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Upcycle from Clearance Rack to Exactly Perfect

One of the best parts about learning how to paint is that a whole world of options opens up before you.  Former limitations such as color and finish are now challenges and projects.

I would often come up with a vision for a space and then seek the pieces to make that vision happen (often on a limited budget).  What would happen is that I would end up settling for something close to the right color because I couldn't find what I actually wanted or because the one I actually wanted was 4x more expensive than the one that fit in my budget.  

This is no longer true. Now I can paint it. 

So when I find something like these really cool wall accents but they are just the wrong color I can bring them home and make them exactly what I wanted.  Usually very quickly and easily with minimal expense.  

clearance wall decor repurposed to stunning home accents with cece caldwell's paints

I found them at a local big box home decor retail store for $5.00 each...the original price on them was $50.00 each so that was a discount of 90%!!  Unfortunately they were red.  I have nothing against red but I am so over red.  Especially this dark maroonish, burgundy red...I realized I didn't even have ANYWHERE in my home full of whites and grays that they would work so I decided to get them and paint them for my deck or patio which is what I was shopping for...and I wanted wood and metal so these were *almost* perfect.


Before buying something like this with the intention of painting it I consider a few things...


  • Can it be painted?  If you are using CeCe's Paints then yes...regardless of what it is made of it can be might need a different technique or a primer but you can literally paint ANYTHING.  Contact us if you have any questions about how to handle a particular surface--we are happy to help!
  • But can it be painted?  Am I going to be able to get a brush in there? In this case I wouldn't have bought them to paint if I hadn't been able to get the metal off the front so I could paint it--I flipped one over and saw the metal was held on with 2 bolts through to the back...which meant I could take the metal off and put it back--YES.
  • Is it going to look janky if I try and reproduce this?  OR  Will something I know I can do well look good on this piece?  I wouldn't try hand painting an elaborate asian scene on a room divider in a different color scheme because that is just not within my skill set.  I would buy it and do a solid color, stripes, a weathered barn look, stencil on some words or apply a cool damask pattern because I can do those things well.
  • Is it worth the cost and effort?  Sometimes we get caught up in the bargain and the thrill of knowing we can make anything look great but that doesn't mean it is worth the time and/or the effort of actually executing it. Do you really love it other than the color?  Is it the right shape/size/material for your space?  Will your customers think the end price is worth it?
  • Do I have time for this right now/soon?  If you aren't going to get to it don't do it.  I have learned a lot about myself and sometimes these projects sit in my holding area a really long time only to be donated or given to someone...that's okay but I have become a little more choosy about the ones that even make it home with me--which is much better.


I got them home and they sat in the holding area a couple of months (not tooooo bad).  I got them out a couple of weeks ago when a gorgeous day led me to believe it might be almost time to get the patio and deck decorated and I think this project ended up taking me an hour total.  From gathering materials to ready to hang.

For this project I only needed a few things...

I first removed the metal from the fronts of them (had to get a pair of pliers to get the nuts started--the manufacturer had used some kind of lock-tite or bolt adhesive--which was smart but it took a little elbow grease to get them turning).

repurpose clearance rack finds into gorgeous home accents with CeCe Caldwell's Paints  

I painted the metal with Rustoleum (my absolutely favorite spray paint) in Flat Black so it would coordinate with all my deck railings/curtain rod/light fixtures but the metal would have been fine left alone...this was just me being a little OCD-ish.  

I then took some Smoky Mountain Gray by CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints and brushed it on with a small synthetic artist's brush (nothing fancy--but not what you typically find at a hardware store--usually I get them at Michaels and keep them for smaller projects like this one).  I tried to stay away from the 'distressed' areas and lightened my 'load' when I got close to the edges to keep from covering up what I felt was pretty cool detail...

CeCe Caldwell's Smoky Mountain Gray for up cycling clearance decor to fabulous accents

I went back a few minutes later and added some paint just where I saw red showing through.

When it was completely dry I lightly sanded with 400 grit sand paper then burnished with kraft paper.

When the metal was completely dry I reattached it to the wood and they are ready to hang.  

Repurposed clearance decor with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints in Smoky Mountain

I will share a picture of them in their decor glory when I have the space ready to photograph.





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