DIY Stencils and How To Paint a Galvanized French Flower Bucket

November 19, 2014

Today I'm incorporating my Friday Finds: Classic Edition post with
a tutorial on how to paint a galvanized French flower bucket
and how to make your own stencils. When I first found

this tall, oversized, galvanized bucket with copper handles at Goodwill,
I was ecstatic. For all of $2.99 I was able to bring home something 
that meshes so well with my love of all things
rustic-vintage-industrial-French-farmhouse style.
Yes, I actually just said that.

True to form, I didn't know what I was going to use it for. I only
knew that I WOULD use it. It's incredibly tall, measuring 18 inches.
I initially used it to corral my long rolls of wrapping and craft paper.
I also had visions of using it for an umbrella stand. But lately I began
to envision it with some sort of stencil on the side of it,
perhaps serving some grander purpose.

Never having painted anything made of galvanized metal, I turned to
Google for some help. But all I got was confused. That's because there's 
been some debate about the best way to do it, i.e., which paint is best,
whether or not to prime and/or sand first, etc.  Apparently galvanized
metal can be fickle when it comes to having the paint actually
adhere to it. That's because galvanized metal is coated with a
protective layer of zinc. The zinc protects it from rust and corrosion
that can result from exposure to the elements. Personally I prefer
the rust, but that's just me. 

Here are just a few examples of some methods I came up with in my search:

1. Etching primer/latex paint. Etching primer?

2. Vinegar/primer/paint.

3. {Miss Mustard Seed says to use} 
crackle medium/acrylic or latex paint/glaze.
Crackle medium? Glaze?

4. Acrylic latex spray paint.
I pretty much threw up my hands at this point and went
full speed ahead with some of my home made stencils
and acrylic craft paint. I mean, what did I have to lose?

galvanized bucket
clear contact paper
acrylic craft paint
painter's tape
X-acto knife

Here's my homemade "N" stencil, taped to the bucket with painter's tape.
It's really important that you line up your stencils first and make sure
the spacing is right. You can always use store-bought stencils or a Silhouette,
but I prefer to make my own. I got my favorite free alphabet
template from

I use this font for just about all my stenciling projects, but you can
certainly use whatever alphabet font you prefer.

You can see how I used it for my burlap farmhouse table runner and
Once you download the alphabet, you just print out the letters
and/or numbers you need for your project and
trace them onto transparent contact paper.
Here are my printed-out letters and number.

And here is the transparent contact paper I picked
up at Wal-Mart. It comes in a roll.
You need to place your printed-out letter UNDERNEATH the
contact paper so you can see it through the contact paper.
After tracing it, with a self-healing cutting board underneath, 
use an X-acto knife to cut out all the "inner" spaces of the 
letter to create the stencil. 
Here's what the "N" looked like after I traced it onto the contact paper.

And here is my homemade "N" stencil after I cut it out.

And that brings us back to where you tape the stencil onto the bucket
with painter's tape. You could also peel the backing off the contact paper
and stick the stencil right onto your project, but I prefer to tape it
so that I can use the stencil again and again.

Here's the stencil after I painted it in with my black acrylic craft paint.

I continued in this fashion for the "O" and the "5" stencils,
and the result was exactly what I had hoped for.

I had no trouble getting the paint to adhere. If I had wanted less
of a "vintage" look I might have done another coat or two, but
overall I think it looks great. I should note here that I don't intend
to use this bucket outside, so I'm not concerned with what the elements
might do to the paint. I also didn't use any type of primer or sealant.
If you're painting something for outside use you might want to look further
into what type of paint might be best as well as what sealant 
will withstand your weather conditions.  
I loved the look even more when I filled it with some dry hydrangeas,
turning it into what an authentic vintage French flower bucket
might look like.

In the photo below you can see my fall/Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations
still on the foyer table.  As it gets closer to Christmas I can't wait to share
with you what I have planned for this French flower bucket!

But for now I just love how it turned out.

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet?
I know that some people wait until the day after Thanksgiving,
 while others start before. I think I'll be one of those people who
starts a bit early, since I plan on participating in a
Christmas blog hop starting next week.
So be sure and stop by to see some awesome Christmas d├ęcor,
crafts and recipe 
ideas whipped up by me and some
of my talented blog friends! 
Stay in Touch @
Don't miss another
home decor post!


Leave a Comment!

Carolyn Hawkins said...

Pretty cool have an idea as to what to do with mine. Never thought of using contact paper!


Carol TheAnswerIsChocolate said...

You have the BEST Goodwill! $2.99? And as always what you did w/ it...fantabulous!

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Great job and you know I love the hydrangeas too! I've stenciled several galvanized buckets and they always turn out really nice. Most of them have been for sale and since I don't know how people plan on using them, I lightly spray them with a clear acrylic sealer usually in a satin finish. No decorating yet, I'm always late, lol.

Poet, Detachment Mom, and Navy Wife said...

I've always wondered how to make my own stencils!

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

that is fantastic! Both the look and the price.

Betsy@ coastal-colors said...

This is so pretty! The dried Hydrangeas are gorgeous and such a fabulous addition to this bucket! Another great find and update! Thanks for the tutorial!

The Speckled Hen Cottage said...

Great find on the tall can, the stenciling really makes it!!! Thanks for the tutorial, LOL...I just love it when someone else gets the bugs worked out. Very handy to know to use the self-healing mat!!!

Mila Myk said...

Looks awesome.Pinning!

must love junk said...

LOVE this!! :)

The Charm of Home said...

That is really cute! Thanks for sharing!

Diana Petrillo said...

Great tutorial, Kathleen. I'm on vacation in Pittsburgh and just bought a small, oval galvanized tub. Maybe I'll stencil it...

Related Posts with Thumbnails