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before and after

before & after: toolbox wall organizer

by Kate Pruitt

Though they have no hope of holding all my supplies, there’s something about the look and feel of these old toolboxes that I just love. Why it never occurred to me to turn such a beautifully designed item into a wall display as Kim has done here, I will never know, but I’m thankful she’s shown the way. A jewelry designer on the side, Kim needed a place to store her supplies and some of her finished pieces in her studio. This rustic toolbox provides the perfect tiny shelves to tuck things away, and looks much more unique and elegant than the standard pegboard or shelving solution. I may not have the exact same materials as Kim, but I’m definitely tempted to adapt her idea for a lovely display. Great work, Kim! — Kate

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Time: It took roughly 1 hour for my husband and I to get it on the wall. In order to get the drill to fit through the toolbox dividers, I had to first take the handle off. Luckily, the handle was attached by one screw on both sides, so it was easy to get off. We used heavy-duty anchors to hold it in place on one end, and screwed it to a stud in the wall on the other end.

Basic Steps: I didn’t have to do any staining or sanding on the toolbox itself because the aged look it had was just what I was looking for. I found some old glass cups that fit the height of the middle shelf and used them to hold loose materials. I like using glass because I can see what’s in it and it doesn’t take away from the overall look. At some point down the road, I plan on replacing the handle with a skinnier dowel rod (that I’ll age to match) so I can hang my spools of chain from it along with the finished necklaces. That will help free up shelf space for more materials.

For people trying to tackle a similar project, make sure you mark the wall exactly where you want it and that it’s level before you drill holes. We had to drill some pretty big holes to get those anchors through, and I can’t imagine drilling more if it was off! Also, a great tip for getting the life back in wood that’s aged a little too much is to use a wood conditioner. It’s great for restoring the original wood, but still keeps the aged effect. Be sure to get the squeeze bottle kind; there’s no mess and it lasts forever. You can find one at any Home Depot for $5. — Kim

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