Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Steel Tub Toy Bin

During the holiday season, who doesn't need additional toy storage?

I knew that Scarlett's toys would be completely out of control come Christmas.  Sure enough, Christmas came and went, leaving my house looking like a toy store exploded inside of it.  With three kids, you need all the organization you can get.

     I've seen random toy boxes made out of steel bins before that were decoupaged, bedazzled, etc... but I wanted to try doing my own thing and then blog about it.

Here is Scarlett's steel toy bin-

Steel tub or bin-  I found mine at Ace Hardware. 
Two cans of spray paint, different colors*- (I used Rustoleum Painters Touch 2x Coverage in Satin Green Apple and Rustoleum American Accents Smooth Satin Finish in Sweet Pea.  Whatever you use, make sure it works with metal.)
Can of Clear Gloss-  I used Ace Premium Enamel Clear Gloss  (Very Fast Drying Formula, works with metal)
Letters and/or designs for labeling or embellishing**
Paper or tarp
Painter's tape***

*  As far as the paint is concerned, this stuff stuck SUPER well.  I did not use or need a primer.  The surface of my steel tub was irregular and rough and the paint had no problem adhering.  If you have a smooth metal tub, you may want to consider buying a can of metal primer.

** My letters and scrolls were made using a Silhouette Cameo.  (A cutting machine.)  You can also purchase pre-made sticker letters and embellishments at craft stores such as Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, or Michael's or even handpaint if you'd like!

***  Painter's tape is totally optional.  I did not use it, but it can be used to protect the paint job on the lip of the steel bin once it is inverted for painting the outside.  Good option, but not absolutely necessary.

Step One- Take everything outside when you have a nice, clear day. 
No wind, no rain... nice and sunny with great temps.
Check your paint cans to see acceptable temperature range.

    Paint a thin coat on the inside of your bin, taking care to cover the upper lip at the top.

Only paint a thin layer on this step. 
Your second coat will cover up any metal you may see at this stage.
Step Two-  Once your first coat of inner paint is dry, add another thin coat to completely cover up any metal spots.... taking care to cover the upper lip of the bin.  Wait until completely dry before starting Step Three.

Step Three- Put your paper or tarp down on a completely flat surface and invert your tub so the bottom is up.  You are going to paint the outside.  If you wish, you can first protect the top lip (which is now touching the ground) by covering it all around with Painter's tape.  Put on a light coat of paint and wait for it to dry.
First coat of paint. 
It's okay if you see metal through this coat.  You'll cover it with the second.

Step Four-  Paint your second thin coat on the outside.  Be sure to spray the handles too!  You'll have to wiggle them around and flip them up to ensure that you get them completely.  Let dry.

Now you should have this:
Step Five- Now it's time to add your labels and embellishments.  I used adhesive-back vinyl cut on a Silhouette machine to embellish my bin, but as I said before, stickers and/or handpainting works just fine as well.

Step Six-  Once you're done embellishing, it's time to seal your entire bin with a clear gloss coat.  This will protect your work (and ensure little fingers don't pull off your stickers or mess up your hard work).
Wait for your clear gloss coat to dry COMPLETELY before putting it to use.  Refer to the back of your can for curing time. 

Then, enjoy!


  1. Thanks! It was incredibly easy to do. The hardest part was applying the vinyl sticker scrolls, but even that only took about 5 minutes. Easy peasy. :)