Doll trunks, wardrobes and cases are a great way to keep all your doll clothes and accessories tidy, and many can even carry your doll as well. You can build your own doll trunk, refinish an old wooden one or buy an unfinished wood doll trunk. Painting your doll trunk can add personality and character to this practical piece. If your child has several dolls, consider painting a trunk for each.
Preparation and Technicalities
Whether you have a newly made or purchased unfinished trunk or an old one you are refinishing, prepare your doll trunk for painting. Clean the surface well using a degreasing cleanser and then sand it. If you are working with an unfinished doll wardrobe, sanding with a fine grit sandpaper, like a 220 grit, will be adequate. If you are refinishing a trunk, sand with a coarser grit to remove the paint and a finer grit to finish. Use a tack cloth to wipe away dust. Paint your doll trunk with acrylic paints and seal with a spray-on polyurethane or poly-acrylic finish.
Many dolls on the market today are geared toward a specific period in history. Painting a doll trunk in a period style is a charming choice. For an 18th- or 19th-century trunk, consider staining the wood or using a wood-grain painting technique. Use black or dark brown shades to paint "leather" straps onto your doll trunk. Add touches of metallic paint for brass hinges and hardware. Choose a deep, rich color for an early 20th-century look; deep blue or dark burgundy are good choices. Many of these trunks include metal hardware along all the edges. This can be painted on with a metallic paint.
Paint a doll trunk to match your daughter's room or her favorite doll outfit. Choose several colors and color block the doll trunk, painting each surface a different color. You can also use painter's tape to create easy stripes or patterns by painting a base color, applying the tape, painting, allowing the paint to dry thoroughly and removing the tape. Use craft store stencils or rub-on transfers to add patterns to your doll trunk. These are easy to use and do not require any artistic talent. You might also add her name or her doll's name to the trunk. If you are more comfortable with your painting skills, consider freehand painting a design onto the trunk. Ribbons and flowers may be appropriate for a girlie girl fond of pink and princesses, but try bugs and butterflies for a girl more concerned with the great outdoors.