When I organized the basement storage room, I made a use-it-or-lose-it pile. I have been holding onto some decor pieces since before we moved and if they’ve been in a box, closet, or basement for 4+ years, then it’s time to either find a good spot for it or let it go. The whole point of decor pieces is to be decorative! They are not doing anyone any good if they are in a storage room. Making some self-imposed rules and boundaries can sometimes sound silly, but they can be very helpful if you’re willing to be bossy and firm with yourself. Creating this use-it-or-lose-it rule finally gave me the push to give these vintage painted klompen shoes a makeover.
The small pair is a souvenir pair that we picked up somewhere…I’m not even sure where or when. I just remember having them since I was a girl. I would put them on my cabbage patch dolls! The larger pair were ones my parents bought for me from Holland. I actually used to wear them to school as my “indoor school shoes.” We lived in the Bavarian Alps when I was in kindergarten and first grade and we walked to school. During the winter, we would wear snow boots to school and would change into “indoor school shoes” when we got there. For most kids, that meant slippers. For me, it meant a pair of painted klompen shoes. Because I was cool like that. I was actually dorky like that, but let’s move on…
I really wanted to keep and use these in some way, but the current look of both pairs of klompen weren’t really working with my aesthetic. I would actually use them if they were. So, my best option was to paint them.
I started out by giving the painted pair a light sanding to remove the gloss, which helps paint grip the surface a little easier. I used 80 grit paper.
…and it ended up taking two quick coats to get good coverage over the old decorative painting.
I painted the smaller pair in Dix Blue, which is such a beautiful blue/green.
I distressed the smaller shoes with 100 grit sandpaper to take the “newness” off of the paint. When distressing, I focus on the areas where the most wear would naturally happen.
I decided they needed just one more step to look finished. I ended up using Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax to bring out the little carved details, stained the exposed raw wood, and make the paint look a little more aged.
I just brushed it on with a little natural brush and wiped away the excess with a microfiber cloth.
It really was the perfect combination for these little painted klompen shoes!
For the larger pair of painted klompen shoes, they looked a little plain, so I decided to add some traditional decorative painting. I mixed up a little bit of Titanium White and Titan Buff acrylic paint to make a soft, creamy white. Acrylic is a great paint for decorative painting, because it has good body and dries quickly.
I chalked out a design and then painted over it with acrylic paint and a small round brush.
I then distressed those shoes to knock the paint back a bit. Distressing can hide many imperfections when it comes to painted details! Since I did these freehand without using tape or templates, it needed a little camouflage! I like that these painted klompen shoes look a little homemade, though, and the distressing brings out the edges of the carving a little bit more. I personally find those “maker’s marks” charming.
And they look so cute hanging in a little row with a couple of pairs of carved and painted klompen shoes I purchased off of Etsy.
They are a great way to add some visual interest and personality to a little strip of wall in the foyer.
I’ve become more passionate about using original and unique art in my home over the past few years. Original art doesn’t have to be a painting. It really can be anything you can hang on the wall! In this case, it’s vintage painted (and carved) klompen shoes.
For those interested in creating a similar look, I found some carved, raw wood, and painted klompen shoes that I thought would be a nice start (or addition) to a collection…