The Shadowbox restoration

Half of the room is finished.
I had started by cleaning whatever parts of the wood I could with vinegar.
I discovered that it was covered with a stain, that started coming off together with the decades worth of dirt, so I had to decide what I could clean and what should be left pretty much alone.
The stain and painted lines that made up the boards on the back wall tended to wash off easily with a little scrubbing, as I learned while trying to remove the glue that was behind the picture in the doorway. While trying to clean off the glue that held the horseshoe, I inadvertantly removed much of the stain. I tinted the area a little before gluing the horseshow back on, and before I'm done I'll retint to even out the color better.
I've received 2 messages from readers that the horseshoe should be facing upwards, so the luck wouldn't run out.
Well, I knew about that, but decided to replace the horseshoe in its original position.
This side is finished. The original glue turned out to be water soluble, but since scrubbing also removed the stain, I recided to just wet the glue, then scrape it off with a knife blade. Two or three wettings and scrapings were usually enough to remove most of the glue. Some of the glue I left alone, rather than run the risk of damaging the surface.
I could tell from glue residue, that some of the original pieces were missing. Of the items that had been added in my childhood, I chose to keep the 2 plastic barrels, the comb, and the black barrel, which I repainted olive green.
Also, rather than set the accessories in place with a liquid glue, I decided to use glue dots. By the way, although the plastic barrels on the top shelf look almost white in the picture, in real life they're a darker gray and blend in better. They were another reason for using glue dots. If at some point, I decided I wanted to swap them for wooden accessories, the glue dots should be easier to remove.
I had mentioned I had a leftover lid, and no pot to put it on. I found that it fit the top of the bowl nicely. I put some white poster putty in the bowl, the lid on top and squeezed tight til the lid was firmly in place.
I still had some space to fill, so I turned to some unpainted wooden pieces I had purchased at a craft shop.

They're on the second shelf. The original pieces were painted with oil paints. For a while I wondered if I should get out my oil paints and freshen them up a bit, but I decided against it. Instead I selected some acrylic colors that would blend with the other pieces. To age the fresh paint I used my oil pastel crayons. I rubbed my finger on the brown crayon, then rubbed some of the color onto the freshly painted bowl, and then did the same thing with the black crayon. Most people don't happen to have oil pastels in the house, but a piece of charcoal, or some ashes should work the same way. Try rubbing your finger on the charcoal briquet, or charcoal drawing stick, then on the thing you want to age.
After being aged, the item needs to be sprayed with a protective covering, or the dirt and age could come off. I sprayed mine with Krylon matte finish. I've found over the years, that though the product dulls down a shiny photograph, which is what it was originally meant for, it leaves a very soft sheen when sprayed on wooden painted items. This sheen matched the old plates, etc, perfectly,
I nested a small red bowl within the ochre bowl with a glue dot. Next to the bowls stands a bottle I painted olive green.
Finally, I thought I needed a little something else. I remembered that the ad for the other room had a broom, so I made one and stuck it in the corner.

The restored shadow box


  1. Your little wooden bowls are so pretty! I've never seen any like them. Thanks for the tip about Krylon matte finish. I may have to try it.
    I want to get some pastels too. I read somewhere that you can color poly clay with it...
    I'm enjoying your blog!
    Blessings, Kathi

  2. Wow - it is come out beautifully - grime free and fresh looking without losing the appeal and charm. You must be very proud of your work, and I am sure you mother would have been impressed too.

  3. the fireplace is very impressive! and I like the pot of food hanging over it. The whole room looks inviting!

    Julie Old Crow

  4. Le ha quedado la escena preciosa. Los cuencos son muy bonitos, y gracias por las explicaciones