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DIY French Country Bookends

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…

and after…

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:

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Isn’t it amazing how people throw these things away because maybe they don’t like the colour anymore? You did a fab job of these, lucky you’ve got a sneaky mother 😉

    1. ha ha I know, Jayne! I was so close to just passing them up at first even though I knew they could be fixed. My Mom is always looking out for me which is a super sweet blessing. Big hugs, CoCo

  2. Seriously? That brown! Just why? They look amazing now… like night and day 🙂

    1. ha ha thank you Cynthia! I was thinking the same thing when I saw that crazy chocolate brown diy on the bookends. I’m definitely glad we were able to give them a new lease on life 🙂 Hope your day has been a happy one, CoCo

  3. You were definitely lucky to find such treasures and what an absolutely GORGEOUS transformation. I just the love how you highlighted the detail and that color you chose!

    1. Thank you so much, Christine! They were such a fun and inexpensive find. My Mom is always fun to shop with because she talks me into all kinds of things 🙂 I hope I can find a special spot for them. Big hugs, CoCo

  4. Teddee Grace says:

    Amazing! You certainly not only gave these a new life, but brought out their best characteristics!

    1. That’s such a sweet and thoughtful thing to say, Teddee Grace, thank you so much! I hope you’ve had a fabulous weekend, CoCo

  5. Those are just BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! Nicely done!! Never find such pretty pieces when I go to thrift stores.

    1. Thank you so much, Mary, they were definitely a fun find! I can’t say I always come away with goodies like these bookends either but I’m thankful when I do. It’s what keeps me on the treasure trail 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great weekend, CoCo

  6. I love the new look. Well done! Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ’s

    1. I really appreciate it, Ann, thanks so much! Hope your weekend was a fun one, CoCo

  7. The after colour theme is so much more chic (and practical) than the before! I can see how the detail has been subtly but clearly highlighted – just gorgeous, CoCo! And I must say, I love the idea of a joy list – I am going to put one together right now (my 20 for 2020 list which I put together early this year has so many things on it which are not possible right now, it’s nearly useless)!

    1. I really appreciate it, Katerina, thank you so much! This was definitely a fun project to rescue and refresh. I know just what you mean about 2020. It’s been nothing like I thought it would be for sure. Making a joy list has really helped as has creating a 2020 Time Capsule 🙂 Sending you hugs! Hang in there, CoCo

  8. What a beautiful makeover CoCo! I really miss getting out to go junkin and thrifting. Maybe you can send the leftovers you don’t want. LOL! I’m excited to share your post this week on the Tuesday Turn About Link Party. Hope to see you there!

    1. You are so sweet, Michelle, thank you so much for the feature! Could you believe the chocolate brown color they were before? Yikes! I’m so thankful we were able to save them. The COVID cases in Florida are going back up so I’m beyond thankful to have had some extra time treasure hunting with my Mom. I miss it so much and I would love to shop with you any day of the week 🙂 Hugs and thank yous, CoCo

  9. Coco, What a great tutorial! I am saving this because I never thought to find bookends and re-paint them. You are such an inspiration! thank you for sharing.

    1. Such a sweet and thoughtful compliment, Mary, thank you so much. I hope you’ll be able to use it and find some pretty bookends too. These were a steal at $4.99 but those are the kinds of prices that keep us on the treasure trail 🙂 Hope your day has been a happy one, CoCo

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