Oct 142014
Toy box to Union Jack

Before and After

When a client dropped off an old toy box her son had outgrown and asked me to “do something” with it, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least!  It was the cutest toy chest with Nursery Rhyme scenes painted on each panel. But like my client, I know there is a time when the nursery rhyme stuff is OVER.  I was pleased with her confidence in my creative ability but I really wasn’t sure what to do with it!

Luckily, she later sent me pictures of the rooms where the box might become a coffee table.

After looking at them, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to try.  

living room copy

Client’s living room

For ages, I have wanted to try my hand at a Union Jack.  I loved what Alison  over at ReFunk My Junk did to an old trunk and I used her design as my inspiration.


I printed out Alison’s photos and did the math

The toy chest needed quite a bit of preparation. The client had added texture on her vignettes: clouds and wool on sheep etc.  And may I say again …SO CUTE!

I stripped off the textured paint with a paint stripper then I proceeded to sand down the rest of the piece to a smooth finish.  I primed it using my new Home-right Paint sprayer (NO affliation).  It was one of the first projects where I used the paint sprayer and it literally took a couple of minutes!  After the primer dried, I sprayed the chest with an off white, Navajo White from BM.  (All my trim and ceilings are this colour).  I allowed it to dry a day or two and then I taped it up as per Alison’s design.

To ensure a tight seal, I brushed a coat of the off white over all the tape edges. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR A CRISP LINE!


It is so important to paint over tape with backgound colour!

Starting with a  sample pot of a bright red, I mixed it with some burgundy paint, both of which I had on hand. This created a lovely deep red to work with.   I purchased a litre of SW Seaworthy.  (I have plans for the leftover paint. . Using the printed photo as a guide, I applied two coats of the colors.

When I removed the tape, I cannot tell you how excited I was!  I just loved it!


I LOVE it!

I also added a couple of coats of Water Soluble, non- yellowing Diamond finish by Varathane.  (No affiliate)

Finally, to make it moveable and more “industrial”, I added 4 small caster wheels.


New casters make it portable!

A mutual friend picked up the chest and dropped it off at the client’s home for me.  I seriously believe I could hear the client’s squeals of delight all the way across the city!

Union Jack toy box

Makes me want to visit the UK soon!

Don’t you love when some an attempt at a new design turns out perfectly!

chester and chest

Chester theLabradoodle pup is forever by my side!


Mr Nice is a “City Fan”. Do you follow “football”?

Toy box to Union Jack

I just love this transformation and I so want to do something like this for our home

Mr. Nice is from the UK and perhaps I should do something for our home …. or maybe a Canadian Maple Leaf Flag version!

What do you think of this transformation?

Do you love Union Jack decor?

Do you have any in your home?

(NOTE:  I was rather happy the Scots lost the referendum… I would have had to change the design!  LOL!)

I love comments.  They make my day!


  13 Responses to “Toy Box to Union Jack”

  1. How neat! What kid wouldn’t love this?!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week

  2. […] at Nicer Than New, a client  dropped off a toy box that had long lost its purpose and asked Joan to do something […]

  3. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so jelly, I want one now… Hugs, Beverly

  4. Wow! Looks amazing! Great tip on painting over the painters tape for crisp paint lines.

  5. What a great makeover! Pinned for inspiration. I have a couple of toy boxes myself that need a new life. Hope I can come up with a design that turns out as lovely as your project did!

  6. This chest is so handsome. You did a great job transitioning it from a baby’s box to a potential coffee table. Let me tell you, Chester really sold it for me. I saw your link at Vintage Inspiration Party. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

  7. Love this!!! very nice.

    This UK blogger is loving it 🙂

    Sarah @ Edea Smith

  8. […] Toy Box to Union Jack @ Nicer than New […]

  9. […] 2 beautiful mid century pieces.  Her styling is impeccable. I had the pleasure of meeting Joan of Nicer than New at Blogpodium.  How sweet is this union jack toy box?!? You all know I have a soft spot for all […]

  10. […] fun!”.  This is the same client for whom I transformed her old toy box to a very cool Union Jack coffee table.  She liked the blue and this magazine rack was for another room so it did not need to […]

  11. Yes, I love the union jack. I just painted a desk in the design and distressed it to look old and have it for sale in my booth at an antique mall. We’ll see how it sales.

  12. […] Toy Box turned Union Jack Coffee Table  from Nicer Than New […]

  13. […] Don’t you love union jack?  I love seeing paint transformations with the union jack. […]

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