On one of my thrifting jaunts out of town, I found a dated, junky-looking wall shelf. Darn it! Wish I’d taken a before photo. With a long gash on its side, no paint, and a dated 80’s strawberries inset on the top, it was barely worth a second look. But I wasn’t finding anything else that day, so I decided to chance it.
Restoration of a Super Junky Wall Shelf
The Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge
I got this old, but new project done just in time for the Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge where a group of us bloggers re-creates a thrift store find.
- Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
- There’s no monthly theme.
- There’s no budget to stick to.
Meet the Hosts
Amanda | Domestically Creative
Angela | Simply Beautiful by Angela – Michelle | Michelle James Designs
Molly | Just a Little Creativity – Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled
Marie | The Inspiration Vault – Marie | DIY Adulation
Lynne | My Family Thyme – Gail | Purple Hues and Me
Jennifer | Cookies Coffee and Crafts – Ann | Duct Tape and Denim
Michelle | Our Crafty Mom – Debra | Shoppe No. 5
Denise | My Thrifty House – Florence | Vintage Southern Picks
Deborah | Salvage Sister & Mister – Yami | The Latina Next Door
Pili | My Sweet Things – Kathleen | Our Hopeful Home
Karen | Dragonfly & Lily Pads
Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!
And now, back to the project…
The first thing I did was lose those awful strawberries! Then I painted it with Annie Sloan’s “Cream,” which is a soft yellow. But what to do with the inset? I was stumped.
I couldn’t decide. It wasn’t very big, but it was about 1/4″ deep.
I finally decided to go with tile. I had done another small tile job that turned out pretty well.
I had a lot of pink, green, and turquoise tile bits, but not much that went with yellow. I told myself it wouldn’t matter once the grout was in, and glued my tile bits down with Mastic.
I set it aside till I had time to go on a tile hunt to do a larger job I was planning. And there it sat for the next 3 years becoming increasingly buried under junk! Every time it caught my eye, I was a bit discouraged by it.
Reckoning day came. I’m having a big purge and yard sale this Spring, so it was time to decide what to do about this wall shelf! Finally!
I still didn’t like the tile/color combo. I dug out a heavy duty screwdriver, pried up all the tile bits, then painted over the yellow with Deco Art Chalky Finish “Lace.”
My goal in re-doing the shelf in the first place was to sell it in my Etsy shop, so it had to look good.
I filled the space with Spackle, which is what I should have done in the first place.
After repainting, I decided to decorate the filled space with a decorative mold. I thought about an image transfer, but I really wanted to experiment with the molds I already had.
Using the Molds
Here is the beautiful sheet of “Iron Orchid Designs” molds I purchased on Amazon. I should have made a before shot. Here they are covered with powder. You can use Corn Starch or baby powder for coating, which makes it easier to extract your molds.
I guess you’re wondering about the arrows. I’m pointing out the really thin parts of the mold that would be impossible to cut out without breaking. I didn’t think about that before I bought these! All I saw was how pretty they were.
I attempted to use the one in the middle several times, but courage failed me because I just couldn’t see myself trying to cut it out! After I was all done with the larger flower design to the left, then I examined the picture on the front showing that the molds weren’t cut out that close to the design anyway. Next time I’ll know better.
Types of Clay
There are basically 2 types of clay…the air dry types, and those you bake in the oven. I have both.
I started out with the bake kind….
This was the first attempt, and though burned, I was excited that they didn’t break which I learned was a common problem. I wasn’t planning on eating them…I was going to paint them anyway.
However, they didn’t lie completely flat, and one of the videos I watched said, “don’t be surprised if E-6000 won’t work to glue them down”…a disappointment. E-6000 is my serious go-to glue.
Advantages of Bake Clay
It dries faster through baking
Disadvantages of Bake Clay
Kneading is necessary
Risk of breaking through baking. You either have to re-do or repair
Problem with lying flat
May not glue with E-6000
For the above reasons, I decided to go with the air dry kind. Unfortunately it only came in one amount…huge! This humongous brick cost $10.99. I’m going to have to do a lot of mold jobs to use that up!
Advantages of Air Dry Clay
It doesn’t shrink
It lies flat.
Not necessary to bake and so won’t burn
You can definitely glue it with E-6000 after it dries a little.
Disadvantages of Air Dry Clay
It’s messier…we’re talking starting out with wet or lotioned hands, and ending up with orange hands
It takes longer to dry (36-48 hrs)
Here’s the Air Dry clay flower medallion glued down…now we’re talking! I liked this much better! The air dry clay seems to give the mold more definition, and there’s no problem with lying flat.
The next step will be touching up the shelf, painting and waxing the medallion after it dries a bit more.
Here is the medallion painted….next I’ll add some highlights.
I achieved this look with a mix of brown paint and black glaze I had on hand. When that dried, I applied a layer of white Gesso, then a layer of dark wax.
So here’s the thrift store junky wall shelf restored!
Trust me, it’s a whole lot better than the strawberries!
Keep reading to see the awesome projects below!
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And now for more thrifty goodness!
Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!