Top 10 Architectural Salvage Items to Repurpose for Your Home

It’s a hot word in today’s online world of DIY blogging and made over décor: Repurpose.  But what does it really mean to “repurpose” something? Google has informed me that to repurpose means to “adapt for use in a different purpose.”  This is one of my favorite words, and working at ReHouse I have daily inspiration.  It got me to wondering, what are the most popular architectural salvage items to repurpose?  I’ve done my fair share of upcycling, as it is also called, but I turned to the DIY pros via Pinterest for some guidance on the topic.

I conducted a search on Pinterest for “repurpose architectural salvage” and gathered my data on the frequency with which each item or category appeared in the results.  I then compared those results with our own POS database and the quantity of each item or category we sold in 2016 and 2017 so far (these numbers will be listed in parenthesis for each category or subcategory).  I have concluded that the top 10 architectural salvage items to repurpose (in no particular order) must be

Doors (1081)

Interior (709), exterior(209), paneled wood, metal, wood with leaded glass, rustic/barn (53), sliding, folding, painted or natural, hundreds of DIYers are adapting doors to fit their décor needs and styles.  These photos all come from ReHouse customers who have reinstalled or repurposed the doors they purchased here.

Top left: Tim repurposed a pair of oversized doors from a garage or barn into outdoor privacy walls on his deck. Top right: Exterior door with side lites and arched transom from Victorian home in Hornell, NY reinstalled at MCM Natural Stone in Rochester, NY. Center right: wood interior door with beautiful grain turned on its side is now a customer’s headboard. Bottom right: an assortment of paneled interior wood doors pieced together to make the sales counter at Grossman’s Nursery also in Rochester, NY.  Bottom left: side folding wood and glass garage doors became a space divider in a clothing store in NYC.

Windows (955)

Technically these are window sashes or one part of the whole window unit.  Most DIYers using windows seem to choose older wood framed sashes with divided lites (256), leaded glass (100) or the occasional stained glass (31).  Pinterest has window project round ups that include “25+ DIY Repurposed Window Ideas” and “40 Simple Yet Sensational Repurposing Projects for Old Windows.”  Wall decor seems to be a very popular result, and here are a few I would be happy to hang in my home.

Left to right.  1. Frame a fun favorite poster within the divided lites and add a whimsical accent to the front like Cassie from Little Red Window.  2. Feature a collection of small stained glass windows on an empty wall like this arrangement from Pinterest said to be in the home of John McGivern.  3. At Right Up My Alley Design on Etsy I found inspiration for painting on glass just as I would on a canvas.  4. I could not find any one to which I can attribute this creative enclosed frame except that it is obviously from the family of Sgt. Gregory W Ball.  Cases and cabinets seem to be a natural progression in window repurposing.

Left: By Your Hands featured this cabinet with windows as doors but did not know where it originally came from.  You could use a pre-built cabinet or build one to suit a found window.  Similar to one at my house, this cold frame from Grow Garden Tomatoes will protect your sprouting plants in the cool spring.

Metal Accents

Metalwork that was a part of something else in a former life often peeks through or sometimes even dominates architectural vignettes.  In ReHouse these items fit into all categories.  Among the top choices for salvaged metalwork are fence sections or pieces (73), gates with some sort of latch (7), heating grates (180), tin ceiling (361), lamp/lighting parts (320), and other metal do-dads, tools, and thingies from who knows what (I don’t have a number for that).

Top row, left to right: Narrow console table using reclaimed wood and wrought iron fence pieces, this post led me back to Cass at Remodelaholic. An aged run-of-the-mill chain link fence gate becomes a decorating focal point when hung above the fireplace and adorned with a natural arrangement at Back Porch Musings.  Those little dod-dads come in handy when making unique wind chimes as Rebecca discovered from life. by hand.  Tear that ugly fabric off an old lamp shade, invert, and let it hold up your tulips (no attribution).  Bottom row, left to right: Antique heating grates set into the ground and filled with colored stones become and enchanted walking path aparently from Hometalk. Make your own toilet paper holder out of pipe pieces or purchase at Reclaimed Art.  This lovely bouquet accent lamp is made of lamp parts with a touch of hardware for the blossoms by Jack at Jack Riley Lighting.

Hardware (9725)

That leads us into another broad category that spans all types of door knobs (816), door plates (688), drawer pulls and knobs (2451), latches (205), hinges (1348), hooks (217), escutcheons (162), and brackets (64).  I was surprised to discover that many hardware repurposing projects are resulting in beautiful and unique jewelry.  There are also many customers at ReHouse who want to give their kitchen or furniture a makeover with new knobs or pulls.

Top row, right to left: ReHouse customer, Alissa Laine, restored this beautiful dresser by replacing the knobs with original glass.  1/2 of a hinge + 2 typewriter keys = a classy hook for necklaces made by Paul at Etsy shop StrangeTanks.  An antique eschutcheon (that key hole thing) and a few beads create a simple and elegant statement from a web page that is no longer active.  Some shabby chic door knobs are retrofitted for candles and rented out as wedding decor at Something Borrowed.  Bottom left:  One of my favorite uses for antique hardware has to be the addition of a door plate from ReHouse to a real and functioning guitar by Jonathan at Postal Commerce.  A statement piece worthy of a red carpet event this necklace features an antique drawer pull and (I think) precious stones made at Retreaux Girl.  Another ReHouse customer (whose name has been sadly misplaced) used 12 point glass door knobs and a wood door header to create an elegantly rustic coat rack.

Wood Trim and Accents

This is admittedly a large and varied category.  People are using corbels (76), plinth blocks (76), door headers (over 150 linear feet), column capitals, and pieces of wood appliqué.  It also includes all types of turned wood findings such as balusters (149), newel posts (8), columns (57), and furniture parts like chair spindles (145 chairs) and table legs.

Top left: An antique extra large corbel mounted on the wall becomes a plant stand at the Bachman’s Spring 2011 Ideas House and captured by Itsy Bits and Pieces.  Top center: Using some salvaged wood trim our customer Ms. Farnung created a lovely space to display her jewelry.  Top right: Decorative plinth blocks used to adorn the bottom corners of doorways where 2 types of trim meet.  Add a hook of your choosing and mount them to hang hats, necklaces, or dish towels like My Desert Cottage.  Bottom row: Matching corbels are used to support a shelf in the dining room at the Red Chandelier.   An unidentified but beautiful piece of salvaged wood repurposed as a table lamp by Meyer Interiors.

Mantels (33)

Pinterest viewers are not inundated with mantels as they may be doors or windows, but the end results are so beautiful and inspiring I feel they have earned a spot in the top ten.  These mantels are might be striped, sanded, painted, and/or stained.  Many live their new lives simply as restored mantels for real or imagined fireplaces, but often they are transformed into headboards, book shelves, or even a mirror frame.

Top left: upholstered mantel headboard by Rhonda at My Blue Creek Home.  Top right: shabby chic arched mantel headboard from a compilation at Country Design Home.  Middle right: mantel turned bookshelf found on Pinterest from an old Ebay link.  Bottom right: small mantel repurposed as a bathroom mirror frame at Neighbor’s Hill Bakery and Cafe in Arkansas (photo by Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse).  Bottom left: imagined fireplace vignette at Chateau Chic.

Shutters (224)

Both interior and exterior, shutters are used in a variety of household vignettes and projects.  Interior shutters are usually shorter and narrower.  These were more for privacy that for protection as large outdoor shutters were.  In case you’re interested, the most popular exterior shutter color is green if our inventory is any indication

Top row, left to right:  Gail Wilson at My Repurposed Life made this handy magazine rack with one wide interior shutter.  A tool caddy using 2 small interior shutters made by customer Gail Miller at a ReHouse workshop last year.  Four small interior shutters painted white and attached to form a box hangs from a chain and lights up the space (unknown source).  Bottom left: A lovely autumn vignette featuring a pair of shutters in another customer’s home.   Bottom right: I’ve seen many display shelves made with a shutter as the back but this one includes a light at the top and doubles as a hall tree with coat hooks (unknown source).

Furniture (1633)

At ReHouse our furniture sales are topped by cabinets of all types (1027).  Far below that come chairs (145) and tables (131) and then just drawers all by themselves.  Many DIYers are following the painted furniture trend which is sometimes covered by the repurposed umbrella.  Here I would like to show some amazing examples of furniture repurposed as some totally unexpected things.

Top right:  wooden head and foot boards become a sunny bench for one customer.  Center left:  a refrigerator on its back and covered in barn wood will now hold all the cold drinks for the party at another customer’s house.  Top right: dresser – drawers + wallpaper = dollhouse (unknown source).  Bottom left: another foot board with some shabby chic paint and a dozen small hooks can hold all your tea cups and saucers on the wall (link went to Hometalk). Bottom right: From Gypsy Barn this upright piano has been gutted and fitted with shelves and a drawer to be used as a dining room feature.

Lighting Globes & Shades (528)

Although we do sell the occasional fabric shade for lamps or sconces (24), most of the Globes & Shades (427) category consists of antique or vintage glass ones.  These come in every shape and size and fit all different lamps ceiling mount, chandeliers, pendants, table, wall, even under the cupboard and over the vanity.  They are available for indoors or outdoors, attic, basement, or garage.  I never knew there were so many! On top of that, individual chandelier crystals (101) make up a significant portion of all lighting related glass sales.

Top left: Use round glass globes as a mold for these trendy concrete spheres by following the tutorial by Steve & Kathy at The Garden Glove.  Top right: Search out ridged white globes, add a “stem” and create an autumn display that won’t rot before Halloween, Homeward Found Decor.  Bottom left:  Another great tutorial, this one from Addicted 2 Decorating, shows how to turn the classic school house globes into a succulent centerpiece.  Bottom center:  Two very different glass shades come together with some glass glue to become your new favorite cake plate worthy of the finest celebrations like these from DIY Homer.  Bottom right: Solar lights with a twist, this DIY project uses normal outdoor solar lights and glass shades from a common ceiling fan to light up Gail’s porch at My Repurposed Life.

Commercial

Ok, I hear you…”what kind of category is commercial?”  This may not be on the top ten for Pinterest posts.  It may not even be defined as architectural salvage at all, but this year ReHouse has sold over 700 square feet of bowling alley.  That’s right, bowling alley.  I’m taking a guess that the customers who purchased these 700 square feet are not installing a home bowling alley.  The other option?  They must be repurposing it.

Now 700 square feet is very heavy.  It requires commitment to salvage, commitment to purchase, and commitment to repurpose.  With all that commitment I shall add my own.  I commit to giving Bowling Alley its very own post within the next few weeks featuring only projects completed by ReHouse Customers.  If you haven’t sent photos of your bowling alley project yet, now would be a good time.

Until then, what will you repurpose today?

 

Fun Find: Umbrella Stands

Occasionally ReHouse will acquire several of one type of item.  Maybe this is because someone gave up a collection or cleaned out the house of a hoarder.  Whatever the reason, last week we received about a dozen umbrella stands.  Not the ornate ones from the entryway of a Victorian mansion.  The kind that lives on the patio and is heavy as you-know-what.  The kind that hides under the outdoor dining table and holds the shade umbrella steady during summer meals.

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Maybe you are like me.  I have one of these under my small patio table.  It has been there since we moved in 5 years ago.  It once held a  green and white striped canvas umbrella.  Sadly, the umbrella broke 4 years ago, but the stand is holding firm.  The arrival of these in the store made me think.  Does everyone’s umbrella break?  What are we going to do with all these stands?  If the umbrellas break, doesn’t everyone already have extra stands and instead need new umbrellas?

Can these heavy and decorative stands be used for something else?  Hmmm… Pinterest, here I come!  Here is what my search turned up for you.

  1. DIY Umbrella Stand into an Easy Patio Table from Victoria at Dazzle While Frazzeled  This is a well detailed DIY post with easy to follow instructions and great pictures.  Nice work, Victoria!DIY-Umbrella-Stand-Patio-Side-Table-collage-7
  2. Vintage Bike Planter.  I do not believe this is a real bike but it could certainly be the inspiration for something similar.  Found on Pinterest. Photo from flickr user Carmen Moreno. 55ff9426f2841b992f3056b68aa12040
  3. Repurposed Bird Feeder made from various pans and metal dishes with umbrella stand as the base.  (There was no link to an original post with this one.) www.pinterest.com
  4. Garden Fountain.  This is a store bought example from Loluxe on Shopify.  With a little help from This Old House and some spare parts you can certainly make your own.  89529a999d6a1ee3ed322a23209dac17.jpg
  5. Umbrella Stand.  Obvious perhaps, but maybe you have a less-than-pleasing umbrella without a stand.  Don’t throw it out just yet.  Penny at Penny’s Vintage Home shows you how to refashion your old, ugly umbrella to make it fit in your shabby chic outdoor living space.  PicMonkey Collage

Have you been inspired?  I know I have.  I am partial to the shabby chic umbrella.  I am also considering the small patio table but with a chess board.  Let me know what you plan to do.  You can always post your reuse projects on Instagram with #reusewithrehouse and we will feature your project on our feed too!  Here are some more pics of the stands we have available.  Get’em before they’re gone.

 

Wedding Trends Made Rent-able

Wedding season is approaching for 2017, and according to the top wedding trend sites (the knot, Bridal Guide, Glamour), couples this year are envisioning weddings styled with “vintage glamour” and situated in creative natural spaces.  Even with the popular themes of elaborate food pairings and bountiful blooms, a return to live bands, and portrait painters alongside photographers, today’s couples are also focused on going green in more ways than one.

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Current popular venues are no longer limited church basements, conference centers, or banquet halls.  While these are excellent and often economical choices where you can be sure practice has made perfect, couples are branching out[doors].  Whether actually indoors or out, more weddings are featuring natural elements.  Free flowing bouquets offer the ambiance of an English Garden.  Potted dwarf trees bring the garden indoors.  Wood and stone elements complete the enchanted forest effect.

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The ultimate example of bringing the outdoors in…the avenue of trees at the royal wedding in 2011.  – photo by Murray Sanders for dailymail.co.uk

Going green is not only a desirable decor style.  Couples today are taking on an environmental responsibility to go green as they plan their special days.  Invitations are being printed on recycled paper with soy based inks.  Flowers are being donated after the ceremony for others to enjoy.  Vintage china, silver, glassware, and linens are all being rented to eliminate waste even for casual receptions.  Couples are being more aware of the lasting impressions left by their weddings.  William and Kate may have started this trend when they went green by planting the English Field Maples that adorned Westminster after the royal wedding.

These 3 doors have been in the racks for years…should they be trashed?

At ReHouse we make decisions daily about what we let go to waste and what we are able to save for reuse.  We strive to encourage others to do the same when planning a remodel, restoration, or deconstruction of homes and buildings.  What if we could do the same for weddings?

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or should they be transformed with some paint and hinges?

We have always offered a rental option for items being used in theatrical productions or other short term events.  This option allows the renter to use the item as a prop for a predetermined period of time and then return it in like condition.  An item could be saved from the landfill when we salvage it from a house and then again when it is returned as a rental rather than purchased for a one-time use and thrown out For 50% of the retail price, if it’s in stock, you can rent it.

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What do we rent out most?  Doors.  In fact doors are so popular as wedding rentals we have decided to create some easy-up wedding backdrops and props using some of our 1000+ in stock doors.  These special event creations are available for one day rentals for the price listed.  Since we are closed on Sundays, Saturday to Monday rentals are considered “one day.”  We loved making them, and we hope that you will love using them for your next event.

PW0007Pale Green, 2 Door Backdrop – features matching solid wood oversized 6 panel doors with upper lites. Painted with durable indoor/outdoor paint in pale green.  Hardware detailing is also handpainted.  Triangle stands on each door and removable top trim support this elegant piece.  Add your own matching floral accents and tulle trim. $225

16938855_10154435757656588_2048778553315398483_nFarmhouse Chic Extra Large Arbor – built from locally salvaged barn wood horse stalls. Rear panel handcrafted to match.  Pergola style top asks to be draped with flowers, fabric, or candles that coordinate with your event’s decor. Designed and built for quick and easy assembly and tear down. $225

16904859_10154435754886588_4085692690442794175_oWhite Bridal Walk-Through Arbor – created with 2 doors slightly different in design painted fresh white to match any color scheme.  Feet on bottom and slats on top provide support for this pergola style arbor.  Perfect for a photo prop, ceremony backdrop, or to frame the bride’s entrance down the aisle, this piece places you right in the garden.  $195

Barn Wood Walls with Sliding Door (part 1)

We are always doing little projects around the store to give customers inspiration as well as an interesting shopping experience.  Our newest project has gotten so many comments that I knew I had to post more details.

This odd little corner has “needed something” since before I started here 2 years ago.  The bi-fold door is broken and does not slide.  The size and shape of the space is odd and awkward.  Customers either think that the whole corner is off limits, or they try to shop in the storage room.  In fact, this corner is so uninteresting that there are NO photos of it at all in the vast archive of ReHouse photos.  We had to do something!

 

Enter barn wood.  (find out where the barn wood came from HERE)  The decision was made to cover part of the walls with barn wood from our stock.  Don’t worry, there is still more here for your project.  Barn wood comes in many colors and textures.  Colors range from traditional “barn red” and “white wash” to varying shades of brown, grey, greyish brown, even brownish and mossy.  The texture of barn wood can be described as rustic, distressed, holey, rough, chewed on, pitted, worn, even old.  Fortunately, these are all adjectives that add to the appeal of barn wood.

 

How much wood to buy.  Begin by measuring the area of the walls you plan to cover.  In our corner we had 2 walls that would be mostly covered.  As you know, Length times Height will equal area in this case.  This is your required square footage.  Bring this number with you when purchasing your barn wood.  Always buy a little extra.  If you don’t need it for you wall you can use it elsewhere to tie things together.  Although each piece of wood will be unique, try to choose boards with a similar thickness.  This will ensure that your wall isn’t bumpy when done.  Things just don’t hang well on bumpy walls!

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Where to start. We started by trimming around the door with narrow boards.  After that was in place, we started at the top of the wall section.  There was a piece of trim on the wall there dividing the upper section from the pegboard mid section.  We butted the top piece of wood against the trim. Each board was attached through the studs with a nail gun.  Then continued to add wood in the same manner making sure each new board was still level.  There may be small gaps between boards in order to keep things straight.  As you can see below, it all works out.

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You’re done!  You didn’t know it would be that easy, did you?  How do you like it?  We love ours but decided to go a bit farther.  Here is a preview of the now white washed barn wood walls along with the proud builder.  Thanks for your hard work, David.

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This story continues in part 2 HERE.

Snail Mail: Ancient History?

An unusual acquisition for ReHouse, 2746 antique and vintage postcards, was checked in this week filling almost 6 drawers of an equally unusual file cabinet.  Someone had obviously been an avid collector of places and stories, and perhaps there are others like him who will be interested in leafing through to find the missing piece for their own collections.  Certainly no one will be sending these artifacts through the postal service again.  Or will they?
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Do not doubt the power of personal snail mail in this day of instantly received e-mails, frequently updated Facebook pages, and gone-in-an-instant Snapchat posts when the only mail in the mailbox that actually has your name on it is a bill or a bank statement.  I don’t know about you, but even those exciting notices go to my inbox rather than my mailbox.  When was the last time you received a physical piece of mail that was not typed or mass produced?  Your birthday?  Or was that via Facebook too?
When was the last time you received or sent a card or a letter to a friend, colleague, or loved one?  Can’t remember?  That’s what I thought.  Here is your chance to spread some joy along with me, and you can choose how to participate.
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1. Inspire a Friend, Colleague, Loved One
Choose one or more postcards (I know where you can get 2746), write a quick note of inspiration, and then allow the mailman the pleasure of delivering it to someone important to you.
Supplies per card: 1 card, 1 postcard rate postage stamp, pen or pencil of choice.
Cost: $2.34 each
2 cards might be in a collection focused on Rochester History
2. Add to a Postcard Collection
If you know a postcard collector you can choose one or more to surprise them with to add to their special collection.  Find out about what and how they collect.  Our cards are divided by state, country, topic, etc. so you will have an easy time finding one to fit their individual collection.  Most are already in protective sleeves which collectors love, but if you plan to mail these, consider placing up to 3 in an envelope.  Many collectors of antique postcards do not like new writing on their specimens.
Supplies per card: 1 card, 1 first class postage stamp, 1 envelope
Cost: $2.50ish plus $2 for each additional card you include
2 cards made by local artist and ReHouse employee, Julie Wasson
3. Create a Piece of Mail Art
Get inspired by the art of Nick Bantock, artist and writer of the Griffin and Sabine book series, and create your own mail art.  Use your favorite permanent glue to adhere images, words, phrases, or photos to your original postcard.  Cover with a layer of Mod Podge or thinned Elmer’s School Glue to protect your work.  Make sure your card is still 2D and will not fall apart on its journey through the postal service.  Use a regular First Class Stamp to account for the possible extra weight of your additions.  Send your creation out into the world to inspire others.
Supplies per card: 1 card, 1 first class postage stamp, words and images cut from magazines or other mail, etc. glue, a pen or pencil of choice
Cost: $2.50 is the base price per card. Actual cost will vary based on your materials.  How would you even estimate the cost of magazine clippings?

Still not convinced of the versatility and usefulness of The Postcard?  Visit our new Pinterest page, “Postcards: Repurposed” or simply search “postcard” to discover these and other amazing ideas for salvaged postcards.

  • postcard covered walls
  • postcard travel journals
  • altered postcards
  • maxicards
  • postcards as story tellers
  • postcards as historical documentation
  • encouraging postcards
  • postcard garlands
  • postcard pendant lamps
  • postcard borders around doors and windows
  • postcards and summer fun
  • postcards as geography lesson
  • neat and tidy postcard displays
  • crazy chaotic postcard displays
  • postcards filed in boxes
  • postcards in window frames

Reclaimed Factory Carts

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Not long ago ReHouse acquired 2 dozen or more of these reclaimed factory carts. The wood is amazingly weathered, and the wheels are not only functional but beautiful. I’m sure you’ve seen similar ones in high end retail stores that boast [expensive] rustic industrial decor.  In a quick google shopping search I discovered the following industrial factory cart tables for sale.

top row, left: vintage refurbished cart from State Street Salvage on Etsy, $825  middle: HomeBelle reproduction cart, average price online $628.89  right: Tribecca Home reproduction cart, online price $419.99

bottom row, left: Home Decorators Collection Holden reproduction cart, average price online $554.34  middle: original vintage Lineberry cart on Etsy, $850  right: Bassett Mirror Co. reproduction cart, average online price $752.45.

WOW! Refurbished originals go for over $800 online.  Seriously?  That makes my pocketbook hurt!  This is your official invitation to create a perfect accent for your home AND save hundreds of dollars doing it.

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Step 1: Check Pinterest for inspiration.  Here are a few we found:

Step 2: Choose your project cart.  We still have over a dozen to choose from ranging from $135 (these red dot specials may be falling apart but the bones are still good) to $185 (not falling apart but needing some TLC).

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Step 3: Build it! Many of the Pinterest images link to directions. Our advice: make sure you measure twice and cut once.  Here are a few of the finished pieces built by our staff.

Your turn!  We want to see your creations.  Post a comment and/or a photo of your completed factory cart projects.  We can’t wait!

Dragonflies for the Garden Fence

Every day we help our customers find just the right salvaged item to add to their period homes creating works of architectural beauty.  Most people do not know that every day we also help our customers find just the right salvaged item to create works of art.

Jack came in recently on a mission for his daughter.  She had found some amazing dragonflies on Pinterest that can be used to liven up a boring garden fence.  He wanted to make a few for her and came to us for the salvaged items: fan blades and table legs.

inspirationThe first inspiration image he showed me on his phone was this one.  Originally pinned from, Saved By Love Creations, blogger Johnnie Collier offers a detailed tutorial for making these spunky guys from vintage ceiling-fan blades and decorative table legs.  She shows each step including how to shape the fan blades and add painted details.  Johnnie starts out by sharing with her readers where her original inspiration came from…

inspiration2Her inspiration happens to also be the next one Jack showed me when he came in.  Lucy Laglois from Lucy Designs Online shows in step by step detail how she made her original dragonflies. Lucy’s tutorial includes details on how she added decorative molding and fancy saw work to her elegant insects.  Her images also show the original state of her salvaged finds.

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check our basement for all spindles, piano legs, and balusters

Jack and I took a look around the ReHouse Architectural Salvage store for some wings and bodies.  We discovered 5 ceiling fan blades for $1 a piece, and he chose 3 salvaged banister spindles for $5 each.  For $20 Jack was able to create these 3 unique winged insects for his daughter’s garden fence.