Washing Machine Planter

Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors is asking us for junk this week! She is the Queen of junk, for sure, if you've never visited her blog, you are missing out BIG time.  Her transformations are awemazing.  It took me a looooooong time to de-junk this this little beauty...

Oh my.  This project has been a seven year "should I or shouldn't I dilemma" for me.  Believe it or not, we found this antique washing machine in one of the sheds when we purchased our acreage.  I didn't know what to do with it other than to clean her up and bring her in the house, which I did, but holy smokes, she was a rusty eyesore. Everybody kept telling me, "don't refinish it, you'll ruin the value".

So, I didn't do anything with her, except wonder what it must have been like in the early 1900's to actually have to wash clothes with this thing.  Wouldn't you know it?  In Suzi Barnes' book, Silk Stocking Row, which you can learn all about at her blog of the same name, I found a picture so I wouldn't have to wonder any more.  (I hadn't imagined, however, that it would be quite as pleasant as portrayed!)

When I got tired of looking at her in the house, I moved her outside on the deck, but that wasn't doing anything for me out there either.  I thought she'd look pretty with flowers, but it was impossible to set a planter on her because of all that heavy metal everywhere.

(Note to self - take a closeup picture next time instead of enlarging and distorting)

So, I made a decision.  I knew I would never part with her, so keeping the original form really wasn't that important.  I was more interested in making her last another ninety-five years... check out the patent date!

And... I wanted to adorn her with flowers.  So, I set about taking off the heavy metal.  I was able to relieve her of about three rusty bolts and I couldn't budge the rest.  I asked for help from the husband.  He got the metal off all right, but here's what he left me with!

Oh my gosh.  I will spare you the tale of splinters and bruises and how many times I hit my finger with the hammer to get her all put back together.  But I did it.  All by myself!

Then I went to the local hardware store and purchased a gallon of Marine Varnish.  As soon as I opened the can, I knew my project was not going to turn out the way I envisioned.  The varnish itself is very dark in color and I knew it was going to really darken the wood, and it sure did.


It made quite a drastic difference in the color, but once I had given it two coats, I can't say I was disappointed with the transformation.

The next step was to figure out how to put flowers in the tub.  Since the bottom of the tub was too damaged by warp to set anything inside of it, I used my trusty old chicken wire to fashion a basket.

After that, I simply lined the chicken wire with burlap, wrapped it around the edges and planted my flowers.


And so it was that little Miss Washing Machine was transformed, from this....

to this!

It was a great deal of work, but I am glad that I decided to extend her life.  I think we're both happier now.

I'm also linking this project up with Prior Lives Party AND Bobbypins Boardwalk Bragfest !  I hope you'll visit both of these blogs and check out the wonderful things they have to offer plus the other projects they are so kind to share.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

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  1. I've been waiting to see "Little Miss Washing Machine" transformed....The wait was well worth it! I love it. The burlap is a nice touch and oh my gosh! What a view you have... It just goes on and on! Thank you so much for joining my party. I know everyone will enjoy seeing this! Lezlee

  2. Oh Coleen!

    Super fantastic! I love the darkened wood, the burlap...she turned out purdy!

    and you thought he killed her. No, she didn't die in vain...she looks renewed and refreshed.

    I agree with Lezlee-- great view!

  3. Coleen... I love this antique treasure you found... can't believe it came with the house ((bonus)). I loved your story behind it... and about spit my coffee out when I read how pleasant the picture showed it's use!! LOL! That was funny!

    You did a great job with it!


  4. Coleen, so cool! I thought I was following you, but when I came by to visit, I saw I wasn't -- no wonder I hadn't seen this post. You are the sweetest thing. Thank you for visiting me so often, and I'm so glad that now I'll be checking on you each day too!

  5. Ahhhh...luv this idea and it looks outstanding!


  6. So glad you decided to link this project. I love it!

  7. That turned out so cool! I think the new finish gave it new life, it is industrial chic now! That looks like way more work than any of my 'found' planters took, kudos to you and the hubby, you saved a treasure and made it your own! Thanks for stopping by, Theresa

  8. This makes a wonderful planter! Great job and vision.
    thanks for visiting my blog

  9. That is so cool! I love how it turned out. It's really nice.

  10. That turned out gorgeous!! I love the darkened wood. So pretty. Good job.

  11. You did a wonderful job repurposing that piece. It looks wonderful on your deck. I like the darker wood too, it added a richness to the piece.

  12. Remarkable! I liked it before but I like it equally after too! I had to LOL at what transpired in between! Bet you're glad you did all that work now!

    Thanks for linking up to SNS!
    FJ Donna

  13. Hi! I came over via Funky Junk Interiors's SNS party. I'm loving your little Miss Washing Machine transformation!! It looks beautiful filled with perfect for your deck! You did a great job!! :) ~ Jo

  14. Amazing and inspiring!

  15. Definitely one of the most unusual and wonderful planter projects I've seen. Love the new look and your cleverness!

  16. Oh thanks for stopping in to my blog..I just love new company!!

    Ok--this has got to be the coolest thing ever! That was an understaking for sure. I would have admired that old girl--but never known what to do with her. I think it looks just fabulous!

  17. Oh she is a beauty. What a wonderful transformation.

  18. Coleen!
    You were featured At Donna's FJI...SNS- Yay!

    That is soo cool! I already posted how much I liked this project of your's ...but I'll say it again SUPER FANTASTIC!

  19. Hi Coleen~ this project turned out so beautifully! And it looks lovely on your porch! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your nice comments! I've enjoyed stopping by your blog, too, and am looking forward to reading more...I am a new follower!

  20. Well, maybe you need to start your own show!

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