I’d been suffering from a little toolbox withdrawal recently, so I decided to take a break from the bigger stuff and paint a couple of them starting with this one.
I have pretty much developed a technique for dealing with these old, dirty, greasy, crusty, rusty toolboxes after having painted so many.
I start out with scraping away as much gunk as possible and then vacuuming out any loose dirt. Next I clean the toolbox inside and out with a grease cutting cleaner (I’ve used Dawn dish soap, TSP, Mean Green Cleaner & Degreaser) and the garden hose. I try to take advantage of hot sunny afternoons for that step. It’s fun to play in the water in the backyard, and then I can leave the toolbox to dry in the sun.
Next I sand the surface to remove any remaining loose paint and to smooth out areas of rust. Then I vacuum again and wipe everything down again with a damp cloth.
Today’s q tip: are you wondering why the sanding step comes after the cleaning step, and then I have to basically clean again? Well, that’s to avoid embedding the oily dirt in the tiny cracks and crevices by sanding on it. It’s better to remove that oily dirt first.
After all of that, I paint inside and out with a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. This product may not totally prevent the rust from eventually coming through the paint, but it will definitely slow it down. It also gives me a fantastic surface for painting over.
I usually paint the inside first, and this time around I decided to go red.
This is Dixie Belle’s Silk Paint in Fiery Sky from their Desert Collection. Isn’t that a gorgeous shade of red? It definitely has a cool/blue undertone. I ended up doing three coats to get good coverage (which is often the case with red paint). In hindsight, I should have used the grey B.O.S.S. rather than the clear version. A grey primer will always improve the coverage with red paint. The next time I use Fiery Sky I’ll try to remember the grey B.O.S.S.!
Next up I painted the outside of the toolbox in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy. Once that was dry I pulled out a few different I.O.D. transfers and started getting creative.
I used sections from their June, Ode to Henry Fletcher (florals on the front), Floral Anthology (floral on the top left) and Label Ephemera (wording) transfers.
I specifically chose floral sections with lots of red to go with the Fiery Sky on the interior.
And I used some of my favorite French wording from the Label Ephemera transfer.
I’m starting to run low on my stash of this particular I.O.D. transfer, and it has been retired. I’ve been hunting for it, and I even found a shop to mail order it from last week. I placed my order, only to get a call from the proprietor a few hours later telling me that she didn’t actually have it in stock. Bummer. I’ve found another source though and I’m hoping this one comes through. Fingers crossed.
Once the transfers were all applied, I added a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to seal them.
I didn’t do much staging for this toolbox, it was hot outside so I wanted to snap these pics quickly.
But I did fill one of my vintage vases with some like-colored foliage from caladiums and coleus, as well as an Annabelle hydrangea blossom.
I love how that deep purple coleus has just the slightest dusting of chartreuse in the newest leaves. Isn’t that pretty? You have to look closely to really see it, but it’s a fun detail.
Although florals typically make us think of summer, I think the colors on this one are leaning into fall … or dare I say it … even winter. With all of those reds and greens, this would be pretty for Christmas filled with an arrangement of evergreens.
So, what do you think? Do you prefer the ‘before’ or the ‘after’?
This toolbox is for sale so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details if interested.
Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the B.O.S.S., paint and clear coat used on this project.