Decorating with Antique and Vintage Garden Tools
Decorating with Antique and Vintage Gardening Tools
Perhaps you have an old watering can, an antique garden hoe, or vintage garden tools inherited from your parents or grandparents. Or you're walking your dog late at night and find a neighbor has placed a whole bunch of rusty garden tools out for the trash. Their intriguing shapes, interesting patina and variety of colors make antique and vintage gardening tools perfect for vintage chic-style decorating or Shabby Chic (R) decorating. If you love gardening, bring a bit of your love for the garden indoors by using antique and vintage gardening tools and accessories as decorative items. Like old furniture and old dishes, you can breathe a second life into them.
Watering Cans and Pails
Antique watering cans and vintage pails, such as the old metal pails once sold as powder detergent containers before the advent of cardboard packaging, make great indoor and outdoor decorating items. Use them to hold cut flowers if the bottoms aren't rusted out; fill with water, place on a trivet, coaster or plastic mat, and fill with gladiolus, forsythia branches or other long, large and striking blossoms. Use a flower frog or floral foam and insert good-quality silk flowers to make an attractive arrangement.
You can also use old watering cans and vintage pails outdoors. Either leave them in their current patina, whatever that may be, or spray paint into beautiful colors using a paint specifically made for spraying metal. Be sure to follow spray paint directions and spray outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Fill with soil and add your favorite flowers, or insert a plastic pot already planted with flowers into the container.
Antique and Vintage Gardening Tools
Many people collect antique kitchen implements and love displaying them in their kitchens; antique garden tools make similarly attractive arrangements. Old shears, hoe heads and specific tools such as asparagus cutters and bulb planters can be arranged and hung on a wall to form a sculptural addition to a room. If you're worried about rust marring your painted walls, you can spray a clear coat over the tools; this should (but may not entirely) prevent rust stains. Another method is to mount the antique tools on a wooden board stained or painted to match your décor, then hang the board like a picture on the wall.
Many people enjoy displaying larger antique and vintage garden tools outdoors, hanging them on the side of a garage, barn or garden shed. Hang pitchforks, rakes, old haying forks and other large implements outdoors.
Five Ideas for Decorating with Antique and Vintage Tools
Here are five ideas for decorating with antique and vintage gardening tools:
- Hang a large, striking piece on a wall by itself
- Group similar objects together, such as an assortment of trowels or weeding forks
- Paint them bright, primary colors and hang different tools together
- Glue silk flowers to the handles and make a country craft out of them
- Use containers such as watering cans to hold flower arrangements
Gardening Using Vintage Tools
Farming and gardening tools from yesteryear are often quite specialized, and it may take some sleuthing to discover the original use of an oddly-shaped tool you pick up at an auction, flea market, estate sale or yard sale. There were tools made for a single purpose, such as an asparagus cutter, and tools made for heavy-duty farm use, such as hay rakes. Look at old farm journals and antique source books to identify tools.
You can still use antique and vintage tools in the garden, provided you take special care of them. Be sure to wipe them down with a rag after use and always store them indoors in a gardening shed, garage or other enclosed area. Moisture forms rust, and rust destroys vintage and antique tools. Many also have wooden handles that rot when exposed to water.
Antique and vintage gardening tools offer many possibilities for gardeners and collectors alike. They're often inexpensive too, making them an affordable collectible for most people. If you love to garden, add antique tools to your indoor or outdoor decor today.
© 2011 Jeanne Grunert
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