I found this simple plywood hinged box at a garage sale this summer.
You might just see an ugly plywood box, but I see a blank canvas.
I knew that adding a little paint and some fun accents would dress this box up perfectly.
I started out by painting the box inside and out with a base coat of Fusion’s Algonquin. The reason I did a base coat of Fusion paint was because I wanted to ultimately paint this with white milk paint. If I painted over the bare wood with milk paint, the paint would absorb into the wood and be quite permanent, and not chippy at all. That is definitely one of the great qualities of milk paint, but not necessarily what I wanted here. Also, it would likely take quite a few coats to disguise that plywood texture since I’m using white. I also like layering paint in this way because it adds a sense of age to the piece.
After the Algonquin was dry I added a little bit of Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish around the edges of the box to encourage chipping. Since I’d recently been using both Homestead House’s Champlain and Sturbridge White milk paints and I had a little of each left over, I mixed them together for this box. I painted two coats of the milk paint on the outside of the box only (I left the inside in Algonquin).
Once the paint was dry I sanded the box lightly all over which serves two purposes. First it smooths out the milk paint surface. You’d be amazed how much softer and smoother a milk painted surface feels with just a little light hand sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Second, it wore away the milk paint in the areas that had beeswax on them to reveal the base color.
Next I added the bottom portion of an IOD transfer. This was left over after I used the upper portion on the foot board shelf I shared last month.
I love the bird on one side and the rat on the other side. Did you notice them at first?
Once the transfer was rubbed on, I went over it ever so lightly with some 220 grit sandpaper. The ladies at Iron Orchid Designs shared this tip with me for reducing the faint ‘halo’ that comes with the transfer. After wiping it clean with a dry cloth, I used my new favorite top coat, Dead Flat Finishing Cream from the Real Milk Paint Co. I applied that ever so quickly with a brush. I feel like it also helps further diminish the look of that halo, mainly because it gives everything a consistent sheen. In other words, the transfer is no longer shinier than the very flat milk paint. They are both ‘dead flat’.
But wait, I’m not done yet!
I also added a really cool old door knob plate to the front of the box.
I have a stash of old hardware bits and pieces like this, so I went through it trying to find the perfect addition to the box.
Just so I wouldn’t see white box behind the openings in the door knob plate, I put an old Swedish bible book page behind it. It’s a tiny detail that most people probably won’t even notice, but I will.
This box makes the perfect storage container for my old Jeanne d’Arc Living magazines.
This was such a fun project to work on. Although there were a few steps, each one only took five or ten minutes. I just worked on it a little bit each evening after work and by the end of the week it was done.
So the next time you see a plain and simple box, don’t pass it by. Take it home and then take it from drab to fab!