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Thrifty Vintage-Look Shelf Project

Thrifty, frugal, prudent you see the common theme? I'd been a life long big spender (one who spends lavishly and ostentatiously); however living a coastal lifestyle doesn't really go along with being a big spender - at least, not in my book. A coastal lifestyle means that you learn to embrace a simpler life; you enjoy the things you have; you learn to use things you have in a different way. I've also become concerned with the environment so re-using is a big part of my daily life. So, I have embraced the thrifty side of life over the years and now am a full fledged fan of frugality.

I recently wrote about our Adventures in Garage Saling and promised to share some of my other finds with is one such find; which happens to also be a thrifty project! Our last garage sale stop was just around the corner from home and I found this cool wall shelf for a whopping .50 cents! It had been used and abused over the years and contained a lovely (LOL!) primer paint job when I purchased it. I really liked the hammered metal-look of it and knew I could make it appear a bit put it mildly.

I pulled out my acrylic paints: Dark Pine; Pure Gold; Black; White as well as a well worn paint brush and a sanding pad. I gave the shelf a quick little sanding, wiped it clean and laid my painting papers underneath. My painting papers are actually the slick backing from computer label sheets - they work fabulous for crafting on and I love using them for something other than just trash.

The dark pine paint was used to base coat the shelf. Choose a dark background color that you'd like your project to reflect when completed. Since I'm going for a Vintage-look I didn't worry about covering every little indentation with the first coat.

The paint was almost dry when I began phase two of the project.  Pure gold would be our next layer...use a dry brush and make sure you fill in the places where the first coat didn't get to.  Use a light hand as you want to let the base coat still show through.  I keep a soft cloth handy to lightly dab areas where I may get too much paint on. You can see the difference in the photo below from the areas painted with gold, and not painted yet...

Let the gold paint dry (only takes 10 to 15 minutes) Next, we get out the Black acrylic paint and again use a dry brush**.  With very little paint on the brush you will lightly stroke the brush across the surface...just highlighting the grooves, indentations etc. Next use your white acrylic paint and do the exact same thing.  A very light touch, with a tiny bit of paint will highlight the beauty of the piece.  If necessary, repeat the black and white until your piece has the look you want.

I haven't really decided where this will end up...possibly in our master bath re-do.  I'm quite happy with the end result as it looks like metal; which was my goal. Total cost for the project was about 75 cents...I'm feeling pretty thrifty!

**How to Dry Brush Tutorial

Celebrating the Coastal Lifestyle         All Thingz Related    


  1. What a cute little shelf..and a bargain too!! Looks wonderful green.

  2. I love it! Looks how pretty you made it look! And you did it with stuff you already had around the house...fabulous my friend! Just fabulous!!

  3. Great bargain! I like the transformation. Great job!

  4. Ooh...what a bargain!!!
    And you made it look even better!

  5. I'm boring I would have washed it and painted it white.

    Do stop by to enter my first "give back" of some beach goodies in celebration of World Oceans Day.

  6. That is so pretty, love the color you picked for it and thanks for the step by step how to! Blessings, Vicky

  7. What a great job, Marie -- and I love that green. Thanks for coming to see me at dolcecapecod; isn't it fun to have coast-to-coast cyber visits?

    A big ocean "wave" from Cape Cod,

  8. Now, that's what I would call going "coastal". Your shelf looks great wearing its new coat of paint and seashell adornments.

    Thanks for linking into Tips & Tricks Tuesday.

    I would like to invite you to visit the cottage, and join in on all three linky parties:


    You can get the details here:

    Hope to see ya there!
    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  9. Hi Marie -

    Thanks for leaving me such a nice comment. I someday hope to be able to blog from a house by the sea. When I was first married I lived on the west coast and traveled up and down the coast from San Fran to Seattle many times. Beautiful. My husband was a naval officer at the time and we lived on the Puget Sound back in the 80's for 6 months. I really enjoyed our time there. I am looking forward to your blog now that I have discoverd it.
    My best-

  10. What a cute 50 cent shelf...thanks for showing it off at NTT! Also thanks for the sweet comment:)


  11. Looks great! Thanks for joining us for Anything Related! Hope to see you tomorrow! ~Bridgette


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