upcycle some French country charm
Upcycle jars and tins into decorative vessels with a touch of French country flair.
“Create a display with containers of different shapes and sizes to add depth, height and interest to your home decor.”
Giving a shabby chic look to chosen or re-purposed vessels is incredibly easy and involves using acrylic or even chalk paint in only two contrasting colours. You can use white paint for your top coat or choose a favourite pastel shade.
1 Clean vessels in warm soapy water, making sure you’ve removed any residue, then dry completely. As glass and metal are non-porous, you need to create some “tooth” on the surface by giving the containers a good sand with the sanding block. Wipe away any dust, as you don’t want this interfering with your paint finish. 2 Using a paintbrush, apply a coat of black paint to cover the entire vessel. Do not overload with paint as this will cause it to crack and potentially peel off. Depending on what you are painting, you may like to paint a few inches of the inside too. I did this for the metal objects, but not the glass ones. Because you are painting a non-porous surface let the paint dry completely overnight so it adheres well. Only one coat of black is required. 3 When the paint is completely dry, rub the surface of your vessel with candle wax. You don’t want to cover it completely – just rub the wax randomly all around, making it more concentrated on some areas and leaving others with no wax at all. 4 Paint a top coat of white (or pastel) and let it dry before applying a second coat (pic A). Leave overnight for both top coats to dry properly. 5 Using your sandpaper block, distress the paint finish by gently rubbing over areas of white paint. It is now that you’ll see how the waxy coat comes into play. It helps to remove the white paint without removing the undercoat of black. Sand some areas more thoroughly than others, so the black undercoat is more obvious – this will create that beautiful shabby chic effect. When distressing, bear in mind where the label will go. You don’t want too much black under the lettering as that would make it harder to read. 6 Once you’re happy with the look, you’re ready to apply the Frenchinspired labels. Free printable labels are available through thegraphicsfairy.com. Print labels at your chosen dimensions onto the waterslide paper using an inkjet printer. Print onto the smooth eggshell surface of the paper (see pack instructions). 7 Cut out your shapes as close to the printed edge as possible. 8 Soak the print-outs one by one in approximately 2cm of cold water for about a minute (pic B). The top layer of paper will start to separate from the base. When this happens, peel away, discarding the base, and stick the transfer to your vessel. The great thing about these waterslide decals is the ability to reposition them while still wet, so if you haven’t got it right first time there’s no need to panic. As it dries, the background will start to change from transparent to white. This will not be seen if you’ve painted white as your top coat. If you have used a pastel colour, it will become transparent again when you apply the varnish sealant. 9 Protect your project with a clear-finish sealant. This can be acrylic or oil-based. Notes: Because of the acrylic paint, avoid getting the vessels wet – use them for display purposes only. They look great as holders for faux or dried flowers or as storage for kitchen utensils. To clean them, simply dust with a dry cloth. If you are unable to find waterslide paper, you could print the labels on ordinary paper and stick them on with Mod Podge - it won’t have the “stamped on” effect that the waterslide paper gives, but if you use white paint and white paper, it will still look great.