Distressed Toolbox Makeover

Remember a few weeks back when us rookies visited the Kane County Flea Market? (Read all about our flea market trip here) Well, I never showed you my big purchase from that trip.

Here it is…

Antique Toolbox wooden old

You’re probably thinking. “Ugh, ew Casey, what’s with the dirty toolbox?” Why spend any money to lug that thing back home?

Well, when I spotted this little guy tucked amongst the flea market goods I couldn’t help but envision a new life for it. So I negotiated with the vendor (Originally $12, down to $10!) and happily brought it home.

I had to come up with a way to get rid of all of the gunk, residue, and general nastiness that this toolbox had going on.

Dirty toolbox

I scrubbed the wood thoroughly with a water & vinegar concoction, to get rid of the gunk and unpleasant funk that had built up over many years.

Behr Self Priming Interior Semi-Glosee Enamel White

Then, I got out some white paint that I had leftover from my media console makeover project. And gave the piece 2 thin coats of white.

White Painted Toolbox

I’m a sucker for all things bright white and clean. But, I wanted to take a small step out of my comfort zone. I decided a white distressed wood would look pretty dang cool on this old toolbox.

Sanding Block Sand Paper

I used a medium grit sanding block and paper to rough up the piece.

Distressed White wood paint

I concentrated on the edges and sanded down until I exposed some of the original wood.

Distressed White Wood Paint
Once it was aged to my liking (I feel like I’m talking about a fine wine here), I had to figure out a way to brighten up (and cover up) the base of the toolbox…
Painted toolbox
That’s when I thought about Bridget’s fabulous chevron drawers! She transformed the inside of Matt’s childhood dresser…easily and cheaply…with shelf liner. (Read about that makeover right here)
Macbeth Collection Shelf Liner Blue Trellis Design
I found the liner on Amazon for a great price. They have lots of different designs and colors if you want to check it out.
The liner is incredibly easy to apply. Just cut to fit the piece, and carefully smooth out any bubbles as you go along. The best part is that you can easily reposition the liner if you mess up, and then realign it until it is exactly in place. It only took me about 5 minutes to get it fit into the base of the toolbox.
Toolbox Before and After
When I cut the shelf liner I cut it a little larger than the dimensions. I then had a few scraps of blue liner leftover…so I put them to good use!
mason jars coasters shelf liner decoration
I simply wrapped a piece around a mason jar for a cute spring vase.
Mason jar vase shelf liner decoration
The sticky strips also went right onto some leftover tiles from our scrabble tile coaster project. Fresh, cute, easy coasters in about 2 minutes flat!
Drink on homemade coasters
Okay back to the toolbox makeover…
The toolbox found a new home on our kitchen table. It acts a table runner and holds all kinds of kitchen goodies.
Toolbox kitchen table runner
I like how it is so easy to pick up and move if we need to use the entire table. Just one quick swoop and you have a large table to work on.
Toolbox as kitchen centerpiece
The blue liner adds a great pop of color to the space.
Silverware in mason jar
Flowers water jug
lemons in white bowl
antique salt and pepper shakers
Distressed White Toolbox
I’m really digging the distressed white wood look too! Look at me, stepping outside of my comfort zone!
Antique Toolbox Makeover
P.S. Tomorrow is my Dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday B-Rad! I love you! <3

  • LJM52

    This is awesome!! On my walk with my dog yesterday afternoon (pre-trash pick up night) I found an old toolbox similar to yours, so being my mother’s daughter, I simply moved some other junk and carried it home! Love your idea and already have contact paper!! This toolbox has an ugly iron carry rod – going to contact that too!

  • What a fabulous find! And to think it was heading to the garbage. I’m so happy you found it and will give it a new life. Send us some pics when you’re all done 🙂