Hi there! How are you this afternoon? I have another DIY project to share with you today that is very inexpensive and easy to do.
Do you have any tin storage containers at your house that are not being used right now? Maybe you had received one of these containers as a gift once upon a time. I know, it probably came to you with cookies or popcorn inside and you immediately ate its yummy contents and then you were left with a container that you had no idea what to do with. Sound familiar?
Maybe the one you have is kinda ugly because it is covered with some cookie or liquor brand advertising all over it. It’s not like you would ever put it out where someone could see it. Right?
OK, perhaps you don’t even own one of these containers, but if you frequent thrift stores like I do, you might have previously walked right past them without giving them a second thought.
Actually, these containers provide some great storage for all of those smaller items that don’t have a home around your house. Why not give them a little makeover and then you will have something that is not only useful, but good-looking at the same time?
I found the container above at Dollarama (one of our local dollar stores) for only $1.00 a couple of months back. I know, it’s a bad example of an ugly container! This one is printed with the works of the Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha.
I decided to give it a makeover because I thought its pattern was a little too busy for display on top of my antique sewing cabinet, but I liked it because it was the perfect size for the space. It would also provide some great storage!
Here’s what my container looked like after its makeover. I really love how it turned out!
Since I am about to share my tutorial with you, what if you want to make over something else that you already own instead of using a tin container like I did? It is no problem! You can use this tutorial to get this same look on any number of things such as a wooden storage box, a clay pot, a side table etc. Here’s your chance to be creative!
Supplies You’ll Need:
- a tin container or object of your choice to make over
- Mod Podge (I used the matte finish)
- sewing patterns
- images from The Graphics Fairy (Sewing Machine image found HERE) & (Anchor Frame image found HERE)
- acrylic gesso
- turquoise acrylic paint or another color of your choice
- Golden Soft Gel Medium or other gel medium
- fine grit sandpaper (I used 400 grit)
- paint brush, spray bottle, tin foil and scissors
- painter’s tape
- rubber brayer or flat spreader
- Exacto-knife and Sharpie Pen
- knob for the top of your canister (optional)
- drill and drill bit (if adding a knob)
- plastic dropcloth to protect your workspace
I recently found all of these vintage sewing patterns at Salvation Army for $1.98. It is difficult to see here but there are 10 separate patterns stapled together within these packages. I now have enough sewing pattern tissue for oodles of projects.
Ohhhhh… and don’t you just love the styles these ladies were sporting way back when? Woohoo!
Here’s a little information about the turquoise paint that I used on my container. I picked up this artist’s acrylic paint at my local art supply store for $7.99. This isn’t like the regular acrylic paint that you would find in the paint aisle at Michael’s craft store. It is so much better! You only need the tiniest little amount (about the size of half a pea) to do a color wash over your entire container, with some to spare. It is that concentrated! The color is so vibrant too! One container of this paint will last you almost forever.
Now on to the tutorial…
Preparing your container for paint
- Wipe down your container with water and a small amount of dish soap. You’ll want to remove any greasy spots or the paint may not stick. Leave it to dry for a few minutes.
- Next, put your lid back on your container and take a Sharpie pen or a pencil and draw a line underneath exactly where the lid closes to (you can barely see my black Sharpie line in the photo below). The reason you want to do this is so your canister will close properly when you are all done. You don’t want to get paint stuck under the lid because it will frustrate you every time you open and close your container!
- Using painter’s tape, tape off underneath where your lid would be following the line you have drawn.
- Finally, give your container a light sanding all over with fine grit sandpaper. Wipe away all of the sanding dust before moving on.
Painting your container
- Use your foam brush to coat your container with two coats of acrylic gesso, letting it dry between coats.
- After your canister has dried, you can age it with a very diluted mixture of your turquoise paint and water. You basically only want to have thin blue water when you are done mixing it.
- Put some paint on your brush and dab it on a paper towel. Then brush lightly and randomly all over your container in one direction (see below).
Now you are ready to transfer your graphics onto your container. If you are not interested in having graphics on your container (don’t be nervous, it is really easy!), you can move on over to the next step.
I found these amazing images that I used on The Graphics Fairy’s blog. If you would like to use the same images as I did, the antique sewing machine graphic and the anchor frame graphic can be found HERE and HERE). If you don’t want to have a sewing-themed container, you could put any other image of your choosing on your container. Use whatever you like!
For detailed instructions on how to transfer images, you can read my tutorial How-to-Guide: Transfer Photos to Canvas HERE. For those of you short on time, I have written up abbreviated instructions for you below.
Transferring the images to your container: Abbreviated version
Helpful tips to know before starting:
- The sewing machine image needs to be printed in “mirror image” mode so the text comes out correctly when transferring.
- You will need to adjust the size of your graphics before printing to fit your particular container that you are transferring to.
- Prepare to transfer the frame graphic first. It will be easier to place your sewing machine graphic on your canister if you do it this way.
- Carefully trim around the frame leaving about 1/4″ of white space around the outer edge (see above photo).
- Place the frame graphic on a piece of tinfoil face up and coat the printed side with an even coat of Golden soft gel medium.
- Working quickly, place your image face down centered on your canister. NOTE: Once your image is put down it cannot be moved, so try to place it as close as possible to where you want it!
- Used a rubber brayer or spreader to smooth out any air bubbles. Make sure your image is stuck down well.
- Wipe away any excess gel medium and leave your image to dry for at least 2 hours (you can speed up drying with a hair dryer).
- Once the paper is good and dry, spray one area of your image with your spray bottle. You want it to be wet but not sopping wet.
- Use the pad of your finger to gently rub the back of the paper until you see the image come through.
- Rub away as much of the residual paper as you can, taking care not to rub off your image. Make sure the area you are working on stays wet.
- TIP: You can use a kitchen dish scrubber to lightly rub away the residual paper without the image coming off. Rub in a circular motion and be careful near the edges.
- Prepare your sewing machine graphic using the same method above. Try to center it inside your frame as best as you can. I just eye-balled mine.
- Once both of your images have been transferred, your are ready to decoupage.
If you haven’t ever used sewing pattern tissue paper before, it is a lot of fun to work with. I love using it because it molds perfectly to whatever you are sticking it to. It is also transparent so it takes on the background of whatever you are attaching it to. See an example from my mixed media collage HERE.
Silly me! I forgot to take photos of the actual decoupaging part of this tutorial but I am sure the majority of you already know how to decoupage, so I will only be giving you the simplified description for this part!
Decoupaging your container & finishing touches
- Take a piece of sewing pattern tissue paper out of its package and find an area of the pattern that you really like the look of.
- Line it up on your container so you know where you are going to need to rip it.
- Tear your tissue as evenly as possible to fit one side of your canister. It’s ok if it is going to wrap around to the adjacent side.
- Coat the side you are working on with Mod Podge and apply your tissue peice to your container. Use the palm of your hand to smooth out the wrinkles. Try to keep the paper as smooth as possible but some wrinkles are inevitable and I think it just adds some character.
- Put a coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper you just attached.
- Continue to add paper all over your container, overlapping it in areas to give the container some depth.
- When you get to the edge of your container or lid, wrap the paper under the edges slightly and use a small amount of Mod Podge to stick them down firmly.
- Once everything is dry, tear off the excess paper or use your Exacto-knife to create a cleaner cut.
- Once your entire container is covered with paper, coat with two coats of Mod Podge watered down 50% with water.
- Once that is dry, lightly sand your entire container to remove any lumps and bumps.
- Use some of your diluted turquoise paint to age your container. Paint it on randomly, wiping it off as you go and leaving some areas darker than others.
- Coat everything with at least two more coats of Mod Podge for protection and to unify everything together. Remove the painter’s tape and clean up the top edge with an Exacto-knife.
- OPTIONAL: Drill a hole in the center of your lid for your knob using your drill and drill bit. You can also use an awl if you are careful when poking a hole through the top. Attach your knob and you are done!
Here you can see the area at the top of the container that I purposely left unfinished. Since I will always keep my container closed, only I will know that it looks like this (of course now you will know too!)
If you haven’t already noticed, I made a mistake and put on some of the tissue paper on the upper left corner of the lid on backwards. Haha! I didn’t realize I had done that until I had already glued the paper down. Oh well, that’s just the way I roll sometimes.
The crystal looking knob that I used is actually a plastic knob I had found at Michael’s for $1.50 a while back. It is a pretty good “fake”, don’t you think?
Well there you have it! I know it seems like a lot of steps to this tutorial but there really are only 6.
A re-cap of the steps:
- Prep your canister for paint
- Paint it
- Transfer your images
- Decoupage it with sewing pattern tissue paper
- Aged it with paint and clear coat it
- Attach your knob
One of these days I am going to try to get over my shyness and make a video tutorial for those of you who are visual learners. Would you find a video tutorial helpful or would you rather just have a written tutorial? I am open to your suggestions!
I hope you love my storage container as much as I do. You will see below that this little DIY project cost me next to nothing to complete! My kind of project!
I hope that I have inspired you to make over some of those not so pretty storage containers that you have tucked away in your closets or elsewhere in your home. I know that they are so functional, but there’s no reason why they can’t look great too!
This is also a wonderful way to reuse materials that may otherwise have ended up in the trash!
Until next time,
Parties I’ve Linked Up To:
~ Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Domestically Speaking – 130th Power of the Paint Party ~ Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ 733 Blog – Sugar and Spice ~ Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up With House of Hepworths ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Fine Craft Guild – Time for a Party ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ Organize Your Stuff Now – Home Decorating and Organizing Link Party ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~
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