Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Upcycling in the Garden :: Tool Box Conversion, Part 1

People are always giving my husband things they no longer use or that don't work properly because they know he can resurrect the broken. I'm more of an Upcycler. For those who don't know, upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. This particular project combines both of our talents to produce a unique and useful Garden Caddy.
 
Originally, my idea had been to turn this somewhat abused tool box into a craft bin - a Craftman to a Craft Bin...don't you just love my cheesiness!
 
However, this particular toolbox was destined for life outdoors and I couldn't imagine ruining all my lovely crafty things in the elements. I thought for about 2 seconds and instead of holding ribbons and paint, the tool box would soon be housing potting supplies and gardening paraphernalia.
 
So, here it is...a little rusty, a few squeaky wheels, and definitely in need of a paint job.

 
 
 
Right off the bat, we removed the drawers, gave the tool box a good wash down ("Did you see those spider eggs???"), and fixed the squeaky wheels. By liberally applying White Lithium Grease to the wheel bearings, we were able to not only fix the squeak, but also ensured better wheel movement. 

 
 
A chrome handle was riveted to one side of the tool box, but had to be removed in order to paint the box. My husband gently drilled out the rivets and slid out the handle. I would have pried and pried at those rivets, but that's why he's helping me with this project or I would still be prying on those rivets!

 
 
Now you can't just spray paint over scratched and scuffed paint; well, you can, but it won't look nice. Luckily for us, there is this great product called Handi-Strip. It's available at hardware stores and comes in a spray can. Along with the Handi-Strip, we also used a paint scraper. When using the Handi-Strip, we followed the manufacturer's guidelines.

 
Immediately after applying the Handi-Strip, the paint began to bubble and peel. Jake wanted to start scraping right away, but I told him we really should wait the full 20 minutes to get the best results.

 
We waited, and we waited, and we waited. Finally, it was time to see how much paint we could remove. I couldn't believe how easy it came off. Note to self: Do not get Handi-Strip on fingers!

 
 
Here's a look at the tool box once all the paint was stripped off, well, at least all that was coming off the easy way!

 
Now, I know I said my husband is good at fixing things, but he really is, because he knows a lot of useful information. His suggestion to get the rest of the paint off the box involved 600 grit sand paper wet/dry, a bucket of water, and a little elbow grease. By wet sanding, the process of dipping sand paper into water and sanding, we were able to remove all the rust and the rest of the large paint chips.

 
While not all of the paint will be removed, as long as the edges have been feathered and the surface feels smooth, new paint should adhere well.  


 
 
Now, it's time to paint. We went with a Valspar Outdoor spray paint in Jellyfish. First, we painted a tack coat and then followed up with a full paint layer. Two cans were plenty to cover the tool box. 


While the paint dried, my husband cleaned up the chrome handle using a toothbrush and some water. He used Mother's Mag & Aluminium Polish to restore it to new.

 
We re-installed the chrome handle using self-tapping screws.


After a couple hours of work, our tool box is definitely looking better.

 
 
Check back later this week for part 2 of the Tool Box Conversion.

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