Turn a Simple Wood Tool Caddy Into The Perfect Spring Accent Piece

Every spring since 1953 Ottawa has had an amazing tulip festival. Thousands and thousands of tulips emerge along the canal and the city becomes a riot of colour. The bulbs are a yearly gift from the Netherlands after Ottawa provided refuge to some of the Royal family during WWII. (read more about the history here…)

I have always had a fondness for tulips and it is likely, in part, due to this stunning festival.

The Tool Caddy

When I saw Annie Sloan’s Dutch Tulip decoupage paper last year I knew I had to create something with it this spring to celebrate this wonderful flower. As luck would have it, I found 2 of these wooden tool caddies recently in the basement of the shop (it’s a treasure trove of goodies down there!).

A plain wood tool caddy and some tulip decoupage paper

The ends of the caddy are the perfect size for the beautiful tulips on the decoupage paper.

a wood tool caddy

To give the tool caddy a fresh look, I started by using cream-coloured paint on the entire box; inside and out.

painting a wooden tool caddy with Annie Sloan Paint

Adding the Decoupage Paper

Next, it was time to add the decoupage paper to the ends. The paper comes in fairly large sheets, so I needed to manipulate it a bit to make the tulips fit onto the caddy ends.

When working with decoupage paper, I don’t like harsh lines so I used a small paint brush and water to “cut the paper”. I go over the area to be cut several times and then once the water has soaked into the paper, it can gently be pulled apart.

cutting paper with water and a small paint brush

The water “cutting” method allows for softer edges and I find I get a better overall look at the end as opposed to cutting with scissors.

ripped paper with tulips on it

After resizing the paper, I laid it out and found a good arrangement before gluing it down.

ripped tulip paper

Once I knew where each piece was going, I applied a thin layer of Transfer Gel to the end of the caddy and laid the paper on the Transfer Gel. I continued doing this until the wood was covered.

Smoothing out the wrinkles is easy with a wadded piece of plastic wrap. I also find that lightly misting the paper with water also helps to keep it looking nice.

decoupaging tulip paper to an old wooden tool caddy

After the paper was completely dry, I used a sanding block to remove the excess paper.

using a sanding block to take off the edge of paper stuck to a wood tool caddy

This method creates a nice, clean line along the edge.

smooth edges after sanding decoupage paper

Giving the Tool Caddy a Wash

Once I had the paper adhered to the ends, I found the cream paint to be a little bright so I ended up doing both a grey and a brown wash over the cream. A wash is a little bit of paint mixed with water and wiped or painted on the surface. It is then wiped back with a lint-free cloth.

adding a grey wash over cream coloured paint

The wash was added to the edges of the paper as well to give it a well-worn (and loved!) feel.

grey watered down paint on decoupage paper

Adding the Script

You can see below what a difference the grey and brown washes made. The box took on a whole new look and definitely gives off antique vibes now.

To give the sides a little sprucing as well, I added some script. I add script this way all the time and it is incredibly easy. For the full directions on how to add script, see this post here…

tulip garden script being added to the side of a wooden tool caddy

This is the final script once it was painted in. I did it on both sides of the caddy.

tulip garden script on the side of a wood box

I am so glad I found this tool caddy in the basement. It turned out to be the perfect piece to use the tulip paper.

tulips on the end of a wood tool caddy

tulips in a wooden caddy

Now it’s truly time for spring and the tulip festival.

wood tool caddy upcycled with paint and decoupage paper

Have a lovely Sunday and enjoy the amazing changes this season brings 🌷


Please note that this post contains links to the Recreated Designs shop. 

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