the upholsterer’s toolbox.

I picked up this wooden box while out at garage sales a few weeks back.

I knew it would be a fun painting project, and swapping out that blue plastic handle would be super easy.

As I was paying for it, the seller told me that her dad was an upholsterer and this was his toolbox.  Inside the lid was this contraption, which consisted of some steel wool covered by some felt and held in place with upholstery tacks, and then filled with big pins with round loops on the end.

Apparently those are upholstery pins or skewers.

Of course, I’m not keeping any of that.  I think it might seriously limit my ability to sell this piece if my target market only includes upholsterers.

So I removed all of that, and pulled off the ugly handle.  Then I gave the box a base coat of paint in Dixie Belle’s Dried Sage.  That was just to build on though.  I decided to try my hand at paint blending once again.  Some of you may remember that I tried this once before and wasn’t happy with the results (on this bed).  I ended up painting back over that attempt with a solid color.

But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed …

So I pulled out a couple of colors that I thought would blend nicely for the outside of the box, Dixie Belle’s chalk mineral paint in Sea Glass and Juniper, and their Silk paint in Cactus for the interior of the box.

I have to confess that I did cheat a little, or maybe it would be fair to say that my technique was a little different than that of the experts.  I started by mixing my two colors together in a plastic cup to create a third mid-range color.  I then painted the centers of each surface in Sea Glass, the outer edges in Juniper, and used the mixed paint to blend in between.  I used the Dixie Belle Continuous Mister Bottle to keep my paint wet thus allowing me to blend the colors together as I worked.

I kept my blending a little on the more subtle side, and I love the results.

Once I had the paint blended on the outside, I painted the inside in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Silk Paint in Cactus.

You might be wondering why I didn’t just use the Juniper again on the inside, and that’s because I wanted to use a Silk paint for the interior.  It has a built in stain blocker, and a built in top coat.  There were some stains that I thought might bleed through, and I wanted the inside to be durable without having to add several coats of sealer.  Two coats of Silk paint and I was done.

Next came the fun part, adding some transfers.

The wording is from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer, the florals and that adorable row of birds is from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer, with a couple of florals from their Floral Anthology thrown in as well.

And as you can see, I swapped out the original handle for a drawer pull from Hobby Lobby.  In fact, it was the drawer pull that inspired the color scheme.

The little moth on the latch is a Tim Holtz transfer (the 1858. is from Label Ephemera).

Once I had all of the transfers in place, I sanded over everything lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and then added a coat of clear wax.

This box would be perfect for storing art supplies.

Or maybe your bird watching materials.

I really enjoy working on these sorts of projects.  When I’m working on furniture I feel much more limited in what I can do.  I’m always trying to walk that line between creating art and creating furniture that is marketable.  Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong with the furniture?  I might have to give that some thought.

But in the meantime, it doesn’t even feel fair to make a before and after comparison on this one.

I can’t imagine that anyone would prefer the ‘before’ version.  Except possibly an upholsterer.  What do you think?

This former upholsterer’s toolbox is for sale locally, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and mister I used on this project.

24 thoughts on “the upholsterer’s toolbox.

  1. Gorgeous. I love the colors and your choice for transfers, turning this lowly utility item into a work of art.


  2. This is so beautiful and your color and stencil combo is spot on. What a transformation! Would be so awesome to use for so many things!


  3. This turned out lovely. Congratulations on the successful paint blending job this time around. 👏🏻👏🏻 It is subtle but definitely adds some character and depth. Maybe you discovered your own method for achieving the look even if it isn’t painting by the “rules.” 🤣 And I might add, if you are not an expert, I don’t know who really is!


  4. Well what a pretty pretty upcycle Miss Quandie! Just looking at it you can tell you had fun creating it!


  5. I think that the box turned out awesome!! Blending takes a lot of practice. The mister bottle really does help. All of the things that you paint are great! 😊


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