January 12, 2011

DIY Makeover... From Toy Box to Funky, Industrial, Shipping Crate Bench Inspired by a T-Shirt Design

toy box to painted bench makeover
My funky bench makeover.

toy box to painted bench makeover
It started with this lovely purple wooden bench/toy box that my Mom found (thanks Mom!)
 and this...

tshirt with coffee logo as paint inspiration
My coffee t shirt.

I wanted the bench to have the look of being made from wooden printed
shipping crates and my shirt became my inspiration.

toy box to hand painted bench
I primed, painted and added wooden pieces on the bottom ...

large industrial yellow casters
The wooden pieces were added so I could attach these big industrial casters.

watery paint instead of glaze finish
After it was painted and dry, I brushed on watered down light brown paint.
I quickly brush it all over the piece, usually in manageable sections on large
pieces like this so it doesn't have time to dry out too much.

use watered down paint instead of glaze for distressing furniture
While the paint is still wet, wipe it off with a soft cloth and it does basically the same thing 
as glaze... leaving color in all the nooks and crannies.
I prefer this method over glaze because it dries faster
 and I seem to have more control doing it this way.

Keep in mind, the sheen of the paint you used for the base coat can affect how
much of the wash you are able to wipe off. Unsealed flat paint can really soak color up.
 I usually use satin or semi-gloss for my base coats or, alternately, you can add a coat of 
poly in between your base coat and your color wash application.

If you find your color wash has dried a little too much to wipe off, you can
brush on a little more water with your paint brush to soften the dried paint
or use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge to easily wipe it off.

use wax as a paint resist to create distressed finish
For the next step, I used a wax resist to distress the painted lettering.
It can give a more random distressed look than you get with sanding.  

I'm using a big block of paraffin wax, you can find it at the grocery
store, it's used for canning fruits and jelly. 
You can always use a candle too, preferably unscented, but I like
the big, easy to handle, rectangles of the paraffin. 

Before doing your decorative painting, rub the bar of wax on the areas where 
you want a distressed finish. I used it mainly where I knew I would be painting the lettering.

Using wax is also a great way to layer colors and get a time worn, layered paint look.

how to use wax as a paint resist
After waxing, I started painting the lettering. 
I don't use stencils or measure out, I just go for it!  
You can see it's not perfect, but I'm okay with that and you won't even 
notice it in the end, especially for a distressed piece. 

wax resist paint finish
After painting, let dry completely then take an old credit card or scraper of some sort
 and scrape lightly over your painted area. 
The paint will easily scrape off wherever the wax was applied.

wax resist paint finish
I think the wax distressed treatment gives a great look.

using rust converter to make rusty things black
I added a different pair of hinges to the back but the ones I wanted to 
use were old and rusty...

use rust converter to turn rusty to black
I used spray on Rust Converter to eat the rust...or whatever it does...
and turn them into a nice black color. You have to seal them after using this
product or they will rust again. I used clear spray sealer.

paste wax finish
Since I already used wax on this piece, I gave it a wax finish instead of 
poly at the end to protect it.

painted industrial look shipping crate bench
I loosely followed my T-Shirt logo for the design.

hand painted industrial shipping crate bench
I added a bunch of other random words and numbers....

coffee crate bench
The back... I was going for part of the word "coffee"

industrial packing crate bench makeover
I left the inside plain but painted and did the color wash treatment.

industrial bench with casters
All done.

toy box to hand painted bench makeover
Ace... Such a poser!

Thanks for checking out my toy box makeover, find me on Facebook,
Pinterest and visit my Etsy shop to see what's new.


  1. Once again-you blow me away-Your designs are amazing and truly inspiring! I told you so!!

  2. Amazing ~ where do you come up with these ideas?

  3. I think it looks fabulous. I love it! I never heard of this wax method..I must try it!

  4. Lovin' this "COOL" idea...looks outstanding!


  5. That is great! I love how it turned out. And I never even heard of rust converter before. The things I learn in Blogland!

  6. Wow, I just love being part of Blogland! Everyone is so creative and inspiring. Your bench turned out just perfectly "imperfect", you know what I mean :)
    Great Job!

  7. What a beautifully painted crate, bench thingy. I love it!

  8. Wow that is just amazing!
    Thanks for some great tips!

  9. So pretty and C.R.E.A.T.I.V.E!

    That inspires me. I have a toy box that looks like that that I could use...do you think my son would miss his toybox? lol

  10. Girl, this is so freakin' cute. You did an awesome job on it. Love it.

  11. Lucy ~
    That is just
    awesome !!!
    Thank you for your
    wonderful tips too !


  12. Hi- I found your through Roeshel over at DIY. This project made me smile and head right over

    Great job! AND...you are very good at freehanding. For some of us that AREN'T so good I think stencils would work great. Love it...love it...love it.

  13. Lucy I think this cart is adorable! Good for you that you could paint it without stencils! I love the look and you have a great site!

    stop by!

  14. love thse way this turned out. very unique...

  15. Cute, cute! I love the little yellow wheels!!


  16. This is great, thanks for sharing

  17. It looks great! I just stumbled across your blog and I am sure glad I did. I can't wait to attempt to make one of these!

  18. That turned out great! I love the casters, too. I like rollers on everything I can attach them to. I haven't seen fun yellow ones like those.

  19. Ok this is just amazing. A.mazing. I cannot believe you free handed all those letters and numbers! Unique and fabulous!

  20. I just added your idea to my latest INSPIRED BY... post on my blog.

  21. lucy,
    this bench (and the rocker) are A+mazing and the fact that you don't use a stencil blows me away!
    found you via thrifty decor chick before & after party.

  22. I think this looks fabulous! What a fun piece! You did a great job.

  23. Love this too! I am your newest follower!


  24. I absolutly adore this transformation. I have an old grain bin that I have been wanting to go this to. Funky Junk Interiors stairs inspired me in the first place. But seeing your bench just brings my vision to life for me. Thanks for posting it. When I finally get around to actually getting it done I will be sure to give you some blogland credit for inspiring me!!! Thanks so Much!


I've moved to Lucydesignsart.com to focus on my mosaic art. I'm no longer creating dragonflies or mermaids.

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