an indiscriminate painter.

Despite what may seem like evidence to the contrary, I’m not an entirely indiscriminate painter.  I don’t think that absolutely everything can be improved by slapping some paint on it.  There have been times when I’ve passed up purchasing an item because I don’t think it should be painted, and yet it’s also something that won’t appeal to my market ‘as is’.  Sure, I realize that someone else is going to come along and buy that item, and they may even paint it, but it won’t be me.

Some of the things that I think shouldn’t be painted include mid-century pieces that are in good condition, antique pieces with a nice patina and no damage, and pieces with authentic original chippy paint.

I really had no idea that today’s project would fall into that last category.

But let me go back and start at the beginning.  First a little history for some of my newer followers.  My picker, Sue, and I have been friends for a long time.  We met at our day job, where we worked together for 34 years.  Last year both Sue and I retired.  The situation at our day job had really gone south and we both wanted out.  Sue was my original garage sale mentor.  She introduced me to the fine art of shopping garage sales and thrift stores.  For many years Sue and I hosted an occasional sale together out of my carriage house too.  These days Sue picks up items for me that she knows I’ll like.  Quite honestly, she often has more confidence in my ability to breathe new life into something than I do.

Today’s project is a case in point.  Sue bought this very rusty, crusty toolbox for me over a year ago, before either of us were retired.  I remember this because she brought it to me at work, and I put it in the trunk of my car.  And then it stayed there for all of last winter!  I dug it out this summer and stashed it in my workshop knowing that I needed to get to it when I could work on it outside.

Now, sadly, I totally forgot to take a ‘before’ picture of this one.  Drat!  It would have made an amazing ‘before’ and ‘after’ collage.  So just try to imagine a toolbox that was almost completely rusted shut.  The bottom was solid rust inside and out.  Although I didn’t get a true ‘before’ photo, I did take some pictures after I sanded, cleaned and gave it a coat of matte spray sealer (and apparently set it down on some wet blobs of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth).

My initial plan was to sand the heck out of it to get as much rust off as possible, then paint it up.

As I started sanding though, I began to reveal a lovely minty green color underneath the coat of black that someone must have added at some point.

I really liked how the lid of the toolbox looked with the chippy black over that mint green, but I wasn’t so fond of that rusty bottom.

So I started to think about possible ways to keep the lid ‘as is’, but cover up that rust at the bottom.  My first thought was that I could paint the bottom in a matching black and then just add some gold wording … along the lines of this toolbox …

And I did pull out Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Anchor, and I painted the bottom.

The Anchor was perfect for this use.  But then I started thinking about the Rose Chintz paint inlay from I.O.D.  I’d seen it used over black and I thought it might just be perfect for the sides of this toolbox.  The paint inlays work best with a chalk style paint rather than an acrylic style paint like the Dixie Belle Silk paint.  So I made the switch to Dixie Belle’s Caviar for the sides of the toolbox and I applied the paint inlay all the way around the four sides of the box.

Eureka!  I love it!

The distressed look of the paint inlay was perfect to go with the chippy lid.  And isn’t that Rose Chintz floral gorgeous over black?

I wanted to add just a little something more to that lid though, so I pulled out an old small Seeds transfer in white and chose a portion of the wording to add to the lid.

Then I also cut out a little white crown from the I.O.D. Traditional Pots transfer and added that under the handle.

Next up I added a couple more coats of Rust-Oleum clear matte spray sealer to both the lid with the transfers and the paint inlay.

Today’s q tip: always remember that the paint from the inlays can be reactivated with water.  To avoid smearing it, it’s best to seal it with a spray sealer.

Next up was dealing with the interior of the toolbox.  As I mentioned, it had a solid layer of rust inside the bottom.  I had sanded that down a bit and cleaned away the dust.  Then I gave it two coats of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. in clear.  I find that the B.O.S.S. does a good job of blocking any bleed thru from rust.  I can’t vouch for its long term effectiveness since I’ve only been using this product for a couple of years, but so far it seems to do the trick when I’ve used it on rusty pieces.

Once the B.O.S.S. was dry, I added a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Mint Julep.  I knew this color would be a good match for that mint color I’d revealed on the lid.

I wanted to also add a pop of something special inside the toolbox so I pulled out this leftover scrap from the I.O.D. Petit Rosier transfer and applied it inside the lid.

It was a perfect fit.  Well, almost.  I had to trim a little off the edges.

I also sealed the inside of the toolbox with the matte spray sealer.

People occasionally ask me what my buyers do with these re-fabbed toolboxes.  Some have told me they use them to store art supplies, or sewing supplies.  I think this one would also be perfect for housing all of one’s ribbons.

But regardless of what is inside, I just love how this one turned out.  What do you think of it?  Would you have kept the chippy lid, or would you have painted over it?

As hard as it may be to part with this one, I won’t be hanging onto it.  It is for sale locally.  If any of you locals are interested, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint used for this project.

33 thoughts on “an indiscriminate painter.

  1. Love this makeover! I personally wouldn’t have had the “vision” to leave the chippy paint on the lid, but I love it. You have inspired me once again. How long does a piece like this take you? I have started a non-collection of tool and tackle boxes because of your posts, but they just sit…waiting for me to get started on what seems like a daunting task.


    1. Well … at the risk of sounding like I’m a little nuts, I will admit that these take me quite some time to do. Not that it’s a ton of actual labor hours, but there is a lot of ‘paint a little, then let it dry’ time. I have to clean it, then sand it, then paint the B.O.S.S. inside and let it dry, then paint the outside with B.O.S.S. and let it dry, then the inside color and let it dry … you get the picture. You’ll never be able to sell these and make a fair wage for your time. But gosh they are fun to do! You can really stretch your creative wings working on them. My recommendation is to do the painting assembly line style. Since you have a few of them waiting, go ahead and clean them all at once, then add B.O.S.S. to all of them. Just save the creative part of paint color and decorations to do one at a time and savor that process 🙂


  2. Although, I say this about every one of your amazing tool boxes, this one really is my favorite! 😁. I would not have thought to keep the chippy lid, but, as always, you inspire me! (I, too, have a stash of boxes….lol, I finished two, gave one away and now have three to do). Thank you for the everyday inspirations!!


  3. Yet another Quandie original. No one does tool boxes better! Love the colors and chipiness – a perfect blend. I use my small toolbox for my hot glue gun and glue sticks. Perfect fit!


  4. Oh my! Love how this turned out. The black is perfect with the rose inlay. And the green interior with wording on the lid just pops! You amaze me with your creativity and seeing the possibilities of how an object can be made over so beautifully! Well done, Quandie!


  5. Linda, I love how it turned out! It is perfect! That would be the one I would snatch up! But alas I’m in Texas.
    Smiles, alice


  6. I love it! The chippy lid is just perfect. The Rose Chintz inlay over black is just stunning. If I lived nearby, I would be buying this from you in a heartbeat.


  7. It’s so perfect, I just choked. I’ve loved ALL of the toolboxes, truly. This one is phenomenal. I’ve loved that Rose Chintz on many colors! Just did navy Xmas decorations with it, stunning. This is a lovely piece! xx


  8. I think it’s beautiful just the way it is. I love the green that shows through the chippy black paint and the Mint Julep on the inside. What great choices!


  9. Here’s one of her projects, You can subscribe yp get emails at the bottom and also link to previous projects.


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