How I used powder to turn an old carpenter’s tool box into a rustic shelf and towel bar - Fresh Coat Finishes

How I used powder to turn an old carpenter’s tool box into a rustic shelf and towel bar

How many times have you stopped your scroll to watch a video of something ordinary being transformed into something completely different? Never?….once?….too many to count? Yeah, that’s me too!

I’m a sucker for a great upcycle, and I’m frequently in awe over other people’s imaginations. That’s when anyone within earshot will hear me say “Wow! Why didn't I think of that?” 

This is exactly what happened when my daughter suggested I could hang my old carpenter’s box on the wall and it would become a shelf with cubbies and a towel bar! That sound you hear is me slapping my forehead!

Old carpenter's tool box

So, I went to work refinishing it, starting with sanding it just enough to make sure there would be no splinters. Next, I mixed up two colors of powdered milk paint from Miss Mustard Seed’s MilkPaint.

I used a leafy green (Boxwood) for the exterior and a rich brown (Curio) for the interior.


I love the versatility of using powdered paint for many reasons.

  • There is no waste because you only mix up what you need. The rest will store indefinitely.
  • It won’t dry out or rust or get a nasty skin on it.
  • You can easily mix custom colors without having to pour paint from one container to another.
  • You can mix it to any consistency you want. Thin to use as a stain or thicker to use with a stencil. For this project I used the standard ratio of 1 part water to 1 part powder.

After it dried, I distressed it using sandpaper to give it an aged, rustic look. I finished it with MilkCoat Low Sheen, Miss Mustard Seed’s water-based polyurethane, to give it a satin finish.

A couple of hooks on the back and it was ready to hang and decorate!

I had already imagined the carpenter’s box as a rustic décor piece that could be used in any number of ways:

 A bathroom organizer

  A table centerpiece to hold napkins and condiments

 A mudroom organizer

 A plant holder

 A wine caddy

    All good ideas, and I’m sure there are many more, but it never occurred to me to turn the box on it’s side and hang it on the wall!

    As I write this, this reimagined carpenter's tool box is available, waiting for the right person who will use it to give their home, cabin, or beach house a rustic touch. I don't know how long it will be available. Click HERE to view it.

    I hope you’ll give powdered paint a try so you can see how easy it is. Click HERE to see all the colors available from Miss Mustard Seed’s MilkPaint. I welcome your questions and comments, and I thank you for checking out my blog!

    Happy painting!

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