DIY: Painted, Aged Wood & Viva Ombré

Over the weekend, I bought a cabinet at the thrift store for $25.

Our plan is to convert this to an outdoor ice chest by putting a cooler inside and adding hinges so it opens from the top. In order to hide the cooler, we needed to come up with something to cover the opening in the front of the cabinet. It used to have a vintage Coca Cola sign, but that doesn't really go with our style so I took it out. I'm giving that sign to a friend who is opening up a vintage/furniture resale shop. 

My incredibly cheap and easy solution involved two strips of balsa wood used for wooden models that I found at Michaels. The strips I bought were 3/16 x 3 x 36 in.  The opening was 16 inches wide and 11 inches tall, so two strips could be cut in half to be almost the perfect size. Piece. Of. Cake!

For those wondering how this will hold up in bad weather conditions– I don't intend to find out. We'll probably keep this piece in the garage unless we are having a party or eating on the patio so we can prolong its life. 

I really thought ombré blue wooden slats would be fun, so I decided to try my best to create a weathered look from some brand new balsa wood using some different paint techniques. 

First, the paint choices: Sea Lavender by Martha Stewart, Robins Egg Blue by Craft Smart, Ocean Breeze by Craft Smart and Aqua by Craft Smart

Just like I did for the cedar planks lining my closet, I wiped the paint on with a paper towel as if I was staining the wood. This makes it slightly transparent and gives that "shabby chic" look that I was going for. Of course it would work just as well to coat it thoroughly with a paint brush, but I wanted to see the texture of the wood.

I had marked each plank for the length I needed and essentially painted half of each one before cutting them in half. 

The color was looking a little flat. It needed more dimension so that it would blend better with the weathered grey wood of the cabinet. I used some brown craft paint to wipe on smudges near the edges. The brown really broke up the colors and made it look less pristine. 

The last step was to cut the strips to size and nail them into the frame of the cabinet. I was so happy with how it came out!

So what features do you think we should add to this cabinet to make it into an ice chest? 

I'm thinking the first thing we have to do is figure out how to detach the top so we can add hinges and make it open up like a cooler. We'll try our best to match the hinges to the hardware on the front.
Then I think we need to add a little handle to the top to make it easier to open. Once again, we need to coordinate with the existing hardware. 

Scott wants to add a fold out shelf on one side to give us more space to rest food and drinks on top. I want to add a bottle opener and small towel bar to the other side. 

Can you think of any other stuff we should add while we're at it?

* NCAA Basketball Championship Game! *

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