Houseware Crafts, Tutorials

Vintage (ish) Paris Flower Box Tutorial

Well it’s time for another Super Masculine Project from Cheltenham Road……

I’ve mentioned before that sometimes I see a piece of furniture and know instantly what I want to do with it – repair, color, style everything.

That sometimes happens with little project too.  I see something in a magazine or on a blog and think “I HAVE to make that!”

Such was the case when I came across this terrific tutorial for a salvaged wood toolbox at A Diamond in the Stuff.Doesn’t that look cool!?  All made from things she had hanging around.  Her tutorial is great and she just made it seem so, I don’t know…. do-able that I had to try it myself.  And I knew exactly how I wanted to do it.

Of course, this makes no sense.  I have no need for decorative salvaged wood tool boxes, the style I have in mind has nothing to do with anything in my home nor with anything I sell.  But I had all the pieces!  It seemed so straightforward!  It seemed so cool! I had to do it!

So I dove in.

Materials You will need

  • Two fence posts ($2.35 each)
  • 1 spindle (i used a leftover you could buy one from Home Depot)
  • Paint – flat latex leftovers are perfect
  • A Candle
  • Screws
  • Spackle (optional)
  • Wax (optional)


  • Saw (or you could have the guys at Home Depot do the cutting)
  • Drill
  • Sander
  • Blender Pen (optional)

Cut List

  • Sides: 2 @ 17″
  • Bottom 1 @ 16″
  • End Caps 2 @ 10″
  • Spindle 16″

A Note on the Cut List: My fence posts were 1/2″ thick – yours may be different so measure and calculate before cutting

I was going for a two-color, chippy look so I didn’t do any sanding and got right to painting both sides of every piece with my under-color which was a leftover blue.

After that coat had dried I took my trusty candle and rubbed it, randomly, everywhere.

Then I gave everything  a quick coat of flat white (leftover ceiling paint actually) and set it aside to dry thoroughly – like overnight thoroughly.

When the paint was dry I attached a course grit sandpaper to my sander and went over everythingThis step produces the “chippy” look but it clogs up the sandpaper pretty quickly.  Since I do this method a lot for my candle blocks and letters I’ve taken to saving old sanding disks that are just about headed to the trash to use for this.

For my version of these boxes I wanted to use some old french graphics.  So I put a blender pen under my pillow when I went to bed and, as I was promised, the Graphics Fairy came and left me these – already reversed and ready to go.The Blender Pen method requires a laser printer, working quickly and elbow grease.

Print out your image on plan copy paper, immediately lay it, face down on the surface of the wood, take your blender pen and rub like you’ve never rubbed before (seriously, you have to press pretty  dang hard).Next up assembly.

I marked each piece where they would connectAnd then marked where I wanted to drill my pilot holes.  Pilot holes are key to preventing the wood from splitting. (tip: to ensure that the spindle would be level I placed the end pieces on top of each other and drilled through both of them at the same time to create the pilot holes in the exact same spot on both)

The fence wood is very soft so the screws ended up nicely recessed but I wanted to cover them up further so I just dabbed a little spackle over each one and then a little touch up paint – now you can’t see them at all.  After a light coat of past wax it was time to rummage in the yard for flowers.Shabby Chic French Flower Box TutorialVery simple, very inexpensive!

(you will have noticed there are two of them.  The two-fence-piece- method leaves you with leftover wood so I made a second, smaller version)

Now what to do with these super-manly objet d’art…….

17 thoughts on “Vintage (ish) Paris Flower Box Tutorial”

  1. I was going to say that it looks like something Eliza would carry while trying to avoid Henry Higgins, but I bet she didn’t read French…they are really neat, David!

  2. Do you remember a sitcom in the 80s or maybe 90s with an Asian family…I think there was a Cho in it..can’t remember her first name. Anyway, there’s a quick exchange they used to have with the grandma that my husband and I still say. I would imagine were I to have a conversation with you about beautiful projects like this, it would sound the same…..

    Me: (amazed at your creativity and filled with wonderment at your abilities) “How do you do it?”

    You would confidently reply, “I don’t know…I just do it!” (uncertain at my question cuz you don’t know uncreativity like I do!!)



    1. I think the truer question might, more likely be “WHY did you do that?” To which I would honestly reply “I don’t know.” But thank you very much! (are you thinking of “American Girl” with Margaret Cho?)

  3. Uhm, if you don’t know what to do with them I will GLADLY take them off your hands!!! 🙂 These are gorgeous!!! Love how you added the transfer and distressed everything. Just beautiful!

    1. Thank you! I’ve got a new arrangement with a local store and I’m gonna see if maybe she might want them but, if if she’s not keen, and you’re local (shipping them would be a nightmare) I’ll happily give them to you.

  4. Love ’em! Geesh – another project for my “gotta do that” list – I either need to stop visiting creative blogs or grow 20 more hands LOL It’d make a really nice rustic container for holiday time too!

  5. This project is beyond perfect – I LOVE IT. Thank you so much for sharing!! P.S. – I’m a newbie here… could you briefly explain the candle thing to me?

    1. Thanks Nicole. Sorry for the candle vagueness. After I lay down the first coat (undercoat) of color and let it dry I rub various sections of it with a candle (any old candle will work). The wax creates a barrier between the undercoat and the top coat and the paint doesn’t stick to the wax. So, when I paint over the whole thing with my top coat, let it dry and sand it the top coat color comes away exposing the undercoat – but just in the areas where I applied the candle wax. You end up with that chippy, aged look. I hope that helps a little.

  6. As usual you’ve taken a simple idea and made it incredible by adding your creative spin to it.
    Love these “manly” totes. Just a reminder…I’m local.

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