From Trash to Treasure

Hello! Chloe, here! 

Ever since I began using Cottage Paint and Milk Paint while working at Marni LuHu, I've begun to see the world around me differently. This sounds like a very profound statement to make about something as simple as furniture refinishing paint, but it's completely true! A little care, some creativity, and a fresh coat of paint can change everything.

In our society today, when we want to redecorate or change the aesthetic of our homes, we have developed a "throw away and replace" mentality. If we simply don't like something, or even grow tired of it after a few years, it becomes trash (even if it is far from broken). But you've all heard the saying, "one (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure". This has become my creative mantra since discovering Cottage Paint/Milk Paint. You would not believe the amount of furniture and decor items I've found at thrift stores, garage sales, my own basement, or even dumpsters (more on that to come) that I've entirely transformed into something lifestyle-magazine worthy using only a paintbrush and some good ol' Cottage Paint.

Story time...

A few weeks ago I walked into the shop to discover a white, wall-mountable bust of a bull's head (horns and all) sitting on the a table in our workshop area. My first two questions were: 

1.) Where in the world did this thing come from?

2.) CAN I PAINT IT? (If you spend enough time with me, this is a question you'll hear quite often)

The answers to the questions were this:

1.) The bust was found in a DUMPSTER behind a local bar. Marla had salvaged it and given it a deeeep clean, knowing it couldn't be left in the trash. An object this unique couldn't meet it's demise in some grimy dumpster! (Something you'll notice about the Marni LuHu crew, we're all pretty creative... especially Marla!)

2.) Yes! Marla, being the wonderful and trusting woman she is, gave me free rein to transform the bull-head in any way I wanted. 

My creative wheels started turning...

The Transformation

First, I had to choose a colour. I'm naturally and habitually drawn to blue and green tones, so I challenged myself a bit by settling on a deep reddish-orange, appropriately named "Rust". It definitely has some Marni LuHu vibes. Because it's a chalk and clay based paint, it adhered to the statue wonderfully (Cottage Paint literally covers almost anything, it's unbelievably easy to use). I did two coats to get a nice bright, even colour. 

Only giving it a coat of paint seemed rather boring, to me. There was plenty of room on the bull's face/nose for something exciting, so I chose a short and uplifting quote to letter on it, "the best is yet to come". No matter where it ended up, it would hopefully produce some smiles and inspiration!

I accidentally penciled the quote on the bust before I painted with Rust (we all make mistakes sometimes), so I took a photo of my first sketch and copied it after the paint had dried.

The next step was to trace my sketches with a white, water-based Sharpie paint pen. I added in the leaves, flowers, and vines as I went and let my creativity loose! Whenever I'm doing a creative project I try to be as laid-back as possible, which is MUCH easier said than done. Sometimes a slip of the paintbrush or pen can seem like a disastrous mistake, but as the wise Bob Ross once said:

"There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents."

(By the way, did you know that there are TWO Bob Ross painting specials on Netflix right now?! I know what my plans are for this evening: me, a cup of "Honeybush Just Chill" tea, and some happy little trees...)

I initially thought that once I finished up with the paint pen that my project would be finished. Stepping back to look at the bust, I realized that something was wrong. What was it? I stared at the orange bull-head and pondered this problem... and then it came to me. It looked too "new". The orange was too clean, the white paint was too bright, and the edges looked too smooth. This piece of art was originally found in the trash! What a treasure it had become! It needed to look like treasure too. 

Miss Mustard Seed's Antiquing Wax to the rescue! Made from beeswax and a little carnauba wax, it's tinted a beautiful rich brown colour, and provides a durable finish with almost no odour. I took a cotton rag and spread the wax all over the bust, wiping away the excess and letting it dry for five minutes before buffing it with a clean rag. Voila! The bull-head now looked like a true treasure with a story to tell.

Trash to Treasure

Looking at the finished bust now, it makes me laugh to think that someone would have believed it belonged in the trash. It now hangs proudly in our workshop space and I smile every time I see it. 

Take a look around your home; I bet there are some treasures that are just waiting for a little care, some creativity, and a fresh coat of paint!

 -Chloe Friesen

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1 comment

Wonderful job on bringing that head to life! Inspirational Chloe!!


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