Crafts Decoratiing

Old Things Made New

March 30, 2015

At apartment complexes around here, if you don’t want something anymore (and you don’t feel like selling it) you set said item right next to the dumpster; not in the dumpster, but right outside of it. It’s a signal to all your fellow apartment dwellers that it’s free for the taking. I have scored some awesome items like this in the six years that we lived in apartments. My working sewing machine with case, instructions, and accessories is my favorite find. Not everything I’ve picked up has been in perfect condition, however. Like these old, busted shutters for example:

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I have dragged these things from one move to the next, because I just knew I would find a use for them. I did almost throw them out last spring. I was tired of them sitting in the garage taking up space, but I just couldn’t do it. The DIY universe must have been looking out for me, because I found a use for them over the weekend. I’ve been wanting to put an old window on the side of our shed to gussy it up a bit. I know decorating a storage shed may sound like a new level of obsessed (make all the things pretty!), but it’s right outside of our kitchen window, and dang it, windows should have nice views! The Property Brothers were on Rachael Ray last week doing a tip-off. One tip was to decorate an old shutter with succulents. “Hey. I have an old shutter! I could hang it on the side of the shed.” And so it began.

I started by replacing the broken hinges. I used the hinges that we took off the former bi-fold / now french doors to The Library.

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The hinges are bigger than the original hinges, but they still worked just fine. I used our cordless drill to remove the old hinges, and then marked where I thought the new hinges should go. (I put the new hinges on the back side, so they wouldn’t be a visual distraction.)

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I didn’t need to mark the holes, but I figured if the hinge moved while I was securing it, then I could use the pencil marks as a guide to realign it. They worked perfectly!

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I believe this was an interior shutter, and since it will be outside, I wanted to give it some added protection from the elements. I used a spray paint primer followed by a Krylon spray paint in Bahama Sea, which I had left over from previous projects.

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The blue was too glossy, so I scuffed it up a bit with a few passes of a 100 grit sand paper. I still wasn’t sold on the color. It needed to be a bit more muted, so the succulents would stand out. I went over it with some white spray paint (also from a previous project), and sanded it again to give it a weathered look.

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Not in love, but thus far the entire thing was free, so it was good enough. The only thing I did buy for this project were the succulents. I got them on sale at Michael’s for 30% off. In total I paid $15. The pickings were slim, so I ended up getting a box wood branch and moss, in addition to the succulents. You could use live succulents if you wanted. I purchased fake ones, because we have squirrels. I didn’t want to put in all the effort of securing garden fabric and dirt to the back for live succulents, only to have the squirrels eat them within a day.

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I separated the succulents using wire cutters, and then placed them randomly on the shutter.

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You’re supposed to just be able to stick the succulents between the slats, but that didn’t seem to secure them very well. I tried super glue on a few of the stem, but that didn’t hold. I knew gravity would help a bit once the shutter was vertical on the shed wall, so I forged ahead anyway. I am going to look for an outdoor epoxy next time I go to Lowes or Home Depot. (I’m certain I’ll need to tweak this project in more than one way.)

Next, was figuring out how to hang it on the shed wall. I didn’t want to use anything that would put a hole through the shed. I tried to find outdoor Command Hooks, but I only found the kind used for hanging Christmas lights, which were not big enough. I decided to try mounting tape. I was doubtful that it would work, but I did use it to successfully secure the medallions in The Library, so why not? I tore six strips and secured three to each side. Michael helped “hang” it. He held it up, while I pushed the areas with the mounting tape against the shed.  So far, so good!

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It’s smaller than I would like, but we plan to add plants around the shed, and I think that will help balance things out a bit. So far, we have a Lantana bush (the dead looking twigs), which I am told will come back to life every season, no matter how dead it looks. The other bald spot is where Michael planted one of the bulbs we had leftover from last season. I don’t even remember what it is. Surprise gardening! We live dangerously.

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We plan to put some sort of taller, evergreen plant in the corner to disguise those extra bricks hanging out behind the shed. Speaking of plants, I was very surprised to see many of the perennials we planted (and killed) last year coming back this season. I was particularly excited to see this guy:

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It’s the peony I tried to grow last year. I love peonies. I want to have them everywhere. I totally petted its leaves, and swore to never let it die again. You guys do that sort of thing too, right?

I’ll keep you guys updated on whether or not the shutter stays on the shed. If it doesn’t then I’ll let you know what we do to fix it. In the meantime, anyone else hoard random items? Or do any landscaping work this weekend? Leave a comment and let us know!

UPDATE: The shutter did not last very long on the shed wall. It probably fell an hour after I hit “publish” on this post. I have a few different ideas about how re-hang it so it actually stays, but first I need to find exterior Command Hooks. I’ll keep you all posted!

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