i should be mopping the floor: How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box

Brace yourself. This post is a bit lengthy. But, I went step-by-step through the entire process (building and paint effects) of How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box. These can be made in any size...they're perfect for tables, mantels, shelves, upright pianos, and more.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
So, I'll start by stating the obvious...this thing is huge, y'all. Huge. But, I purposely designed it that way. My dining table actually has two more leaves that we add for the holiday season to accommodate the whole ding dang family. So, my centerpiece box is enormous. I also have a fairly unusually wide table (at least for a rectangular one). So, making it this size works for me...but if you do decide to make this, be sure to make it according to the size you'll need. After the holidays, I'm thinking about moving it to the piano or the mantel for quick decor. I may load it up with books or other fun things...the possibilities are pretty endless with a box like this. I've already purchased a big load of tall mason jars to fill it with for Christmas...hoping to do red candles nestled in epsom salt in them (it's as close to "snow" as I get down here in Texas). 

I've truly wanted one of these for forever. Super happy to have it in place now. Check out how my dad and I made it...and how I gave it a super shabby paint treatment below. 
How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
The wording on the box is a bit random. Well, sort of. I wanted some sort of produce saying...but not "grocery" (I already have one of those signs). I wanted it to seem like a real thing...like a real company that exists/existed. And my husband is interested (read: obsessed) with moving to Brooklyn in the next 10 years or so. We've visited NYC a bit and his obsession is relentless. So, I made this to tide him over. Moving to Brooklyn/having a box that says Brooklyn...it's the same.


How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
My dad was in on this one (so you know it was done the right way...as opposed to the fast way, which is how I *sometimes* do things). It's gotten to where I call him and tell him my thoughts and he no longer asks the "why" anymore. Because I'm sure "I want to build a five foot long box that's only seven inches wide" sounded totally normal.

So, to begin...you'll need boards that will fit the length that you want to make your box. I used three 1"x6" boards. We measured them to be five feet in length and cut the ends off. The parts we cut off were used later (after being measured and cut again) as the short end pieces. We did all of our cuts with a miter saw to make it easier.  

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
We wood-glued and then used a nail gun to attach the pieces together. The red arrows show where we put a long bead of glue...on the edge of the piece that will become one of the sides. We also used bar clamps to position these in place while we nailed them. You can grab a bar clamp here for less than $10. Once the piece is glued and clamped together, nail along that edge. While a nail gun is awesome for speed, a good ol' hammer and nails works great, too. 

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
Then we repeated with the other side.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
Our box seemed to lean in a bit, so we used a clamp in the reverse position to expand it while we attached the end piece. You can see the end piece sitting behind the clamp there...we just ran a bead of glue along the edge and nailed that end piece in place.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
After the whole thing dried for a couple of days (okay...a month), I started on the paint treatment. This is a super aged look I wanted. I know it's not for everyone, but it's the look I was going for on this particular piece. I used a couple of different paints and treatments on this one...I hoard paint supplies, y'all. 
I purposefully didn't sand it to start with...that comes later. I wanted it to be as rugged and authentic as possible. 
I used a dark chalky finish paint as my base coat. You can grab this one here (it's the least expensive of any chalk paint I've found). 

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
After one rough coat of chalk paint, I applied my lettering. I used my Silhouette on mine, but you definitely don't need it. I've found loads of precut vinyl lettering on Amazon that you can use for this. Click here for the 4" ones that would work great for this project.

Then I used one of my favorite paint aging tools...a wax puck. For years, I used an old taper candle for this. But, this wax puck truly works better...its texture is a lot more tacky and it adheres better to the base coat. Basically, wherever you rub this puck, the paint that is applied on top of it doesn't stick as well and can come off easily in the sanding process later...without necessarily disturbing the base coat. Essentially, this can give you a weathered layered paint look. As far as I know, Miss Mustard Seed is the only one that makes these. I get mine here

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
For my top coat of paint, I used one of Miss Mustard Seed's new European colors of milk paint. I wanted to use milk paint because of how well it purposefully ages itself with the right tools/products applied to it. This is her Mora color. You can grab it here. I mix mine fairly thin since I'm doing a layered paint look. Also...another tip for milk paint: Use a blender bottle to mix it (the kind with the metal ball in it)...they're fairly inexpensive and I scored a few for free at a conference once. 

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
I painted very roughly with the milk paint...I still wanted some of the dark chalk paint to show through. While it was fairly tacky, I went over it with Hemp Oil. I was using stain on top of this and was honestly just curious as to how it would all react with one another. When you're going for that super gritty, grungy look, it's almost anything goes.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
A little nod to my high school music tastes... ;)
I peeled the letters while the paint was still slightly tacky.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
Then the fun began. I sanded all over the thing...I honestly didn't use a pattern with sanding...the wax puck I used kind of shows where I applied it...the darker color showing through is because of that puck. If I hadn't applied it, I would need to sand a lot harder...but then risk the issue of having all of the paint removed.
I sanded a bit of the lettering off, too...just to make it authentic looking.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
If you want to skip the really dirty look, then don't do this...but honestly, it's my fave! And yeah...I don't wear gloves when I stain. My hands look like man hands after some serious work, y'all...but it scrubs right off with a loofah. ;)

I use Minwax Stain in Dark Walnut and go over the whole piece with an old t-shirt. Then I use a clean (old) t-shirt and wipe off some of the stain...leaving it a bit darker in some areas and a bit lighter in others.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
Dirty, old, and rugged.
You can definitely go lighter on the sanding and staining to get a less worn look.

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
Hilariously, I originally bought potted mums for this before we built it. In the month it took for me to paint it (sighhhh), it rained a lot here (weird...it's Texas, y'all). My mums grew so tall that when I put them in here, they were so tall that diners wouldn't be able to see each other. That's okay for introverts like me (kidding. kind of.), but other people actually enjoy conversing and all that, so I went with a bunch of glitter pumpkins from the HobLob on top of moss. It's all kinds of glitter-iffic up in here, y'all. And all of the extroverts can visit until the wee hours. And I can go hide in the kitchen and wash dishes (I try...I really do). 

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
What'cha think? Is this a crazy project or what?

How to Make a Large Vintage Centerpiece Box | Follow this building and painting tutorial to create a funky centerpiece that also works on a table, mantel, or upright piano.
What would you put in a box like this?





17 comments:

  1. This is a very cool centerpiece. I would probably put pumpkins and other fake fruits in it.

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  2. That is such a cool centerpiece. I love how you filled it with the glittered pumpkins.

    Michelle F.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I thought they'd be a nice touch! ;)

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  3. I so enjoyed this post! First I love this project and it really did turn out so impressive. But also, your writing is very enjoyable to read. Outstanding :)

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    1. Thank you, Erica! That is such a sweet thing to say! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. Interesting project to say the least-I would not have room in my apartment for a centerpiece like this one and I doubt I would try to make it either--of course I live near NYC so I could just go down to Hunts Point Market or even to Brooklyn and pick one up!!! No idea what I would put in it either!

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    1. How nice that you live so close to the city, Miki! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

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  5. It's just darling! I love the glittery pumpkins, but I might use gourds for the rest of fall. Maybe glittery pinecones for winter?

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    1. What a great idea, Melanie! Pine cones would look fantastic!

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  6. Super nice tutorial on this great project....going out to the woodpile today, lol, Thanks for the inspiration! Sandi

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  7. That was loos very nice, I love your project. I'd like to share this in my family they would love it.

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  8. It looks great! I've been meaning to build something similar for my table, as well.

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  9. It looks great! I've been meaning to build something similar for my table, as well.

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  10. Kristi, my 'oh I want to to do that' list just got longer! The wax puck..never heard of it! So glad I happened upon your post at Best of the Weekend Link Party. Thanks for the inspiration and the tutorial!!

    Lynn

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  11. I have been looking for something like this forever! I wanted galvanized tin, but I don't think they make them this size! But this is even better! I want it to sit in the center of my glass topped dining table and I want to fill it with wheat grass, all that lovely green grass down the center of the dining room! Pinning! Thanks so much for sharing, excited!

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  12. I love this! I can think of dropped evergreens to fill it with ornaments for Christmas- then grasses for spring, just anything. I do not have a handy way to make the box, so I thought maybe an unfinished flower box from one of those mill stores. Your directions are great, so I am def. going to pin in hopes that I may actually make this!

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