Mod Podge or varnish on canvas-covered trunk?

jlc102482April 30, 2014

I just acquired a WWII-era (I think) trunk that I intend to use as a coffee table. The exterior is covered in what appears to be painted canvas. The trunk is pretty dirty but I'm hesitant to clean it with soap or cleaning solution due to the canvas. When I vacuumed it with a brush attachment, it made some of the paint on the canvas come off.

Because I intend to use the trunk as a coffee table, I want to make sure it's reasonably clean so I can put my feet up on it. :)

I came up with the idea of using matte Mod Podge (or something similar) on the outside of the trunk to seal the canvas and prevent any more dirt or paint from coming off. Good idea or bad idea? If this is a bad idea, can anyone recommend a better course of action or product?


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PS - just for fun, here are photos of the trunk. I loooove the wallpaper the inside is lined with.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:27AM
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I wonder if maybe you should take this to the painting or woodworking forums and ask for advice. My impression of ModPodge is that it is not very durable and would not stand up to abrasion as well as some sealers. I also don't know how it would do over what is on there now -- maybe okay, but maybe not. The pros on the other forums might be able to point you to something that would do the job better.

However, I would worry that there might be oils or other contaminants on the surface that would repel any finish you put on. You may have to clean it more thoroughly to get a good coat to stick, which means you may lose some of the surface you're trying to keep.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 5:30PM
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I am wondering why you would want to put your feet on a such nice piece of decoration. Its a conversation piece.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:17PM
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That's exactly why I bought it, Jem - I thought it was beautiful conversation piece, not to mention because it was more than sturdy enough to support my feet! In my very small living space, I need my larger conversation pieces to be functional, and I do like to put my feet up sometimes. :) Thanks for the advice, I will head over to woodworking!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:17PM
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