Tag Archives | Walnut Hollow

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

Review | Crystyler 12 by Norma Rapko

Reported by Maria Soto

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the affiliate program.

I love working with crystals, so I was very excited to try out the Crystyler 12 tool from Walnut Hollow by designer and inventor Norma Rapko.

This fun tool will allow you to add crystals to embellish just about anything you feel needs some sparkle.  I just had to try it on different surfaces! This tool makes it easy to fill in small and large areas with crystals faster. Before this, I used to pick up each crystal one at a time by hand to place on the glue areas of all my projects. It took me a long time to just work on one item alone doing that.

Below you will find photos of four projects I made. Each item was embellished with this tool and crystals, and it only took me about two hours to add the crystals on all four objects. Of course, I had to add the glue, then the crystals, but it was still a lot faster and I can’t wait to continue using these products in many future projects.

For my first project I embellished my daughter’s simple phone case. She asked that I add a music note using crystals. I wanted to cover the entire case with crystals but her style is very simple, and so she specifically asked me to do a simple design.


My daughter was very happy with her embellished phone case. I used the amethyst and clear crystals on this design.

The next item, this pretty bracelet, already has a nice sparkle on its own. But I thought a bit of color contrast would be nice to add some more sparkle to it. I decided to add the clear crystals since the bracelet had a gold/copper color already and the idea of adding blue, green, or gold crystals just didn’t seem to work for me. I had no problems with the crystals’ release on this bracelet and it now has added sparkle especially when you wear it outdoors. 

I used the clear crystals to embellish the gold/copper bracelet.

I also had this pretty headband in gray color. I decided to add aquamarine and clear crystals to make it pretty and fun to wear.  The crystals looked very pretty and once again I had no problems with the release of the crystals.

I purchased this black cast iron cross during the summer and although I liked the black color, I just knew I had to do something more to it. So I decided to paint it and to add tea crystals to the circle in the center of the cross by using the Crystyler.

Here is how the cross looks now. The silver and red paints are from Viva Decor, and the gold in the circle in the center of the cross is from all the crystals I added using the Crystýler.  It is cold out now in Indiana, but come next spring this cross will be out on my front porch as a decoration. I can’t wait to see all the sparkle from the crystals when the sunlight hits it!

I had read the directions on the package and had watched the instructional video from Norma on how to use the  Crystýler, so I thought I was ready to use this tool. But I still had problems loading and releasing the crystals correctly and fast when I started on my first project. So in addition to following the instructions on the packaging, I would also recommend that you visit Norma Rapko’s website for tips and techniques on how to use this tool before you get started.

I wish I had read the tips before I started my first project, as it would have saved me time and I would have finished faster. The first time I loaded the Crystýler I used the hard surface of my desk. I believe that’s why I had a hard time with my first project. The crystals would not come out quickly. I had to clear out the Crystýler and reload the crystals twice because they went in crooked. After reading the tips and techniques I followed their recommendation to using a notebook or a silicone mat so your crystals can load in correctly. I used a notebook and it did make a difference when I pressed to release the crystals – they came out fast and easy.

Now, I have been working with crystals for many years, and until now I had never used any type of tool to adhere the flat back crystals to any of my projects, all I’ve used in the past is glue and my fingers to pick up each crystal.  This tool made it easier for me to adhere the crystals, and faster, yes I had a few issues a few times with the crystals not coming out right away, and having to press three to four times, but at the end it worked out.  I do recommend to give this tool a try and to make sure and follow all directions on how to use it.


  • Allows you to add crystals to your projects faster and easier
  • The color coordination for the package of the two different sizes of Crystýler and the corresponding crystals makes it easy to purchase the right tool with the right size crystal


  • Loading crystals on a hard surface can cause the crystals to load crooked.
  • Needs more color variety of crystals
  • Limited to only two sizes of crystals

The Crystýler 12, for placing crystals 3mm to 3.2mm, can be purchased at Michael’s,, and other outlets for around $19.99. Accessory packs of crystals are also available. There is also a Crystýler 20 tool to work with crystals that are sized 4.6mm to 4.8mm

Creative Metal™ by Walnut Hollow

Reported by Lisa Fulmer

Creative Metal™ is a selection of tools and texture plates for embossing or debossing soft metal sheets. You can adhere the decorative metal designs you create on to frames, boxes, vases, etc. My first thought when I saw this product at Winter CHA 2010 was to create my own metal embellishments for greeting cards and artist trading cards.

The beginner kit comes with a TON of stuff, including 2 pen-sized handles,18 different interchangeable tips, metal scissors, a ruler, a paper stump tool, a texture plate, and a foam work pad. It came with only one 3.5” square piece of practice metal…I definitely could have used another sheet or two to practice on, before opening up my pack of “good” sheets (sold separately).

I spent about 30 minutes with the instructions and the piece of practice metal, trying out all the different tools and parts to see what they did. I was surprised at how heavy my hand was; I tore the metal several times. After a little while, I got the hang of using a lighter touch. I found the paper stump tool to be easier to play with first, then I graduated to the metal tool.

I also played with two additional packs of texture plates. I found these to be a bit challenging to keep the sheet in place and feel my way around the pattern as I pushed the metal into the crevices. Could just be that I lack patience and I was trying to move too fast…you definitely want to work slowly to prevent the tool from slipping and denting the metal in the wrong places. I found if I pressed the metal sheet all around the texture plate with my fingers first, I could see a trace of the pattern, making it easier to start using the tools. Once you have debossed the pattern, then you can turn the metal over so the design is now embossed. Either way looks nice!

Using different tips, you can make the edges of the design nice and crisp, or smooth the metal around the edges to “erase” stray dents. My boo-boo’s were still noticable…but with some practice, my skills improved! I actually liked the smaller patterns best; it was easier to control the debossing.

I really liked the “ball and cup” tip sets that came in two sizes. First you dent the metal with the ball on the foam pad, then you turn the sheet over onto a hard surface and seal it into a cute little raised dot.

All the different border wheels were fun and super easy to use too, with or without a ruler.

My favorite tip of all was the one for writing and drawing…I love the look of freehand lettering and doodling in the metal. The metal is soft enough that your normal handwriting comes across nicely as a debossed image. If you can write backwards, the letters look even better embossed.

Tinting the metal with alcohol inks was really fun, too! I doodled an embellishment for an ATC…I used one of the rollers to add texture to the petals of a punched flower for a greeting card…then I went all crazy, cutting and debossing petals that I painted first with red and gold alcohol inks to make a big flower for a holiday wreath. And I’m saving all my metal scraps to make a cool mosaic one of these days!


  • The instructions for each piece in the kit are informative and free projects are included
  • Metal sheets come in a variety of sizes and colors—small squares, strips or larger pieces on a roll…in aluminum, brass or copper
  • Lots of cute project ideas on the Walnut Hollow site
  • Metal is soft enough so that the edges are not sharp
  • Plenty of accessories in the line, including different project kits
  • Reasonably priced – the beginner kit I used is $30, but you can get started with a tool, a few tips, a pad and some metal sheets for under $20


  • The paper texture tool (aka “stump”) came unglued after a few minutes of use and started to unravel…but a little gaffer tape fixed it right up
  • The soft metal sheets are fairly fragile…hard to handle without denting them
  • The smoothing tools don’t completely restore the surface
  • Working with the texture plates takes quite a bit of practice (and patience) to get a nice design without the metal slipping around, or tearing, or getting dented in the wrong places

Have you used the Creative Metal™ set by Walnut Hollow? Leave us a comment and let us know!