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Upcycling for Good

Paint a hat box

Turn a cardboard lidded hat box into a stylish piece of home décor, with a tribal twist!

Resene upcycling for good with Sarah Herring - Project 41

Finished project
Finished project

You will need: Testpot brushes, Resene Quick Dry primer sealer undercoat, craft feathers (from a dollar store or craft supply shop), natural fibre rope (from a hardware store), hot glue gun (or super hold PVA and lots of patience!), Resene testpots in your choice of colours. Sarah used Resene Half Rakaia – two testpots, Resene Oilskin and Resene Alabaster.

Top tip: When painting with a tribal theme, throw perfection out the window and embrace crooked lines, texture, and less than perfect paint techniques to get a more organic result.

Before and after hat box
Before photo / finished project

Step 1
Step one
Always check your second-hand item for repairs and give it a clean before starting. This cardboard hat box had a bright blue finish, so Sarah applied one coat of Resene Quick Dry primer sealer undercoat to both the inside and outside surfaces to hide the blue colour and prepare for painting. A smooth and shiny surface would benefit from a coat of Resene Waterborne Surface Sealer instead of primer. Sarah also cut the bright blue rope handles and removed them from the box.
Step 2
Step two
Apply two coats of your chosen new colour for the box with a testpot brush. Sarah used Resene Half Rakaia. Sarah chose to use colours from the Resene Whites and Neutrals range because she wanted to go for an earthy, tribal theme for the project.
Step 3
Step three

Once all the paint is completely dry, take a selection of black craft feathers and apply them around the outside of the hat box using a hot glue gun. Space the feathers out around the box. You can use as many or as few as you like! If your hat box has a lid like Sarah’s does, make sure that you start gluing the feathers far enough down the side of the box that the lid can still be used.
Step 4
Step four
Take the rough, natural fibre rope and use the hot glue gun to stick it around the outside of the box. Wrap the rope over the lower segment of the feathers, about six full rows of rope in total. Apply small drops of glue as you wrap the rope around, taking your time to let the glue bond before moving along.
Step 5
Step five

Once the feathers and rope have been applied, roughly paint a coat of Resene Oilskin on the rope. Sarah was not aiming for full coverage, as she wanted to still be able to see the natural fibre coming through. If you prefer you could apply a rough coat of paint to the rope before gluing it onto the box.
Step 6
Step six
Using a couple of leftover craft feathers, paint a stencil design on the lid of the box. To do this paint one side of a feather in Resene Alabaster, and then very carefully ‘stamp’ the painted side down on to the hat box lid to leave a feather print. Repeat this randomly spacing all over the hat box lid. And that’s it!

One very plain old hat box has now been turned into a cool tribal style storage box for your home. Perfect for storing books, blankets, even kindling by the fire. Take it one step further and remove the lid to use the hat box as a planter box for a Fiddle Leaf Fig or similar indoor tree… it’s up to you!

Upcycling for Good

You can find a huge range of treasures, from ornaments and picture frames, to furniture and toys at your local Salvation Army store that you can easily upcycle with a little Resene paint and some imagination.

"Our Family Stores are full of treasures generously donated by members of the public. We value these donations and try our hardest to re-purpose and sell as much as possible. We’re all about re-using and recycling, so teaming up with Resene on Upcycling for Good was a perfect match. Resene’s products and tips are a natural fit with our pre-loved furniture and accessories, which are usually great quality but could sometimes do with a lick of paint to ensure they fly off the shelves.

Each year, nationally, our stores save 16,000 tonnes from landfill. This initiative increases the value of the donated product, improves the range of goods for our customers, and furthers The Salvation Army’s mission and Resene’s community activity.” Gareth Marshall, The Salvation Army's National Family Store Manager.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.