I’ve been busy keeping my Etsy shop stocked over the last month and have been having so much fun finding new treasures to rescue, upcycle and sell. And with all of these projects I have forgotten 99% of the time to take before and after photos. The following item is the 1%.
I thought I’d write a post that explains what I look for in an item, and how I transform it from a piece of junk on its way to the dumpster, to become something that others want to actually have and display in their home. It’s really neat to give an item a complete make-over and a second chance. There is so much potential in many of these forgotten pieces. It takes vision, creativity and time, but the end product is worth it.
The item I’ve chosen to use as an example is this old sewing/craft box:
I found it for $1.49. I liked that it was made of solid wood. I also liked the general shape of it. What I didn’t like was the nasty mustard yellow felt lining that had seen better days, The chips on each corner of the bottom drawer, the scuffs/dings/scratches, and the awful pin cushion fabric. But all the things I didn’t like about it could be changed. The doors on top still functioned just fine, the pulls were intact, the lines were cute, and the solid wood was a huge plus. I knew when painted it would feel higher quality.
I wanted to get rid of the yellow felt and replace it with something else. I also wanted to cover the old fabric with something cuter, and I wanted to paint the entire box a different color to give it new life. All of these things were totally doable and didn’t take much time.
It was easy to rip off the top pin cushions. They were just hot glued on so they peeled off. I just covered those and used a stapler underneath to secure the new fabric.
While I had the pin cushions off, I painted the entire box and Aqua color (acrylic paint), distressed it and waxed it with a protective coat with Annie Sloan’s clear wax.
After that I attempted to get rid of the felt. The yellow felt peeled right off. I measured those areas and cut scrap paper to size, then glued them back in.
The scrapbook paper made a huge difference!
Ahh… much better!
Since I already made this look shabby, it was no big deal that there were chips in the drawer.
I just distressed these areas to make it look more intentional. It still functions the way it needs to.
Projects like these are rewarding because the material cost is very low. In this case I used 1/2 small bottle of aqua acrylic paint, 2 scraps of fabric and some scrapbook paper. Since I already had the vision, it only took about 2 hours to complete the project and it was fun to do!
Here are some other projects I’ve done recently that don’t have before pictures but hopefully they can still be inspiring:
Owl bookends made out of 2 secondhand mini wall shelves.
Earring organizer made out of a vintage weather barometer, some chicken wire, and scrapbook paper.
Cake stand made from a secondhand candle holder, plate and glass dome.
As always, if you want to support our upcoming adoption efforts or get ideas for more DIY projects, please visit my Etsy shop to see more items I’ve created from secondhand pieces.