Painted Pail Tutorial

by | Aug 10, 2010 | crafts, Painting & Refinishing, Tutorials | 32 comments

I loved how much my large painted pail turned out, so I went out today and bought several smaller ones to work on.  As promised, here’s a step-by-step tutorial and some other ideas for painting and using these buckets.   
Start with a galvanized metal pail.  I found these on triple clearance at TJ Maxx, but I’m sure you could find some at any craft store.
Apply a sloppy coat of a crackle medium and allow to dry until tacky.  Don’t let it get too dry or it won’t work as well.  Check your perfection at the door with this project.  The gloppier, the better.
Apply a sloppy coat of paint.  I used both latex and acrylic paints in varying shades and allowed them to dry for about ten minutes. 
If you want to add a pattern, like the red cross, stripes, a number, or words, this would be the time.  I made a paper template for the red cross and traced it onto the pail.  I used Frog Tape for the stripes and painted the numbers free hand. 
Once your painted detail is just dry, take a piece of painter’s tape and stick it to the pail, pressing it into the paint and pulling it off.  This will remove some of the paint in patches. 
The last step is to apply a glaze to soften the paint color.  I used Valspar’s Asphaltum glaze, because that’s what I had on hand.  I brushed it on and rubbed it off with a damp paper towel. 
Now, different paints responded differently to the tape paint removal method.  The latex paint in a satin finish works the best.  You can seal the paint, if you prefer, but I think any chips and dings will just add to the aged look of the pail. 
On a few of the pails, I painted simple stripes and added a chalkboard tag. 
I also painted a chalkboard pail to see how that would look.  It took three coats of paint, so I only made one.  Don’t laugh at my rosemary topiary.  I’m still growing it and I just thinned it out.  I know.  It’s sad at the moment.
I have been a paintin’ fool the last few days and I have a babysitter coming for several hours today to give me even more time, so I’ll have a lot of new things to share over the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned…
Miss Mustard Seed


  1. Samantha2818

    Love all the pails – thanks for the tutorial – I can't wait to give it a go.

  2. Bonnie@Creative Decorating

    I just love these!! I am definitely going to try this one! You are so creative!!

  3. bj

    love all these buckets. So so cute..
    Just looking at the "cover the popcorn"…we just scraped ours off and repainted. No problems at all. 🙂

  4. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal

    These turned out great. Love the colors you used. But I'm not seeing the crackle. Now, I haven't used crackle medium for quite some time so maybe is more subtle then it used to be. I have some craft store stuff I guess I could try to see if it works the same. Thanks!

  5. Biljana

    Looks great:))
    I am your newest follower, your blog is absolutely wonderful.I take your button.
    Come to visit me, Greetings from Europe, Biljana

  6. Kristi

    Beeeoootifuuul! I think I'll make one of these for my soon to be beachy master bath! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Cassie

    These are all so cute! I would never have thought to use tape to remove some of the paint!
    Your rosemary plant made me smile.

  8. Pieces of Dreams

    Good Morning, Miss M!

    These are so cute and your tutorial is excellent. I'm going to get busy and make a whole bunch of them….I live at the beach…what could be more perfect. I also have a dresser up on deck that I am going to accent with the sheet music. I love your stuff!!!! Thank you so much, Karen

    PS…From what I can see, I think we use the same glass knobs. Do you get them from CWI? They are pretty cheap thru that company. If you need info, let me know!

  9. Cathy~Mille Fleur

    Absolutely daarling! I love them all!


  10. Ticking and Toile

    very cute!! I've got some sitting on the shelf I need to do something with ~ great idea 🙂


  11. A Quiet Corner

    OMG! I'm definitely doing this project!!! Hugs for thanks…:)

  12. Ms. Bake-it

    I love the colors of your numbered pails! I will save your tutorials so I can make some for my patio when I can finally start on that project.


    ~ Tracy

  13. Molly @ A Bit O' Shine

    What a neat trick using that painter's tape! All of your buckets turned out beautifully! I'm thinking I may need a "napkins" bucket for my kitchen!

    And I won't laugh at your rosemary…although I was really tempted to. 😉

    Lovie and Boo giveaway! Come join in the fun!

  14. Funky Junk Interiors

    I LOVE this tutorial! Aren't you a smart one to think of the crackle medium first!! Great great tip. LOVE the chalkboard one, cool idea to do the whole can in the medium rather than just a tag.

    And THANK-YOU for mentioning your sitter you need. I've been scratching my head wondering how you do as much as you do with two kiddos in tow constantly. My son alongside me halts a whole lotta projects.


  15. Lisa

    Great little buckets! Wonderful for all kinds of uses. I really love the colours you chose.

  16. Teri

    Lovely! Thank you for the tutorial. 🙂

  17. Courtney @ A Diamond in the Stuff

    I love the pails! I noticed the bakelite and that reminded me that I saw a TON of bakelite flatware at an Antique store the other day. Even a meat fork! LOL Made me think of you!

  18. Dreamy Whites

    Hello Marian,
    How are you?
    Thank you for sharing this tutorial with us!
    You are so talented and so creative.
    Hope you are having a great week!

  19. Dreamy Whites


  20. Theresa

    Thank you so much for this! I love how all of your pails are coming out! Theresa

  21. Kim @ Cheap Chic Home

    Check. I have everything but the galvanized pail. Thanks, Marian!

  22. TheVirginiaHouse

    Those are so cute. thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Christie

    Oh! I love these! I bought three of these little tin buckets from the Maxx that had the ages of my children on the little tags! I think I might have to repurpose them now! I am a new fan of yours and am amazed at how you are able to do all that you do and still work with youth and be a pastor's wife, etc…My goal is to show beauty to my children in a world that shows such ugliness…my blog has been such a great outlet for that quest! I have so enjoyed seeing all the beauty that you create! Thanks for your wonderful site! three pixie lane

  24. Restyled Vintage

    Thanks for that Marian, I might have to try some of these! A question for you…why didn't the paint crackle if you used crackle medium under the paint? Or did it and am I just not seeing it? I have had some in my 'kit' for years and can you beleive I have never used it!


  25. Ratty Hugs

    I adore your little rosemary plant. It reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
    Thanks for the tute on the pails, very useful.

  26. freckled laundry

    LOVE this tutorial. Thanks for sharing how you get the chippy letters the easy way. Stop by sometime!



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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