January 19, 2012

Porcelain Canister Rehab: Freebie Find into Crafty Orgnaizers

I recently acquired a set of four porcelain canisters as part of a Freecycle run to score a kiddie papasan chair for Avi and a cool bulletin board with a crown-molding-style shelf for my office space.  The canisters were just part of the take: usually you have to pick up the whole lot o' giveaway stuff and sort out what you don't want later..that's just part of the exchange for getting the cool stuff!

But we already have a set of kitchen canisters (for flour, sugar, coffee, tea, and cookies).  These were actually part of a very large set of  pre-1970's USA-made Pfalzgraff stoneware in near perfect condition scored at a yard sale for $50, which we later looked up and valued on ReplaceIt.com for more than $800!! <-- just another reason to check out thrifty sources for stuff before running out and buying new!!  But I digress.

Unlike the Pfalzgraff set, however, these canisters looked really dated--in a large floral motif that looked like an old lady outfit.  So since they were free, I decided to see how easy (or hard) it would be to give them a facelift and bring them back into this decade.
Help me! I'm ugly!

Since they are porcelain and  stamped on the bottom, I did look them up online just to make sure they weren't secretly worth something.  They weren't.

Knowing they weren't valuable, and that they were FREE gave me the freedom to experiment, because at worst, if I totally screwed up, we weren't out anything.  That's a good position in which to find yourself!

So using just materials I had on hand, I set about to make these otherwise destined-for-Goodwill canisters into something useful for me.  It wasn't too hard though it did draw out over the course of a day because of the drying time in between coats, but the premise is simple.  Watch their transformation, and get ideas for that next thrifty find of yours!

Step One:  PRIME.  Since the porcelain glaze is shiny, the canisters needed primed with something in order to be re-painted.  I'm sure there are better substances one could have used to accomplish this, but since I only intended to use supplies I already had, I turned to a giant tub of economy Gesso (free from another Freecycle run!) and figured since you prime canvas with this gluey basic white paint, it couldn't hurt.  So I slapped a couple coats of Gesso on the canisters, letting them dry in between coats.

Step Two:  PAINT.  I consulted my drawer o' random bottles of acrylic craft paint, and chose, as best I could, four colors that looked good together.  I ended up going with bright jewel tones.  Once primer is dry, paint one coat, let dry, paint another coat, and so on.  It ended up taking THREE coats to fully cover up the flower print for the yellow and red, and TWO coats for the darker crocus and turquoise.

I used DecoArt's one-step crackle on top of the final layer of paint.  I must say I was pretty disappointed by the underwhelming crackle effect.  That might have just been the product of it being a one-step so there wasn't the second-coat in contrasting color to really pop the effect.  They do look mildly distressed up close, but no so you would notice from afar.  It did act as a sealant glaze though, so they went from matte to glossy, which I liked.

Step Three: DETAIL.  I wanted the canisters to have something special on them since the crackle turned out insufficient as a decorative effect.  I decided to use chalkboard paint so I could make re-usable "labels" on the front, to write the contents of the containers, which could be changed and re-labeled with ease.  I used masking tape to frame out a rectangle, and then painted it in with the chalkboard paint.  Do be sure the paint is 100% dry or you will peel it off when you remove the tape.  As it was, I did end up chipping some of the crackled pieces off whilst removing the tape, which I just touched up with a small brush.

It is recommended to use at least two coats of the chalkboard paint, allowing to dry in between coats.  Then once dry, being VERY careful to remove the tape, I pulled it off, touched up any little chips, and let dry again.

Then I used regular black paint to make some additional details, to make the design pop a bit, and help reduce any still-evident shadows of the darkest            
                                                                                    flowers underneath.

The finished set, ready to conceal all my little craft orphans!

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