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Faux Enamelware Milk Pail Makeover

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Enamelware is such a classic look - and it's really so easy to DIY yourself some faux enamelware using old pails or buckets.

Enamelware pitchers, pots, pails and other cooking utensils have been around since the mid-1700s. 

Demand for an enamel or porcelain coating for pots, pans and utensils to prevent rust led to enamel-lined metal cookware first in Germany and then Scandinavia. 

Their popularity grew and eventually spread to the United States by the mid-1800s where enamelware was mass-produced up through the early 1930s.  Popular colors originally were cream and white with navy blue, black or green trim.

By the 1930s though, other cookware choices including aluminum, stainless steel, Pyrex and plastic became widely available, causing enamel to lose popularity. 

I love the vintage look of enamelware and love its history. I have seen some really neat retro and vintage enamelware milk pails on pinterest, so when I found this sad-looking pail in our barn, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

Faux Enamelware Milk Pail Makeover

What you Need |

Old metal pail, bucket or other type of container
White spray paint
Black acrylic paint
Letter template
Carbon tracing paper
Small paintbrush
Black spray paint
Clear polyurethane

First, of course, I needed to wash the pail off and bang out the dents with a rubber mallet. 

Then I found some primer and white spray paint in the garage and gave the outside and handle a coat of each. I used Valspar All Purpose Primer and Valspar Outdoor Color. Then I set the pail to dry completely.

Now for the fun part.  Using Word, I found a font I liked and printed out the text I was going to paint on the pail, sizing it to fit the front of the pail.

For curved text, I cut out each word individually and then snipped in between each letter, leaving them all connected at the bottom. Then I just arced the text, folding the paper at the bottom to hold the letters in the arc-shape.  

I placed the words where they would go on the bucket and made a pencil mark at each corner of each word on the pail. Then I cut a piece of carbon paper the size of each word and lined up each word with the pencil marks, outlined the letters and transferred them to the pail.

Then, using a small paintbrush, I painted the text. I used a black indoor/outdoor acrylic paint for the letters and also the rim of the pail.  I spray painted the handle with black outdoor spray paint. 

I left the inside of the pail untouched, unlike traditional enamelware which usually was enameled on the inside and outside.

A light coat of clear polyurethane and my milk pail turned egg pail was done! 

I'm pretty happy with the results...and you just can't beat a project that doesn't cost you a penny!

Ooops...I forgot to show you the back!

I don't know anything about the pail's history, but would love if someone could enlighten me. Here's what it says on the bottom.

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