Today, we’re sharing our DIY French Country Bookends and a super simple painting technique to help you achieve the same look too!
Over the weekend, I was making a joy list and thinking about all the big and little things that truly make me happy. And, I decided one of those things was a good makeover.
I love makeovers.
Like, love them.
I love the anticipation leading up to the reveal, the meantime shopping, the troubleshooting of ideas, the layering of different elements and just the decision to take on a makeover thrills me to no end.
That’s why I also love paint and thrift store treasure hunts because they almost always provide an opportunity for a good before and after.
Such is the case with these French Country bookends.
I don’t want to say someone did a bad DIY job, but this chocolate brown completely hides the best thing about the bookends – the beautiful details.
They had definitely seen better days.
I spotted them while out shopping the loop and Renninger’s with my Mom. She immediately saw the potential too and talked me into getting them.
She’s sneaky like that ?
These French Country Bookends didn’t take very long to create at all. In fact, most of the project time is spent waiting for the paint to dry – it’s that easy.
Here’s a look at how you can use this same technique to create a set of DIY French Country Bookends too…
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DIY French Country Bookend Supplies:
- French Country Style Bookends (These are thrifted but you can create the look with a similar applique style, here)
- Spray Paint in (We used Krylon Spray Paint in Pewter Gray. It was much cheaper at our local craft supply store with a coupon)
- Creamy White Paint (We used Valspar’s Chalky Paint in Quail Egg)
- Dark Furniture Paste Wax (We used Annie Sloan Dark Paste Wax)
- Fine Detail Art Brush (We used 2)
- Wax Brush (similar, here)
- Fine Grit Sandpaper (optional)
- Rub N Buff (optional, we used Antique Gold)
- Canvas Drop Cloth or Tarp
DIY French Country Bookend Steps:
Gather your supplies and lay a tarp down to protect your work surface. Make sure your bookends are completely clean and free from dirt and debris.
Using caution and care, in a well-ventilated area, spray the bookends with your choice of spray paint. We used Krylon Spray Paint in Pewter Gray.
Whenever I’m doing projects like these, I prefer to spray multiple thin coats of paint as opposed to one really thick coat of spray paint.
The biggest thing to remember is you need to allow the paint to completely dry in between coats. Also, don’t forget to consider the temperature outside before you start painting!
You can read our Spray Painting 101 Tips and Tricks post here if you’re new to spray painting or need a refresher.
Accenting the Details
Once the French Country bookends were dry, I used a fine detail art brush to accent the details using Valspar’s Chalky Paint in Quail Egg.
You don’t have to get paint into all the nooks and crannies, and it doesn’t have to be a perfect paint job either.
That’s part of the charm of patinaed pieces.
Keep in mind, if you don’t have extra creamy white paint available or if you don’t feel comfortable layering paint, you can always use a fine detail art brush and Rub N Buff to highlight the details as well.
Layering Dark Paste Wax
Once the paint on the accent detail was completely dried, I applied a coat of Annie Sloan Dark Furniture Paste Wax with a wax brush all over to give the French Country bookends an “aged” look.
Again, pieces don’t “age” at the same rate so you’re not looking for perfect here. You’re looking for perfectly imperfect!
Also, don’t forget to add a small amount of wax to the top of your piece as well.
After you’ve added the dark furniture paste wax, lightly (I mean really lightly) sand the details of the bookends with a fine grit sandpaper.
Sanding pieces like this makes such a subtle difference.
The bookend on the left has been sanded while the bookend on the right still has dark paste wax fully intact.
Adding Antique Gold Rub N Buff
If you want to “age” your French County bookends even further, you can accent the details with a tiny amount of Rub N Buff by using a fine detail art brush.
Since I wanted all the other layers of paint to show, I used a “light-as-a-feather” approach. But honestly, you can be as heavy handed with the Rub N Buff as you want to be.
Keep in mind, the more Rub N Buff you use, the more layers paint and wax you’ll be covering up.
And look at all those layers of goodness, they should be seen and appreciated, right?
I originally bought these French Country bookends to use them on the bookcases in the living room.
Now that I see all the gorgeous detail though, I might use them on the mantel.
That said, I could also easily find a special place for them in the metal shed makeover too.
These DIY French County bookends are so neutral, they could pretty much be used anywhere. So, I’ll keep you posted on where they land.
Since we’re celebrating quick and easy makeovers today, here’s one more look at the DIY French Country Bookends before…
I know! It’s such a huge change! Let us know what quick and easy projects you’re currently working on.
A Few Other Spray Paint Projects You Might Enjoy:
- How to Create Crock Inspired Paint Cans
- Easily Paint and Age a Silver Serving Tray
- French Inspired Flower Pots
- Quick and Easy Vase Makeover
- French Inspired Wall Plaque
- How to Repurpose an Old Fall Wreath