OK, OK, I know, it’s way too soon for Christmas.
But that snow we had a week or so ago really put me in the holiday spirit. Then add on the fact that the shop wants to start putting out the holiday stuff this week, so I need to have things ready to go. Plus it has been unseasonably cold here. One morning last week I checked the temp to help decide which coat to wear to work and it was 18 degrees (that meant the parka, in case you’re wondering). In October!
Anyway, all of that added up to me getting my holiday items ready to go before Halloween.
For the past several years I’ve been painting up sleds as Christmas decor. Way back in the early days, my first few sleds were flops. I tried to stencil over the existing finishes on the sleds and that didn’t work well at all.
The stencil designs that I used were too delicate, so you just couldn’t see them well enough.
When those didn’t sell, I realized I needed to paint the sleds first, then stencil with a contrasting paint color.
Ah, much better. Although sometimes it still works to keep the original finish, especially when it’s a perfect chippy red like this sled that I stenciled last year.
You may remember that back in June I came across a stash of old sleds at a lunchtime garage sale. I had resigned myself to not being able to find much at garage sales this year due to COVID (ie. no neighborhood sales), so it was a bonus to find 4 sleds all together at one sale.
I started out with the two taller sleds with black metal runners. These were actually newer looking and they had some stickers on them promoting Special Export beer. I suppose they were giveaways at an event or something.
I removed the stickers using Goof Off, sanded down the wood and painted one in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, and one in their Drop Cloth.
I followed my usual process of painting all of the wooden parts of the sled, front and back. Then I added some stenciling. I used an old favorite stencil on the white one (sorry, I’m not exactly sure where I purchased that one) and I used a new stencil I ordered this summer from Maison de Stencils on the black one.
After painting both of these, I realized that it was quite time consuming to paint all of the wood parts, front and back. I decided to do a little experiment on one of the smaller sleds and just paint the front of the flat wood slats and then add a stencil.
Once I had it done, I realized it was perfectly fine this way. In fact, I might even like it a bit better than the fully painted ones, and it was so much easier to accomplish.
However, I think this method of painting just part of the sled worked so well on the two smaller sleds because they were old and had nicely patina’d worn wood. The two taller sleds with newer wood might not have looked as good with partial paint jobs.
By the way, if you’re looking for this exact stencil design on Maison de Stencils website, you won’t find it. I pieced together parts from three different stencils to create that look (this one, this one and this one). It’s difficult to find a stencil that works perfectly ‘as is’ on a sled. You have to get creative to fit things to those narrow slats.
I just painted the wide slats on the 2nd smaller sled as well.
The stenciling on this sled is all from one stencil (it’s this one).
If you’re wondering about paint colors, I used all Dixie Belle paints on these including for the stenciling, and the colors I used are Honky Tonk Red, Evergreen, Drop Cloth and Midnight Sky.
Last year I kept the red, chippy sled for myself and hung it on my photo cottage. But now I’ve kinda fallen in love with the Saint Nick’s sled and it looks perfect hanging on the carriage house, so I’m going to keep that one instead.
But the rest, include the chippy red one, will be going to Reclaiming Beautiful on Wednesday.
That is, unless one of you local readers wants to snatch one up before then.
I’ve listed the sleds, plus quite a few other Christmas things on my available for local sale page. Be sure to take a look and see if there is anything you are interested in.
If so, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to call dibs up until Wednesday morning. First come, first served. After that, I’m bringing most of the stuff to the shop.