I love creative challenges–so you know I was all over it when Rustoleum and Walmart asked me if I wanted to participate in a “Mystery Box” campaign as part of the Walmart Moms.
They offered to send each of us random items that we were to transform using Rustoleum paints and/or stains. How much fun is that? Seventeen of the Walmart Moms decided to join in the fun, and all of us got completely different items. . . everything from glass to wood, plastic dinosaurs to garden gnomes. (don’t worry–I’ll link them all at the bottom of the post)
When my box arrived, it contained 3 blank basswood plaques (or boxes?).
I headed into my local Walmart to see what I could find in the paint aisle. There is an ENORMOUS amount of variety in the Rustoleum products in my store:
It’s like eye candy, isn’t it? Not only are there tons of colors, but there are many, many different products. They have your standard gloss or satin enamel, but also universal paint & primer and 2X ultra cover that sticks to wood/plastic/metal. There are textured spray paints–hammered metal (which will update the heck out of any old 1980’s brass light fixtures by the way) and speckled multicolor texture that works great on lawn furniture. There are primers for clean metal, rusty metal more. And then there is the specialty stuff. . . Chalkboard paint, glass paint, glitter spray, and glow in the dark.
I could literally have done ANYTHING with these plaques and all those paint choices. I decided I needed to spruce up the kitchen and do some kind of art or stencil on the plaques. I only found one stencil I liked (but I really liked it!) in my craft section–it was farmers market themed. So what to do with the other plaques. That’s when I decided I could flip them over and use them to put something in. At first I thought about doing something farmers market themed (maybe gluing fake vegetables or fruit in and then spray painting it all?). . . until I remembered my corks.
You see, I’ve been collecting corks for years. I started when I returned home from being stationed in Germany in 1996 with 72 bottles of German wine. Yes–you read that right, 72 bottles. At the time if you had a “wine collection” then the Army would ship it as part of your household goods. German wine was awesome, nitrate free, and you could pick up a bottle from the wineries for about $4. So I shipped all that home, courtesy of the US Army. It was so much wine that the state of Virginia (where I was stationed upon my return) made me apply for a special ABC license–it didn’t cost anything but it tracked the volume of wine and I basically had to officially promise it was for personal consumption and not for sale.
Anyways, German wine corks are cool, so I started saving them since I always planned on doing SOMETHING with them. This project was that something! I’d fill the plaques with them and use them as a cork board. Or maybe just enjoy looking at them. Either way it was going to dress up my kitchen.
I chose a deep burgundy red color for my paint to match the other accessories I had in my kitchen. The obvious choice for the stencil would have been black–but I wanted something a bit less expected and more elegant. The muted gold color looked like it would be perfect.
My project started down in the basement (since it was raining). I used a box to contain the spray and a really nice Rustoleum Comfort Grip spray paint handle that was in the aisle right near the spray paint (trust me–if you spray paint you need to own one of these–they are awesome). One plaque was painted on the flat side, the other two were painted with the hollow side up. I really didn’t need to paint the center of those since they were going to be covered with corks.
When those were dry I placed the Farmers Market stencil I used blue painters tape not only to hold the stencil in place, but also to mask the rest of the plaque around the stencil. Then I just sprayed lightly and gently several times (to ensure I didn’t bleed the paint under the stencil). I let it dry a bit before removing the paint and stencil–I think it came out great!
It turned out the hollow was much deeper than the corks. I didn’t want them recessed, so I cut out several (4) layers of cardboard to glue inside with my glue gun.
First I “dry fit” the corks to make sure they would all fit and control the design a bit. Not all corks are exactly the same size, so there was a bit of swapping around to do. I also wanted to distribute around the ones with German writing or neat pictures so they were evenly mixed with the plain corks. After I had them all set up (and they fit exactly without having to cut any, which make me super happy) I took them all out and laid them in the same order on the counter. Then I glued them in, one by one with my trusty hi-temp glue gun.
There wasn’t anything on the plaques to use to hang them on the wall, so I added some Ook self leveling sawtooth hangers from the hardware department at Walmart. These were the “push in” type, and I just hammered them in.
I think it came out GREAT!
Want to see some of the other transformations?
Jennae at Green Your Decor changed up a standard garden gnome.
Lynnae from Lynnae M McCoy turned an unfinished crate into a child’s garden cart
Tina at Mommy’s Kitchen toned down an owl vase and made some distressed burlap mason jars.
Renee at Cutie Booty Cakes turned glass containers into metallic centerpieces.
Colleen at Classy Mommy did a classy update to some alphabet refrigerator tiles and a glass vase.
Melanie at Modern Mami updated a planter with kid friendly bright colors.
Ruby at GUBLife made a basic lamp and some super hero figures into a awesome theme lamp.
Heather from The Domestic Diva glammed up a clipboard.
Caryn at Rockin Mama made a DIY Dinosaur Terrarium.
Linsey at Lille Punkin took some plain frames and made displays for Lego Minifigures
Tara at Unsophisticook transformed plain glass bud vases into gilded glass vases.
Monica from Mommy Brain Reports turned a pallet into a fun and funky sign.
Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.