I have had my eye on the Coca-Cola crates every time I hit an antique store when looking for fun and unique items for our beach cottage. Once the dining room was put together, I felt like I needed some color on the table. An antique Coca Cola crate would work just fine. The only catch was - none of them were the colors I wanted.
So...I hunted down the yuckiest cola crate in my local antique store (something I could justify painting). I came across a Double Cola crate where a lot of the paint had been rubbed off. It was very dirty and because of the condition, it was rather cheap - right up my alley.
I cleaned up the crate with a wire brush to get most of the dirt off of it and then vacuumed it. Then I used a 10% bleach solution with water and scrubbed the crate with a toothbrush. I rinsed the crate well and let it dry. Once dry, I sanded the piece to remove what was left of the Double Cola letters.
Next, I chose the paint colors - the darker color for the lettering: Drizzle by Sherwin Williams #6479 and the lighter field color: Tidewater by Sherwin Williams #6477. I purchased paint samples from Lowe's (latex satin).
I first applied the darker color Drizzle to the long sides of the crate (where the lettering was going to go). Just to be sure I had enough contrast between the two colors - I added some black acrylic paint and lightly mixed it together and unevenly applied this - think "dark highlights". I let this dry before the next step.
I went online and found a good front shot of a vintage Coca-Cola Crate and printed the logo on a piece of paper to the scale of the crate. This took a couple tries. The first print out to give me a reference point, and with a little math - a second print out to the exact scale of the crate. Then I adhered the paper print-out to the side of the crate with temporary adhesive.
The idea here was to create a sort of reverse stencil. I cut around the lettering - tedious but doable with an x-acto knife. Then I removed the paper from around all the letters leaving the paper lettering intact on the side of the crate.
I lightly applied the lighter color Tidewater over the top of the darker blue color (Drizzle) and around the paper letters. I carefully did this with two light coats. I avoided inadvertently pealing the paper letters off or getting too much paint on the brush and having it bleed underneath the paper.
I let the piece dry a bit before removing the paper letters which had been painted over (I found it easiest to kind of "pick" them off with the x-acto knife). I let it dry all the way before doing some sanding to distress the crate; sanding around the edges and some select areas where the lettering was on the sides.
My apologies for failing to take photos here of the whole process. I wasn't completely confident in how this was going to turn out - so I guess that is why I wasn't on top of taking photos. I already had a back-up plan in mind if it didn't turn out - at the very least - I would end up with an aqua colored painted crate. Fortunately, I think the end product turned out pretty well.
I have had several people say I should fill the crate with something. I have thought about seashells - too cliché for a beach cottage? Maybe some small pieces of driftwood? Some glass jars/bottles that I can place fresh flowers in? I want to come up with something truly unique, but nothing noteworthy has come to mind yet. Anyone got any ideas?
The plan is to apply a mat spray polyurethane to seal everything up. Currently it's way too cold out to do this, so it's going to have to wait. Overall I think the dining room is really coming together!
Wouldn't a surf board look great propped up in the back corner?
If you are interested in a general overview of some DISTRESSING TECHNIQUES, see my post here which covers the use of SANDPAPER, CANDLEWAX and VASELINE.