Giving an old bench another chance at a new life

old bench photo
Photo by Thomas Allsop at unsplash. I couldn't find the photos I took of our old bench...This one is in pretty good condition compared to ours.

Do you cringe when you see old furniture at the road on trash collection day? I do, especially when I know the piece could be lovingly restored and given a new life.

My youngest son knows how I feel and even keeps an eye open for me as he drives through the neighbourhood before trash is picked up. Because of him, I have several quality tabletop easels and an expensive Ott lamp that I really love in my art room. It looked brand new when he brought it into the house. I had no idea of the value of it, but my son knew it would come in handy. Hubby also refurbished a coffee table that was useful for our living room.

And so, this old bench was also destined for the trash heap when we picked it up from our oldest son and brought it home.

It was in sad condition: the wood slats were rotten and there was rust settling in on the cast iron legs.

With more than a little TLC, several hands big and small worked on the bench to restore it so that it will once again, be useful as well as beautiful.

Handy hubby completes initial transformation

Hubby replaced all the wood slats with western red cedar that will take, as he words it, “a hell of a long time to rot”. Then he painted the iron with a glossy black paint and on the wood, he used an exterior red paint as a base coat.

Bench with base coat
Chalking in the design.


The bench as a blank canvas

The next phase was completed a year later. I drew up several potential sketches, none of which I followed. My friends who know me well won’t be surprised – I never follow recipes!

Initial sketch
The initial sketch was just too detailed. I simplified quite a bit as work progressed.


My granddaughter helped to paint outlines of the characters on the bench. Initially, I had planned to have each dog a different colour but as I went along, I simplified and used the blues for all dogs.


Sometimes, less is more.  Even though I had planned all kinds of flowers, birds, and other embellishments, I decided to just finish the bench as quickly as possible while the weather had cooled a bit in August.

The bench won't be displayed outdoors this year.  Our back yard is too sunny so I think the best place for it will be in front, under the tree where it will be in the shade and the paint won't fade as fast.  Besides, I think it will be good advertising for me when people walk by.  I am always thinking of ways to get word out that I love painting pets almost as much as I love saving well loved items from the trash heap.

Beautifying old skates

Have you thought of beautifying old skates lying around your home?  With winter on our doorstep, this is a good time to think of repurposing dusty skates that are hiding in closets or garages. Of course, you might also donate them to local charities, but if your skates have a special memory associated with them, then you might consider painting them.

Above, the purple skates were painted for a little girl's room.  They were her first pair of skates.  The skates with the cardinals belonged to my mother who passed away in 2015.  They are a special memento that now belong to my sister.  She had asked that the skates be painted with cardinals because red was mom's favourite colour.

skates painted by participant in Louise's ARTiculations workshop
Winter Wonderland theme painted by a participant in November 2018 workshop at Louise's ARTiculations.


Visit my workshops to see how you can turn a pair of old skates into a wonderful winter decoration.  In the meantime, I have a box full of old skates waiting for me to add glitz and glam to them. Contact me if you wish to paint your own set of skates or if you simply want to leave a message about anything at all.  Your messages go directly to my email box. As this is published, I am in Hawaii; however, I will try to answer your requests as soon as possible.

Aloha from beautiful Wailea Beach, Maui!

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