My newly 4 year old nephew Kai is obsessed with pirates right now, and also has a December birthday. Having a December birthday myself, I know how often you get shuttled to the side with promises to make it up that never materialize. So when we go down to see family on Christmas day I wanted to have two presents for him. One for Christmas, and a special one for his special birthday.
But it also had to be cheap because Christmas is expensive.
This trunk started life as one of those cheap styrofoam coolers you can find at the grocery store or in a well stocked dollar store. We got some spray paint and painted it brown, but there’s a bit of a trick to it. Spray paints will melt styrofoam, so you need to do thin coats from far away and be patient with it. Unless there’s a section you actually want to melt, like the part of this cooler that had the manufacturer’s name on it. I gave that area a good hard blast with the spray paint and now it’s no longer legible.
The chest needed a hinge, but the cooler wasn’t made to accommodate one. I took three pieces of thick grosgrain ribbon and hot glued them in place to make a hinge that was flexible enough to account for the oddly shaped lid, then covered all my mess up with a fun fabric lining.
The clasps are what make this look like a pirate chest instead of a painted hunk of styrofoam. To attach them I took the screws included in the kit, covered the ends with hot glue, and shoved them through the clasp and into the styrofoam. The heat of the glue will melt the styrofoam enough as you go to act as a screwdriver at the same time.
Gold ribbon mimics the leather straps found on old luggage, and once again hides the evidence that this is a cheap piece of junk. Make sure you wrap the ends neatly so the lid can still come on and off easily.
I looked and looked for those metal corner pieces that come on old luggage but couldn’t find anything even close. So I just painted them on. You could keep going with this idea and paint on a lock or other metal embellishments.
I have to give credit where it is due, this was totally Bear’s idea, nearly from beginning to end. We had the styrofoam cooler kicking around in the garage and he was the one who brought it to me and said, “With a little paint, this could look like a pirate chest!” He is living proof of what I always say – Creativity is a muscle. He just proved he’s a weightlifting champ.