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Before & After: Canny Transformations

October 17, 2011

Salvaged sun

This sunny vignette is a study in contrasts: of materials, texture and shine. Much of it, to be honest, was junk; stuff that most people would have discarded. The sun wall decoration is made of an old wood tabletop, a collection of wooden mid-century coffee table legs and tin can lids. The bench was purchased by Paul at a local store, but never used. Now a table, it benefits greatly from its new paint job and the graphic pattern provided by the lids. The metal circles, some rusted and worn, some shiny, some white, have the effect of scales or sequins and they’re visually interesting … and, I got them for free! I’d decided during my walk Sunday that I wanted tin can lids for these projects … but since I can’t remember the last time I opened a can, I had to figure out where I might get some in quantity. Then, I remembered the roof of the chapel at Tio’s Tacos; it’s shingled in rusted can lids (see post here). I wondered if owner Martín Sánchez might have some extras he’d sell me. We dropped in to Tio’s for some fresh-squeezed jugos, and thankfully Sanchez was in. I explained to him what I needed and he readily offered me a box of lids … He didn’t want money, but said he’d appreciate if I saw something really cheap but really cool at a garage sale I’d bring it to him: deal! Great guy, Sánchez, a kindred spirit … Rounding out the scene are a galvanized steel dolly; a geometric chair in the same material; some punchy stacking boxes, a bowl made of cigarette boxes, and pomegranates from our neighbor Sadie’s tree. Here’s how the sun and table came to be …

The elements

The materials for the sun: a wooden crate-ful of vintage coffee table legs, some with brass tips, in different colored stains; distressed wooden tabletop I couldn’t bear to toss; tin can lids from Tio’s Tacos Mexican restaurant; carpet nails and wood glue. Paul collaborated with me on this project, coming up with placement for the leg-rays, drilling holes for them to screw into, then gluing them into place. (He handles the power tools so that I don’t end up in the ER … it’s happened.) I placed and nailed the lids, overlapping them in concentric circles.

Color, shine

I appreciate the leg choices Paul made, mixing up shapes and colors as they move around the sun’s center. I tried to make similarly random picks when choosing the lids and their placement. I wanted to be sure that the tabletop everything is mounted onto showed, so I kept the center open. I like the contrast of the grayed, distressed wood against the shine/rust of the lids. Altogether a great collaboration and finished piece, love it!

Bench materials

The bench we had, but hated … the white paint made its simple, homemade shape seem even more plain. So, since I had so many leftover can lids, I decided it could use some jazzing up. The ingredients that went into its makeover: boring, white wooden bench; leftover house- and acrylic paints; tin can lids, nails. I merely painted the bench with rust colored housepaint, adding additional tinting with acrylics. I began placing the lids with the corners on either end, bending them in half and securing with a nail on each surface. Then, as with the sun, I just nailed each lid, overlapping them like scales, from one end to the other.

New shine

The bench has become a table now because I wouldn’t trust it not to snag a sitter’s clothing. From a blah perch I was afraid to bring outside, it’s now a fun accent piece that would look great holding complementary pots and plants. And, best of all, the cost was next to nothing! Judging from the photos of the chapel at Tio’s Tacos, the tin can lids will eventually lose their shine and rust completely, something that I think will enhance these pieces even more … and I’ve still got plenty left! I wonder how Frito and Inky would look in armor?…

Both these projects were created for the upcoming RR Garden Bazaar, and there’re a couple more still … hope to see you all there November 5th and 6th! Click here for more information.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Vickie permalink
    October 18, 2011 2:51 am

    Fun to do and looks so cool….

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 18, 2011 3:08 am

      Thanks, Vickie, it was fun!

  2. October 18, 2011 3:49 am

    I want to know more about this bowl made of ciggie boxes.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 18, 2011 3:51 am

      Well, the recycled cigarette box bowl came from a store in Santa Rosa about 10 years ago… I don’t remember the name of the store but I love the hot orange color and the patterns of the type; it cost at that time $20. The ciggie brand is Leonard Dingler and the label on the underside of the bowl is Wola Nani Embrace out of Capetown, South Africa. Here’s their website:

      Click the explosive ‘CATALOGUES’ link at the bottom of the left-hand list and download catalogs for specific craft items (like the papíer maché bowl).

  3. October 19, 2011 9:52 pm

    Love it! Matti still needs to do something with his collection of coffee cans. I’m going to make sure he sees this 🙂

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 19, 2011 10:04 pm

      Well, if it’s anything like your pallet-turned-planter/table, it’ll be awesome!

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