Last week I gave our master bathroom a little update. The cost? $0. Yep, zero dollars. Just to reiterate… there’s not much that will make our master bathroom look nice other than a full gut. The floor tiles are ugly, the shower tiles are uglier, the lighting sucks, the toilet and bathtub are even ugly. We’ve done some minor improvements like removed the brass shower door, painted, swapped out shutters for a curtain and replaced the shower head but beyond that… there’s just no helping this old girl. I was going through our walk-through photos recently and found this picture of the old bathroom… amazing; that’s Eleanor on my back and Oliver is about 3 months away from delivery!
Because there’s no real storage in the bathroom, we use this old tower shelf to hold our towels. It’s fine, but it’s well… it’s as Ikea as they come. (Like how I styled it up all pretty for this shot?)
I had a vision for this shelf. A vision that took a few false starts, but ultimately, I’m good with the finished product. I think. And if I change my mind in a few weeks… I’ll bust out a can of white paint or just head to Ikea with $20. I’m mildly obsessed with reclaimed wood planked walls. We don’t have any obvious walls in this house that I can plank (yet!) but I liked the idea of maybe bringing some texture in and ‘planking’ these shelves. (Update… I planked this wall in our new house!!) For example:
I was all set to hit up the Depot and get some wood cut to size, but… this shelf is like 6 feet tall and 12″ deep so to cover the sides, I’d need approx. 72 feet of wood. Even if I found something less than $1.00 per foot, that’s still more than I wanted to spend just to experiment on our bathroom shelving! Wanna know what’s 12″ long, about an inch wide and free? Paint stirrers. (Housekeeping: affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience.)
Step 1: Gather up some paint stirrers!
Most paint places are pretty generous with their paint stirrers if you ask, and it only took me 3 paint stores to collect enough to cover these shelves! (I was actually buying something at all of these stores so I didn’t feel as awkward asking, but I’m sure they would have given me some regardless…)
Step 2: Glue onto shelf
I used gorilla glue to stick these guys onto the shelf. There were a few screw heads that I had work around, but I quickly drilled a hole in my stirrers so they would fit. Don’t judge, but here’s my trick:
Step 3: Stain
When the glue was dry, I used a gray Minwax stain. The stain set differently from stirrer to stirrer, but that rustic textured look was what I was going for.
Step 4: Whitewash Over Stain
Next, I went back over the shelves with a white wash like I did for this project. Lastly, I grabbed some leftover Annie Sloan chalk paint and a dry brush to bring in some age and some color.
Step 5: Tape Off Your Pattern
This was the point where I was sort of regretting the whole thing. It was pretty much what I’d envisioned, but I didn’t love it. Maybe the paint stirrers weren’t substantial enough? Who knows… It looked a little too home ec for my liking. I was wishing I’d taken the time to stain individual stirrers and create a fun herringbone pattern or something. I was all set to just paint the whole thing white when, I figured why not go back over with some painter’s tape and give the whole thing one last go of it. Like trouser pants with an elastic ankle, I keep trying to make them work.
And unlike trouser pants with an elastic waste, I think the shelf finally came together! What do you think? Should I head to Ikea for a new one, or does this work in the space?
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