DIY distressed blue wooden caddy

One of the many perks of attending the Haven Conference each year is that I get to take home some cool swag. (By the way, if you’re a DIYer and/or a home niche blogger, you should seriously consider attending Haven this year. Bonus: We can meet in person and hang out!)

For example, last year the folks from Home Depot handed out cute wine rack and wooden caddy kits.


I finally got around to putting my caddy together this week, so I wanted to share with you how I made it extra special. (For a free plan on how to build your own wooden caddy, click here.)

I started by stenciling the two long side pieces with the Royal Design Studio French Number Stencil. I already had this stencil on hand after using it on my wooden coat rack project.


I used Royal Design Studio Stencil Crème in Bronze Age for the color.


After that dried, I mixed together a combination of Bleached Blue and Vintage Aqua Varathane® wood stains.


I applied the stain mixture to every piece of the caddy except the handle. (The pieces weren’t put together yet.) I even brushed the stain right over the stenciled numbers.


I wiped back the stain and this was the result:


While that dried, I spray-painted the caddy’s handle with a coat of Rust-Oleum® Aged Metallic Paint & Primer in One – in Weathered Steel.


I used my orbital sander to distress the edges of each wooden piece. Then I attached all the pieces.


To give the caddy an aged look, I used a watered-down coat of Varathane Wood Stain – in Kona – over the sanded edges. I wiped back the stain with a damp piece of steel wool until I achieved my desired result.


Finally, I applied a clear topcoat in a matte finish. Done! I can use this caddy to hold my tools or garden supplies.

Distressed-garden-caddyOr I can use it as a decorative piece in my living room.

Decorative-garden-caddyHave you stained any wooden pieces lately? I’d love for you to share your project in a comment.

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum, Home Depot and Royal Design Studio for providing the supplies needed to complete this project. 

Thrifty doorknob transformation: From old gold to modern bronze

Earlier this week, I shared with you my thrifty door transformation. My faux wood door turned out so well that I just couldn’t bear to put back the old, scratched-up gold hardware. But I also couldn’t bear to shell out the bucks for a new lock set.

So I headed downstairs to my newly organized paint shelf and grabbed a can of my favorite spray primer and a can of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.

How to paint door hardware

I started by cleaning the hardware really well and roughing up the finish with steel wool to help the paint grip to the metal. Then I set up a makeshift spray paint area.


Cardboard boxes work great for propping up pieces to paint!

I gave the knobs and deadbolt a good once over with black Rust-Oleum® primer. This is my favorite primer because it’s (almost) fool proof.


Tip: When spray painting, patience is key! Use quick, light passes and keep the can at least 5-10 inches from your piece. Think two light coats rather than one heavy coat. I have gotten impatient with spray paint in the past and it always leads to more work in the end.

After the primer dried, I gave the hardware two light coats 😉 of Rust-Oleum Universal® Metallic Spray Paint in Oil-Rubbed Bronze. You can pick this stuff up at your nearest home improvement store.


I waited for everything to dry really well, which is the hardest part for me. Then I reinstalled the hardware on the door. Done!


I’ve now got a “new,” rich-looking lock set that only required stuff I already had on hand in my basement. I love it when that happens. :)


One word of caution: I like to let painted metal “cure” for about a week before I start handling it too much. It helps ensure a good bond and a durable finish. Fortunately, our side door rarely gets used, so this was not an issue for us.

What do you think of my “new” door hardware?

Thrifty transformation: How to paint a door to look like wood

For a few years now, I’ve been wanting to spruce up the side door that opens into our garage. This is what it looked like “before:”


As you can see, there’s nothing really wrong with the door, per se. (Yes, normally the hardware is intact.) 😉 The only part that really bothered me was that the trim around the windows was left white. I originally planned on simply painting that to match the tan on the rest of the door.

But after thinking it over, I decided to make this door look richer – like a brand new, expensive, solid wood door. And I knew I could achieve the look using my faux wood grain painting technique. This technique will give the appearance of a high-end, solid wood door – even close up – for under $40!

After removing the hardware and cleaning off all the cobwebs and bugs, I gave the door a once over with a coat of exterior flat paint.


I chose Clark+Kensington® Paint & Primer in One – in Copper Pot, purchased at Ace Hardware.


I chose the orange color because I wanted a finished result that mimicked a cedar/cherry wood look. I would recommend choosing a base paint color that matches the undertones of whatever wood you want to replicate.

After the paint dried, I mixed together portions of two tubes of Minwax Water-Based Express Color Wiping Stain and Finish.* I chose mahogany and walnut and ended up using a little more of the mahogany. (This thicker wiping stain or a similar gel stain is key for this project. Regular stain will not adhere to painted pieces.)


Then I used a good paintbrush (Purdy is my all-time favorite) to apply a coat of the mixed stain to a small section of the door, attempting to create a natural wood look.


I had my laptop nearby the whole time, displaying a photo of a door I wanted to replicate. This gave me a clear picture of the direction, appearance and texture of real wood grain.

I used this handy wood graining tool to create realistic knots and different types of wood grain patterns in the stain.


This tool is tricky to get the hang of but, once I did, I was impressed with the results!


Together, the exterior paint base and wiping stain create a superior, durable finish. I used this exact same technique on our front door and it has held up spectacularly well for several years. We have a dog that jumps on the door every day and there is not one single scratch in the finish!

Here’s a look at our “new” side door:



Faux-woodgrain-side-doorThe door hardware was previously gold. I spray-painted it oil-rubbed bronze to give it a more modern look. I’ll share all the details of that project in a post later this week.



What do you think of my thrifty door transformation?


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