Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mercantile General Store-Inspired Garden Seed Tray

Well here’s the kind of post I’ve never done before. I just recently finished another chalk paint creation, and it sold before I even had this post written! I gotta say, this is the kind of problem I could get used too…..:) Plain old ordinary flatware tray.

This one had Germany stamped on the bottom. I really like the look of the old general store/mercantile box trays, that they used to sell garden seeds in. The ones I’ve found online have some fabulous graphics on the box labels. So in honor of those gorgeous specimens, I created this……

Fabulous chalk-painted, wooden organizer tray!

I have painstakingly hand-drawn and painted this gem, using the cheery color combination of red, green and warm yellow chalk paints. The green is a custom color I mixed inspired by Jadeite.

The words “Quality Seeds” are painted on the 2 long sides, and the short ends have “New York” and “1862”, for the fictitious company’s city and year it was founded. Why did I use “1862”? Because it’s a century before my birth year….:) Outer borders of the red background are lined in metallic gold. All painted areas have been heavily distressed and sealed with clear and dark wax.

I ebonized the interior and underside wood to give it a wonderful aged and weathered appearance, and has been left unsealed. Ebonizing is something I finally started playing with last Summer, and I’m having way too much fun with the process. You can find loads of tutorials on the web for ebonizing, but it’s not complicated. Just brushing black tea on your wood, letting it dry, then brushing on a vinegar rust solution that literally greys the wood before your eyes!

I had to do a LOT of sanding on this piece to reveal the raw wood. Looks are deceiving on some finished wood pieces, and it was way more sealed than I realized. The ebonizing won’t work unless it’s on the raw wood. You can see that some of the wood on this tray is grey, and some is still a honey-toned wood. I think the uneven tone gave it more aged authenticity. So my beautiful tray was only listed for 1 day, and sold. Ho Hum….NOT! But I am so attached to the general store concept, that I think I must must must continue to paint treasures with that theme. My next piece is a spice cupboard, so I definitely think that theme will work nicely. 
Off I go……


  1. Darling project and no surprise at all that it sold quickly. Ready to see that spice cupboard...

  2. That looks amazing! I don't think I would have been able to let it go. Looking forward to more.

  3. What a fun piece! I'm featuring your tray in this week's PoPP Spotlight.

  4. WOW! What a beautiful piece! I love the green. Just saw you featured on Domestically Speaking :)


What say you?