How to Line the inside of an antique trunk

Lining the inside of your trunk can be done in one of two ways, either with paper or fabric. Both are period correct but I highly suggest using fabric. When you line a trunk with fabric it not only looks very nice but is also durable and easier to clean when compared to paper lining.

Below is a video on how to line the inside of a trunk and also a written guide. If you watch the video I would suggest also reading the tips I have at the bottom of the page.


How to Line an Antique Trunk

Materials List:

  • Solid Color Fabric
  • Patterned Fabric
  • Poster Board
  • 3M Supper 77
  • 3M Scotch Clear Glue (two way applicator)
  • Razor Knife
  • Straight Edge
  • Iron
  • Good Scissors


Step 1) If you have not cleaned the inside of your trunk out yet do so as instructed here in our how to clean out an antique trunk.

Step 2) You are going to measure the bottom, top and all side of the inside of the antique trunk. Write down these measurements to use in the next step. After you have your measurements you will need to subtract 1/4 inch from the each measurement, length and width

Step 3) Cut out poster board to the size of your measurements , remember to subtract you 1/4″. When you are finished cutting out your poster board you should have one piece of poster board for every side of your trunk.

Step 4) Lay your poster board out on top of your solid color fabric. Cut out fabric from around the post board leaving an extra inch or so so of material.

Step 5) Iron each piece of fabric that you have cut out so it has no wrinkles in it at all.

Step 6) Now lay out the fabric for the bottom of the trunk and make sure it is wrinkle free. Take the corresponding poster board part for the bottom and spray it with 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive.

Step 7) Apply the poster board to the fabric leaving at least an inch of fabric sticking out on each side. Use your hand to smooth out the fabric.

Step 8) Use your scissors to cut the over hanging fabric. Cut from the outside edge of the fabric to the edge of the poster board. Repeat this every four inches around the entire poster board panel.

Step 9) Use the 3M scotch glue marker tip to glue over the fabric tabs that you just cut into the fabric.

Step 10) Spray the back of the of the panel you just made generously with the 3M Super 77 and the apply it to the trunk. Use your hand to smooth it out.

Step 11) Repeat this until you have installed every panel into your antique trunk.

Step 12) Cut out two inch strips of poster board. These will be used to make the border for the inside of your trunk. Cut them to length for each place you want to have a border.

Step 13) Score the border strips down the center so you can fold then into a 90 degree angle.

Step 14) Cover each strip with fabric in the same manner you did with the panels.

Step 14) Install each border with 3M Super 77.

Antique Trunk Lining Tips

  •  Keep your spray nozzle clean
  • Use mineral spirits to clean spray adhesive off your hands and nozzles
  • Use sharp/new razor blades to cut with and change them often
  • Use %100 cotton fabric broadcloth

Materials for lining the inside of antique trunks

The poster board is the best deal I have found. It has 25 sheets per carton and is enough to line the inside of most trunks.

11 thoughts to “How to Line the inside of an antique trunk”

  1. I am restoring a steamer wardrobe. I have removed the fabric, but it appears that the fabric was originally attached to a heavy cardboard. The drawers are a thin plywood but again the bottoms of the drawers are this heavy cardboard. It appears that I may be able to pull out cardboard lining and it appears that there is wood underneath.

    Should I try to pull out all of this thick cardboard? Cardboard is in rough shape. I’m sure it is keeping odors and someplace for bugs.

  2. Great Instructions! Very informative! Can you tell me were I could find replacement hardwear like the led stay or Round head rivets?

  3. This was a great video! Thanks for your efforts! I am looking for info on restoring trunk with a alligator tin surface. Taking it down to shiney but then would like to give it a dimensional finish. Any suggestions?

  4. This was great! thanks sooo much! Are you married? I’d love to have you for a son-in-law!
    I am trying to get info on restoring a barrel top trunk with alligator tin – lots of it. I want to know how to get the multi faceted dimension of the alligator/croc finish – Any suggestions?

    Thank you for your video! I really appreciate your effort.

  5. Thanks for this info helps a lot. Can you tell us the order you did the strips in, I’m assuming all the vertical strips then the horizontal ones? Any tips for the bottom corners?

  6. I don’t understand where you put the small nails right before you’re done. Is it on the top edge or the inside edge? how does that stop the fabric from wearing out in time?

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