and now for the fun part.

I mentioned a week or two ago that I was working on a pair of custom painted toolboxes.  I held off on posting them until today because one (or both?) of them was intended as a birthday present to be gifted to its recipient yesterday and I didn’t want to give away the surprise.

I have to confess, I don’t exactly enjoy the prep phase of toolbox painting.  The toolboxes are often super grungy and need to be cleaned, sanded and sealed before I can even get to the painting part.  But that is a necessary evil and you can’t skip those steps.  Fortunately, these two toolboxes weren’t terribly dirty so the prep wasn’t too difficult.

I do enjoy the painting phase.  Picking out pretty colors for the insides is fun, and it’s not as though it’s hard labor doing the actual painting.  It’s just a bit time consuming with painting the full insides and outsides, and having to wait for different bits to dry before moving on to other bits.

In this case I painted one toolbox in solid Dixie Belle Drop Cloth, and the other is Drop Cloth with a French Linen stripe down the middle (I’ll share the inside colors in a minute).

Once painted, I sanded to distress and then added a coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

And now for the fun part!  Each of them is like a blank canvas just waiting for me to dress them up however I like.  Although this particular customer requested ‘words’, so that’s what I went with … at least on the outside.

I came up with a fun plan to make one of the toolboxes ‘British’ and the other ‘French’.  I used a variety of transfer scraps from IOD’s Label Ephemera and with prima’s Lovely Ledger furniture transfer and Parisienne knob transfers.

I started with the smaller one.

Obviously this is the ‘British’ version complete with crown.

Or should I say crowns …

since the little bees on the front have crowns too.

This one is painted in Dixie Belle’s Peony inside giving it a lovely pop of bright pink.

I lined it with with prima’s Celeste decoupage décor tissue paper.

The larger toolbox is the ‘French’ version, which seemed appropriate since it had that stripe of French Linen down the middle.

I just love the look of French text even though I have very little idea what it says.  Something about herbs, and amateurs, and maybe the king?

I used one of my favorite Classic Vintage Labels from with prima on the top.

I brought Dixie Belle’s Blueberry paint back out for the interior of this one.

I loved it so much from the last toolbox that I used again here, and I ordered more of it!

And this time I did something new.  I kept the tray that came with the toolbox and painted it up as well.

I lined it with with prima’s Fancy Essence decoupage decor tissue paper, which worked beautifully with the Blueberry paint color.  This time I used Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat as a decoupage medium and it worked beautifully.  So if you like a flat finish, even over your decoupage, give it a try.

I don’t typically keep the trays, but in this case the customer requested it.  I worry that taking the tray in and out is likely to scratch up the interior paint.  Those trays typically have some pretty sharp corners.  No matter how durable the paint finish, those sharp corners are going to scratch it.

But heck, a little wear and tear never hurt anyone, right?

So, tell me, which is your favorite?

French or English?

Thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and flat clear coat that I used on these toolboxes.

19 thoughts on “and now for the fun part.

  1. They both turned out lovely! You have quite the eye for design. I think my favorite one is the French. I love that blueberry color 😊


  2. I can’t choose one over the other Miss Quandie………I love BOTH of them! You are so good at the upstyling game,,,,.Who wants to play dress-up with clothes when you can play it with transfers?!! I love how you achieve such a neat and clean line between your inside and outside paints! Love the blue color, too…… 😀


  3. It’s a toss up for me too! Love them both. And while I love the pop of color I wonder if could the interior could be painted black with a transfer of words or would that be too much of a good thing?


    1. You know, I do think that might be too much of a good thing. Although that being said, I do have some decoupage tissue paper that is black with white wording. Maybe I should give that a shot next time.


  4. Tough call! They are both perfect! You inspire me. I have quite a few toolboxes. Maybe I’ll give mine a try. Yours are always wonderful! If I was closer I’d be buying one of yours!
    Smiles, alice


  5. My daughter was the lucky recipient of these beautiful tool boxes, in celebration of her 30th birthday. In fact, she is VERY lucky, because I wanted to keep them both! The outsides are so beautiful, (love the French/English versions! So clever!) (love the grey contrasting strip on the French one) but then, when you open them up, Voila! Magical colors! Gorgeous interiors! Just a total WoW!

    Pretty exciting to have TWO pieces of Quandie art in the family! Thank you so very much!


  6. I have been searching on Pinterest for vintage toolboxes that have been made over and couldn’t find what I had pictured in my mind . . . until I came across yours!! These are so wonderful and unique. The bright pop of color when you open up the toolbox is such a lovely surprise. Thank you for sharing these works of art!


    1. I’m glad you found my toolboxes Cindy! I’ve done quite a few of them, so take a stroll around my blog to see them all. Try using the search box on the right hand side of the page.


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