Mark's DIY Steamer Trunk Desk


  • Desk
  • Roller Brush
  • Paint Pan
  • Primer Paint
  • Deep Burgundy Paint
  • Leather Brown Paint
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Lathing Strips
  • Vinyl
  • Wood Glue
  • Brass Tacks
  • Several Old Leather Belts
  • Decorative Corners
  • Eyeglass Screwdriver


  1. Sand down the laminate from the desk.
  2. Apply 1 coat of primer; let dry 2 hours.
  3. Paint a deep burgundy – color is subjective to brand of paint. Once first coat dries, apply second coat.
  4. Roll a coat of leather brown shade of paint on to the desk. Take a square of plastic wrap or plastic bag and lay it on top of the brown paint. With your fingers, smoosh the plastic. Keep your pattern random to create a natural look. You can always repaint if you mess up. Let dry for 24 hours.
  5. Measure around the desk to find out how much lathing strips and vinyl you will need.
  6. Lathing strips are a type of moulding made of pine. You can get it from your local hardware store and have it cut to size. Choose where on your desk you want to create the lines of the steamer trunk. Using a carpenter's square or a level, make sure it's placed evenly. Place a bead of wood glue on the lathing strip and affix to desk. Hammer in brass tacks to secure and create the traditional steamer trunk look. Space tacks evenly. For an aged, or distressed, look you can apply a thin layer of wood.
  7. Cut vinyl to size. Place a strip of glue on strip and affix to desk. Hammer in brass tacks on the top end and the side of the desktop to secure. Space tacks evenly.
  8. To create the edging we use decorative corners that can be found at most hardware stores. They come with screws; all you need is a little eyeglass screwdriver.
  9. Attach the drawer pulls. We used old leather belts. To match the look of steamer trunk handles, buckle belt together and center on front drawer. Affix ends with brass tacks. Cut excess belt with utility knife where the drawer meets the desk.

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