Tag Archives | decorative painting

How to Pickle Wash a Mother’s Day Recipe Box

I love playing with paint, and I love the distressed shabby and vintage look. Now a product has come along that has my creative soul doing a happy dance because it combines the two so perfectly and easily: Plaid Pickle Wash!

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Plaid Ambassador Program for 2017, and some products I used were provided to me as part of the program. This is not a paid/sponsored post, nor is this post a requirement of my participation in the program. Some links in this article are affiliate links.]

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box


Plaid’s new Pickle Wash is an easy to apply finish that gives a whitewashed appearance to wood surfaces. It goes on as a very thin liquid (with a watery consistency). After sitting for 30 seconds, the excess is then wiped off to achieve the distressed finish. The results  – and the ease of application – have to be seen to be believed. This truly is the vintage finish that I’ve been dreaming of being able to create on my projects! And it comes in a palette of a dozen vintage friendly colors like Gypsy Rose, Soleil, Sea Glass and Celadon. And of course…Cottage White! <swoon> Oh the possibilities…I apologize in advance for the Pickle Washing spree you are probably going to be subjected to on this site now.

I decided to start experimenting with my new Plaid Pickle Wash by making myself a new recipe card box for our kitchen. (A couple of decades is probably too long to be using a plastic index card box for them, right?) This recipe box would make a great Mother’s Day gift. So happy Mother’s Day to me!

Since the Pickle Wash is so thin and soaks into the grain, it really raises the grain and emphasizes any imperfections in the surface. Unlike a paint like chalk paint, which covers a multitude of sins in a surface, Pickle Wash is not nearly so forgiving. So a good quality surface is key to getting good results. Before I started painting, I sanded my recipe box down with 320 grit sandpaper, and then removed the sanding dust with a tack cloth.

Applying the Pickle Wash finish was easy. I started on the inside of the recipe box and applied the wash with a foam brush. (This is a great way to get a feel for a new finish, by applying it in an area that won’t be seen much first.) Then after 30 seconds, I used a sheet of blue shop towel to rub off the excess. After allowing it to dry awhile, I repeated the process on the outside of the recipe box.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

After allowing the Plaid Pickle Wash to dry for the required time, I wanted to stencil on it. For stenciling I reached for classic FolkArt Acrylic, in – what else? – Vintage White! It was the perfect shade of not-quite-white to apply to make my stencil look vintage. True white would have been too stark against the the distressed Pickle Wash finish.

The stencil that I chose for the front of the box was large enough that it spans over the opening of the box lid. So to keep everything in place while I stenciled it, I taped the box lid shut with painter’s tape. Then, after sticking down the self-adhesive stencil, I also taped around the edges of the stencil, since the design went very close to the edges and I didn’t want to get any paint off the edges of the stencil.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

I dd my stenciling with a super dry brush. I wasn’t worried about getting thick, solid color or about missing spots, since the whole idea is for a vintage, aged look anyway.

Once the stenciling was dry, I drilled a hole in the center of the recipe box’s lid with my drill. I selected a drill bit that was just a tiny bit smaller than the diameter of the screw for my decorative knob I was planning to use.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

The finishing touch for the recipe box is the decorative knob that serves as a “handle” for the lid, and which emphasizes the vintage theme of the design. I chose this faux milk glass one because the vintage white look of the faux milk glass mimics the vintage white of the stenciled design.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

The decorative knob came with a really long bolt on it, which would get in the way of storing recipes inside the box. So I got out my Dremel tool and cut it off very near the nut attaching the knob to the lid.

And that is it…my Mother’s Day recipe box was completed. Now that my recipes are stored so beautifully, I might actually have to cook and use some of them!

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

Books | The Brushstroke Handbook by Maureen McNaughton

One of the reasons I was excited to review “The Brushstroke Handbook” was because I know nothing about fancy brushstroke painting. I can paint walls and furniture, and I can even use stencils. But I wanted to give my skills a little boost.

The Brushstroke HandbookIt turns out this is a great book for beginners because the author, Maureen McNaughton, is noted for her clear and concise directions. She also goes into detail on the supplies that she used for the book and why they work well for the techniques described. I used a different brand of acrylic paint and brushes (because it is what I had on hand) and I was missing the paint “extender” that she mixed with each color to change the paint’s consistency a bit. I will have to get this before I start any serious projects. Continue Reading →

Loew Cornell Style Stix

Reported by Lisa Fulmer

When I was at the CHA Super Show, I picked up a couple of these Style Stix wedge brushes by Loew Cornell. It’s a stiff, tapered sponge brush available in various widths, good for “stripes, petals & swashes.” Style Stix also come in cone or dome shapes – in addition to painting, they are said to work nicely for shaping clay.

I started playing with stripes and found that the sponge does not pick up as much paint as I thought it would, perhaps because it is so much more dense that a cosmetic sponge or craft sponge brush. It does make a nice straight line, once you get the right amount of paint loaded on. It leaves a little ridge along the edge, which may or may not be desirable. I liked using the tip to make little stitch marks.

I used the ridges to my advantage and painted simple crisscross strokes to get an interesting abstract geometric pattern.

The tapered shape does make creating petal and leaf shapes really easy in just 2 curved strokes. I liked going back over it with the tip to create random ridges in my leaves and petals.

I worked with acrylic paints, both alone and with a little acrylic medium blended in. Style Stix releases the paint quite differently than brushes or sponges…takes a little getting used to, but once I did, I started having fun with the textures.

Then I wanted to play with the “swash” aspect, so I poured a puddle of shimmering ink on my paper and used the tip of the Style Stix to feather it all out. Now I liked that the Style Stix is not absorbent; I was able to move the ink around yet still keep it looking streaky. This will make an awesome background for an ATC!

After a lot of painting and rinsing and stubbing and squishing, my Style Stix really took a beating. But I was happy with how nicely the edges stayed sharp, they didn’t turn nappy at all.

I think my favorite way to use the Style Stix though, is as a blending tool for pastels and chalk powders. So much easier to work with than a paper stump – the tapered edge give lots of fine line control, and the texture and density of the sponge is perfect for gently moving the colors together.


  • Inexpensive and sturdy
  • Variety of widths
  • Interesting way to add curves, lines and texture
  • Perfect density for blending dry mediums


  • Tapered wedge shape is pretty limited to making flower parts
  • Takes some time to get used to how it loads and releases paint

Have you used the Style Stix by Loew Cornell? Were you able to use their unique properties to your advantage? Leave us a comment and let us know!


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