much Amanda, I really appreciate that and I bet those skills are hiding inside you somewhere
That looks great! I also like the way it looks with the old picture above it! 🙂
Isn’t that old picture of Charlie Chaplin just so cool. I used to spend hours watching his movies and I still get a giggle every time I see him
I wish i had your talent for arts and crafts. Or I wish I were as creative as you when it comes to giving old things a new life or purpose. Sadly, I am not given such talent. But I like seeing stuff like what you’ve just done. Kudos to you.
? Awww Vance thanks for that. I’m not sure if it’s a talent or just something that happened because we don’t like spending money. Either way it’s lots of fun finding old, scrappy things and giving them a new life
What a cool DIY project. Inspires me to find something old to renew around my house.
Go for it Amber, it’s lots of fun and you save so much money too
I love this, it’s not only adorable but its totally usable and keeps everything just in reach. Great job I love it.
Thank you Kansas ?
This is a fabulous upcycle. I love the industrial look of it.
Thank you Debra, we’re really happy with how it turned out too ?
Michelle, this trunk makeover is gorgeous!! What a beautiful way to hide tools!
It turned out perfect for that space and I’m beyond happy that we can hide our tools away in our tiny holiday home
Michelle that is quite the upcycle! I think the wooden top you made for it is perfect and can be used as a surface to put things on too. And those legs make it easy to move it from place to place. I need one too cause I’m always losing my tools.
It’s really been so useful while we’re down here on holiday. I can’t tell how convenient it is to have all the tools in one place and that we can hide them away without anyone knowing any different
Wow! I am so impressed. I would’ve walked right by that trunk and missed out on a great treasure. Wha a fabulous makeover.
?Awwww Kim, thanks for that. I’m glad I spotted her, she proved to be worth all the effort