One my favorite parts of my job is thrift store flips. Shopping at thrift store makes home decor affordable. Even if what you find doesn’t quite fit your aesthetic like this “I Love Bears” tote I found at a local Goodwill.
Hmm. It has its charm, but it’s not the look I or my customers are looking for for their homes. I mean, I like bears but not that much.
The first thing you have to deal with on any thrift store flip are those sticky price tags. I know why they use such sticky tags (my customers remove mine all the time) but I’m always a little resentful when the tag is extra stubborn.
Lucky for me this tag wasn’t too much of a problem. I’ve had worse especially on raw wood like this piece where it leaves behind a ton of residue.
Once that was taken care of it was time to sand away the stenciling.
Kudos to whoever stenciled this piece because their lines were crisp! That’s extremely difficult on wood that’s not sealed so I had to take a moment to appreciate the artistry of whoever stenciled this.
I also sanded away all the rough edges.
I’m a little surprised that the previous owner didn’t take the time to do this step. The edges were extremely rough and there were splintery pieces over the entire piece. It’s a strange step to skip. You don’t want people injuring themselves on your tote, so I’m sanding the whole piece.
After I sanded the whole projects I used a tack cloth to clean all the dust and debris off the pieces.
Even when I think a piece is clean it seams these clothes can find all the dirt that escaped my first cleaning attempt. They are well worth the few dollars they cost to have some of these on hand.
Even after all that sanding there is still the ghostly shadow the bears left behind. Since I’m not in the mood to belt sand today I decided to leave it. I was planning to paint it anyway. If I was going to stain the piece I would have had to sand the wood past this shaddow.
If you’re going to paint a raw wood piece it’s always best to prime first. Otherwise your paint will soak in so you’ll have to use extra coats. And you run the risk of phantom stains leaching up through the paint from sap and tannins. You don’t want that!
Once the primer was dry I used a 220 grit sand paper and lightly sanded away where the grain had lifted. That happens any time you paint on unfinished wood. All you need is the weight on your hand (not pressing down) and a few quick swipes back and forth to get rid of that raised texture.
I chose Shuttered Cottage a wonderful pale blue color that has the perfect beachy vibes.
Because I’m giving this tote a Shabby Chic feel, I’m not planning to paint a solid color over the entire piece. That means the amount in the cap after shaking up the pot is probably going to be more than enough.
I used a light, stuttering stroke to get the imperfect look I was going for in this thrift store flip! I didn’t want a solid color across the whole piece. Instead I wanted to see some of the primer peaking through.
Now it’s beachy and beautiful!
This project took only a few minutes and a tiny bit of product. it’s ready for a price tag and to be whisked away to my shop. I know someone will take this beauty home at the next sale.
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Many Blessings to you!
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