I love miniature objects! And if they are vintage? Even better!
When I saw this unfinished wood mini wheelbarrow at the craft store recently, my heart starting beating just a bit faster.
About six inches in length, and only $1.00 (at A.C. Moore), this mini wheelbarrow was coming home with me!
I knew instantly that I wanted to give this little guy a makeover with a vintage-style, painted tin faux finish.
And that’s just what I did!
The key to making unfinished wood look like tin is to layer paint, with the base color of paint being a color similar to tin.
Any of the gray shades work well for this technique. The gray color is what will show through your top color of paint. Matte-finish paints work better than glossy, as you want an aged appearance. I use chalky finish paints for this effect.
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paints in Relic (dark gray) and Inheritance (golden-mustard yellow); small paintbrush and tiny detail paintbrush (to get into the very tiny spots); wax candle stub; emery board or small piece of sandpaper; clean rag.
1. Paint the wheelbarrow with one coat of the dark gray chalky finish paint. Let dry. I began painting the bottom of the wheelbarrow first, while holding the top of it. By the time I was ready for the next section, the first was dry, so this step went super-fast.
Helpful tip: Use a small detail brush to get into those tiny spaces like the inside of the wheels. An eye liner brush also works perfectly for this!
2. Take your wax candle and rub it on all edges (see image A) and anywhere else you’d like to have the gray color show. (I used a small candle stub I’ve had for years that I keep just for this purpose. Any size wax candle will work, but the smaller ones are much easier to handle and get into tiny spots.) Image B shows you what the wheelbarrow looked like after I was finished with this step.
3. Paint the wheelbarrow with one coat of the golden-mustard Chalky Finish Paint, painting right over all of the waxed areas. Let dry. Using an emery board or a small piece of sandpaper, sand the wheelbarrow – especially over the waxed areas – to reveal the dark gray paint. Start out sanding gently and then increase pressure as you get the feel of how easily (or not) the paint comes off. Wipe any dust or residue away with a clean rag.
And that’s it!
Here’s some close-up images so you can see the details:
I had some miniature candles in a similar shade, so I tied them together with twine, added a scrap piece of vintage seam binding, then set them among some paper shred for a sweet little display:
Next month, I’ll replace the candles with mini pumpkins:
Remember: crafting doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The wheelbarrow was $1, and the emery board, paint and candle I had already.
I can use this year-round in my decorating too: imagine this wheelbarrow holding a tiny bottle brush Christmas tree for the holidays, and maybe some small decorative eggs in the Spring. (And think of gift ideas too: give one of these to the gardener on your list, filled with a seed packet, fake greens or flowers, or some candy.)
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Jennifer Patricia Priest says
Adorable! I love the tip about using the wax as a resist. Never would have thought of that!!
Laura / Pet Scribbles says
Thanks Jennifer! I like the different distressed effects that can be achieved depending on what’s used, for example petroleum jelly on a painted wood piece. But for tiny items, this method is so easy to get into those little nooks and crannies! 🙂
Laura / Pet Scribbles recently posted…Halloween Crow Art (with free printable!)