Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trash to Treasure - Handmade Wood Shelf Drawer - Altered to Shabby Chic using Tim Holtz Distress Inks and Inexpensive Paints

Despite my tendency to over embellish, I tried to restrain a bit. I just used supplies I had on hand and I spent a total of $6 for the paper, knob and shelf - now I feel thrifty!

Below is what I started with, a thrift store handmade banged-up wooden shelf  with drawer in a very ugly color, my mom would call it "baby poop" brown. (Actually mom was a rowdy and would have used a stronger word than "poop" but for politeness I'll just leave it at the "P-word.")

I removed the knob, painted the shelf black with Bob Ross Gesso - that dries very quickly. Then I dry-brushed it with white gesso and stressed a few areas with a little sandpaper, gouged some divots and lines with an X-acto knife and scraped some areas to remove some of the paint I had just added.  Using Tim Holtz' Distress Inks I rubbed around some of the edges and flat surfaces and blended with my finger then gently wiped off some areas of the ink with a damp paper towel. I cut a piece of decorative cardstock to fit the back panel, glued it in place with Ranger Multi Medium Gloss, did a little streaking with brown paint and added a sweet new knob as a last step. All done in about one hour.
Tomorrow when the sun is out I'm going to take it outside and spray with an acrylic clear sealer to help preserve the paint (that I already scraped up) to keep it from ... getting ... more scraped up lol ... sounds crazy doesn't it?

I was VERY tempted to leave it at this state (thus the word AFTER add to the photo) -- this was before any of the brown paint and inks were added and before the paper was glued into the back wall.

Scraping some shabby distress into the fresh paint when it was "almost" dry - to get this jumping effect I had to try it three times - painting the white gesso each time and before it completely dried, I laid the edge of the blade at a straight 90 degree angle and put enough pressure to go through the white, but not enough pressure to go through the black gesso - toward the end of the pull I had tooooo much pressure and you can see where I ended up taking off a swipe of both the white and black gesso and revealing the brown.  Since I liked that effect you can see below it on the top shelf, I actually scraped through to the bare wood and later just added a little water based ink to give the natural wood a darker hue. {Picture is to show how I held the blade straight up and down with the sharp edge at a 90 degree angle on the slightly moist paint.}

Side view - I thought at that stage it needed a little more brown, so I poured a little pile of white gesso and squirted a couple streaks of brown paint over the pile.  I did NOT mix it.  Dipping the fine edge of the foam brush directly into the brown and white paint (one dip at a time so not to mix the colors at that point) I applied it in vertical lines by dabbing the brush (at a 90 degree angle), then swiped the flat side of the brush down in 1-2 swipes, that's why there are longer brownish streaks. That results in the white paint somewhat mixing with the brown and gives a variegated pattern that looks pretty amazing. That's a fun technique to use on other projects, like junk journals and tags.

Tools I used for this project: Distress Inks by Tim Holtz (Vintage Photo and Frayed Burlap colors), Tim Holtz' Idea-ology Sanding Grip Block, an iron drawer knob (purchased from the Stinkin' Cute Scrapbook Shop & Boutique in Blackfoot, Idaho), a foam brush, X-acto knife, Bob Ross Black Gesso, Daler Rowney White Gesso, Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint in Chocolate Bar, sheet of BoBunny  Cardstock (12" Weekend Market Antique Item #12WMA470), and Ranger Multi Medium Gloss.

I'm still strongly considering adding the letters CREATE to the top in brownish shabby lettering!  What do you think?

Thanks for checking it out.


  1. You do awesome funky, so grungy good! LOVE this, and am following!

    1. Thanks so much for following and the sweet comment :D