Rust-Oleum Blogger Innovation Summit highlights

Last week I had the amazing privilege of flying to the Midwest to spend three days attending the Rust-Oleum® Blogger Innovation Summit. Before I left for the trip, I candidly shared my feelings about the invitation and the reasons why I won’t quit my daydream here.

Eighteen bloggers joined the folks at Rust-Oleum from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 for an in-depth look at the brand’s products and processes. Along the way, we were treated like royalty and enjoyed some of the best sights in and around Chicago, such as this breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline.


Upon arrival at the Chicago airport, this sweet Serbian gentleman was waiting to drive me to the hotel:


I’m sure he thought I was a little weird for taking his photo, but this stuff doesn’t happen to me every day. 😉 We chatted on the way to the hotel and he told me his story of coming to the United States to start a business and build a better life for his family. I was inspired after those few minutes talking with such a courageous, hardworking entrepreneur.

The Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Ill., was gorgeous. The shower was a frazzled mom’s dream.


After we got settled into our hotel room, our blogger group headed to the Rust-Oleum plant in Wisconsin. There we got to see exactly how the products are created, mixed, packaged and shipped. What a huge operation!

We even got our very own lab coats. Now I can look more official when I’m spray-painting in the front yard. 😉


On the second day of the trip, we traveled to the Rust-Oleum headquarters for a tour and to learn about the company’s history.


In front, from left to right are Mandi, Jamie and Dusty.

We were able to snag a group photo while at the headquarters building.


 (Photo courtesy of Rust-Oleum)

After that, we headed to the Rust-Oleum Studio for a sneak peek at some secret squirrel products that are coming out soon. (Spoiler alert: You are gonna love them!) We also got the chance to get our hands dirty with some fun DIY projects.

Of course, the sweet folks at Rust-Oleum thought of every detail to make us feel welcome.



I have to admit, as a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants DIYer, a lot of times I’ve just rushed to the store to pick up whatever can of spray paint had the lid color I needed. I never really paid attention to brand. At the studio, we practiced spraying several different brands of paint and it was a real eye-opening experience for me. If you want to see a surprising example of how widely spray paint performance can vary, check out this Instagram photo from Jamie at the C.R.A.F.T. blog.

Here’s Ann from Rust-Oleum demonstrating some Varathane® wood stains.


I got to try a handful of them out on this project.

Rust-Oleum stain

I love the richness, intensity and coverage of the Varathane stains.

We also got to check out some other cool products such as NeverWet®, which should transform my half-hour throw pillows into outdoor pillows; and a floor coating I am dying to use on my garage floor.



In between all the DIYing, we spent time mingling, eating and taking in the sights.


I always love spending time blog-talking with amazing ladies, like the super sweet Jen (left) from iHeartOrganizing and Becky from Organizing Made Fun.

On the last day of the trip, we took an architectural tour of the Chicago River. It was so much fun.



During the river tour, I took a picture with Christy from 11 Magnolia Lane. She’s smart and talented and I am glad I got to meet her on this trip.

In fact, I feel so blessed by all the people I met, activities I did, and sights I saw while at the summit. The only bummer was that, on my way home, I had to stay an extra night in Detroit after I missed my connecting flight, due to the Chicago air traffic control situation. It was a small price to pay, though, for an amazing trip with amazing people.

Thank you, Rust-Oleum!

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Susan–It was such a pleasure to meet you and get to experience Chicago with you. Glad you made it home (eventually)!

  2. teresa says:

    Looks like a fun time, but even better so useful to you and US!!! Great info. I’m really into learning all the ins and outs of different spray paints. I hope you’ll have some more in depth info on this soon.

    • Susan says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback. Yes, I learned so much and I’ll be sharing more as appropriate. I never want to come off like I’m pushing a particular brand because it sounds, well, icky. But I can tell you honestly that, if I can help it and the color is in stock, I will NEVER use any other spray paint but Rust-Oleum in the future. The coverage and application is SO MUCH BETTER. There is a reason they say “2X the coverage” of other spray paints. I felt the same way about the Varathane stains. It covered way better than other stains, and was a closer match to the color on the can, for sure.

  3. Dawn Rene says:

    It looks like having a good time was a mission accomplished! I have been wanting to get the Never Wet. I work at Home Depot part-time and recommend it all the time! You’ve convinced me to pick some up!

    • Susan says:

      Oh boy, Dawn. I am dying to use this stuff on some pillows I sewed awhile back using regular decorator fabric (not outdoor fabric), so I can use them on the porch. This product is also great for kid-proofing cushions, upholstery, etc. Liquids just roll right off.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I love Rust-Oleum paints and I use them exclusively if at all possible. I just spray painted an older shelving unit that sat out in the elements too long. I prepped the metal surfaces and sprayed two coats (I probably could have gotten away with one because the coverage IS really good but I wanted to be sure any rust was thoroughly sealed). It looks better than new! My next Rust-Oleum projects are the metal on my barns and our large iron entrance gates (BIG projects). I’m also looking forward to trying out the new products. Thanks for a great post!

  5. What an awesome experience! I LOVE the idea of NeverWet. (But let me say that I REALLY love the idea of that immense walk-in shower!)

    Good for you, Susan!

  6. Jamie says:

    Susan! It was so nice to meet you at the event 🙂 I wish we could do that once a month! Nothing like talking blog with like minded ladies (and gents) and crafting it up with an awesome brand! xo

    • Susan says:

      It was so wonderful meeting you, too. I checked out your website a bit. Awesome content! Keep up the great work – love those costumes, by the way. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *