Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pink-Washed Toy Crates

A few months ago, my husband gave me two wooden crates as part of my 10 days of anniversary gifts. They were symbols of the year of marriage when several family members and friends moved away AND of our impending move for law school. Initially, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them since I didn't really have a place to store two wooden crates. Then, I realized that they fit perfectly underneath the girls' Stork Craft Caribou Bunk Bed! What a perfect way to store some of their toys in a very child-friendly and good looking way.

Of course, I couldn't just leave them as unfinished wood. Not only isn't that "princessy" enough, the wood is kinda rough and just might give my girlies some splinters. Since the crates are going to be used by children, I thought a more distressed finish might be in order. Then I won't have to worry about if they ding them up. Judging by the looks of their bunkbed now, they WILL ding them up. So, I went for a white-washed look. Scratch that. Pink-washed look.

Here's what I used:
  • wooden crate ($10 regular price at Michael's - only $6 with 40% coupon!)
  • sandpaper
  • polyurethane
  • paint (I used a $5 "Daddy's Little Girl" Paint Pod from Ace Hardware)
  • water
  • paintbrush
  • glides
I am no professional, but here's how I did it:
  1. I smoothed out the wooden crates with a quick sanding and then removed the dust with a damp paper towel.
  2. I decided to put a coat of poly on first to seal the wood. This would also bring out the natural color of the wood in the areas where the paint was thin. Not sure if this is exactly necessary, but it's what I did. (In retrospect, part of me wishes that I had stained the wood dark brown first. The other part of me realizes that the crates were enough work as it was.)
  3. In a disposable cup, I mixed a small amount of paint with an equal amount of water. I brushed this on the crate and let it dry. This gave the crate a see-through pink coating. Wood knots were still visible.
  4. Once that was dry, I dry-brushed some pink paint on. To do this, I dipped a dry paint brush in the paint and blotted most of the paint off onto a paper towel. Then, I lightly brushed it onto the crate for a streaky effect. I let it dry and then repeated until I got the look I wanted.
  5. To finish it off, I put a coat of non-yellowing polyurethane to seal it all up and make it easier to wipe clean. Because with kids, everything needs to be able to wiped clean easily.
  6. To make the crate easier to slide underneath the bed, we attached some cheap glides on the bottom corners of the crate.

To make it easy for the girls to tell the contents of the crates, I made some little labels out of scrapbooking paper. I made sure to use words as well as pictures for my non-reader Lucie.

For other how-to ideas, stop by The Lettered Cottage for "How To's Day" on the last Tuesday of the month.

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