Ornaments Aren’t Just for Trees

I walked by this green, tiered stand three or four times at the Northfield Goodwill. It was so big you couldn’t miss it as it sat lonely on an end cap in the housewares section. I kept thinking “what is that thing??” By my fourth pass by I finally picked it up and tossed it in my cart. I had no clue what I was going to do with it but for only $5 it was worth the challenge. It sat for weeks in my basement. I polled every friend that came to our house to see what they would do with it. A brief sampling of answers: • Chip Bowls • Toy Corral • Fruit/Vegetable Storage • A Planter • And my favorite… a chocolate fountain! After several more weeks of it sitting lonely in the basement, an idea came to me. I decided to forgo all the wonderful ideas I received (chocolate fountain included) and chose instead to use it as a display for my collection of brightly colored vintage ornaments. I wanted the piece to be nice and bright, or let me rephrase that, merry and bright, so I did two layers of color; turquoise and white. I painted a few spots of turquoise, let it dry, then added a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the turquoise area. The petroleum jelly prevents the top coat from adhering and makes it easy to achieve a distressed, chippy look. I then did two coats of white chalk paint on top. Chalk paint makes distressing really easy and can be made at home by mixing plaster of paris with water then adding in your paint. I’m not much of a measurement kind of gal so for exact directions and alternative recipes you can do a simple search online for “DIY chalk paint.”

Once the second layer of white chalk paint dried I sanded like crazy using a medium grit sanding sponge. The areas where I had wiped petroleum jelly were exposed right away then I continued to sand the rest to give it a smooth clean surface. Two tips when sanding; Do it outside and don’t have your coffee sitting too close by. Once sanding is complete, wipe off all the dust with a damp rag and let dry. The final step is to wipe on a layer of furniture wax to seal it. Give the wax about a half hour to dry then let the decorating begin!!

I quickly realized I didn’t have enough ornaments to make the bowls look full so I bought some inexpensive bulbs from the dollar store (check the Goodwill store first) to use as filler then placed my ornaments on top. I love how it turned out! It’s certainly no chocolate fountain, but dare I say it’s just as sweet!  Goodwill is a great place to find unique or unusual items for  do-it-yourself projects.




Katie is a graphic designer, a mom of two boys, and a self-proclaimed thrift-aholic. She blogs about her thrifted treasures and DIY upcycle projects at SomethingToBeFound.com.