How to Make An Easy DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box

I love playing with paint, and I love the distressed shabby and vintage look. When I saw Plaid Pickle Wash, I knew it would make projects like this DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box so much easier to make!

(Disclosure: Some products used in this article were provided to me by Plaid Crafts. Some links in this article are affiliate links.]

DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box

Before Plaid Pickle Wash, it required hours of painting and sanding to get the finish on this DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box. Now, with just one or two coats and a simple rub off technique, I can easily get exactly the beautiful results I envisioned. I decided to start experimenting with my new Plaid Pickle Wash by making myself this new DIY vintage recipe card box for our kitchen. I rarely cook, so my recipes need somewhere nice to pass the time!

Supplies Needed to Make DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box:

Plaid’s new Pickle Wash is an easy to apply finish that gives a whitewashed appearance to wood surfaces. It goes on as a very thin liquid (with a watery consistency). After it sits for 30 seconds, simply wipe off the excess to achieve the distressed finish you want. The results  – and the ease of application – have to be seen to be believed. I’ve dreamed for years of being able to create washed finishes like this on my projects! And Plaid Pickle Wash comes in a palette of a dozen vintage friendly colors like Gypsy Rose, Soleil, Sea Glass, Celadon, and (of course)…Cottage White! <swoon>

How to Finish the DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box

Pickle Wash soaks into the wood because it is a very thin liquid finish. It really raises the grain and emphasizes any imperfections in the surface. Unlike a paint like chalk paint, which covers imperfections in a surface, Pickle Wash looks best when the surface is well prepared. Before I started painting, I sanded my recipe box down with 320 grit sandpaper.  Then when I was done I removed the sanding dust by wiping the surface with a tack cloth.

Applying the Pickle Wash finish was easy. I started on the inside of the recipe box and applied the wash with a foam brush. (Applying a finish in not too visible areas first hides any beginner’s errors you make. It also tests the finish on the surface you are painting.) Then after 30 seconds, I rubbed off the excess with a sheet of blue shop towel. I repeated the process on the outside of the recipe box after allowing the inside to dry for a bit.

DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box stenciling

After allowing the Plaid Pickle Wash to dry for the required time, I wanted to stencil on my DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box. For stenciling I reached for classic FolkArt Acrylic in (of course) Vintage White! It was the perfect shade of not-quite-white to apply to make my stencil look vintage. True white would have appeared too stark against the the distressed Pickle Wash finish.

I chose a stencil for the front of the box that was large enough that it spanned over the opening of the box lid. To keep everything in place while I stenciled it, I taped the box lid shut with painter’s tape. I also taped around the edges of the stencil, since the design went very close to the edges. This prevented any paint smudging off the edges of the stencil.

DIY Vintage Recipe Card box with stencilingI applied my stenciling paint with an extremely dry brush. I wasn’t worried about getting thick, solid color or about missing spots, since the whole idea is for a vintage, aged look anyway.

Once the stenciling was dry, I drilled a hole in the center of the recipe box’s lid. I selected a drill bit that was just a tiny bit smaller than the diameter of the screw on my decorative knob.

DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box hole for knob

The decorative knob serves as a “handle” for the lid, and emphasizes the vintage theme of the design. I chose this faux milk glass one because the white faux milk glass color echoes the vintage white of the stenciled design.

DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box with knob

The decorative knob came with a really long bolt on it, which protruded down into the box. So I got out my Dremel tool and cut it off very near the nut attaching the knob to the lid.

And that is it…I have completed a beautiful DIY vintage recipe card box! I’ve stored my recipes so beautifully that I might actually be inspired to use some of them!

DIY Vintage Recipe Card Box


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