Vintage Junk and My Upcycle Plan!!

Guilty as charged! I am THAT junker! The one who buys and buys and buys, has a garage full of project pieces, and no where to work on them!! Please tell me I am not alone. I call it a gift! I see great potential in everything! Is it free? Is it on the side of the road? Well, I can’t leave it, even if I don’t have room in the garage for it. Don’t ask me how many antique couches I have that need reupholstering!

So, when we set out a couple weeks ago on our Rusted Routes adventure on the World’s Longest Yard Sale, I was focused! I could only buy things that I had a specific plan for. I wasn’t buying to resell. I wasn’t buying because it was cheap. I was only buying if I loved it and had an idea of how I could use it in our house!! Surprisingly, I stuck to my plan!!

Vintage Junk with Upcycle Plans #RustedRoots

Antique Pantry Door

One of the first things I bought was this antique pantry door. I knew right away what I wanted to do with it. We need a cabinet for storing our cleaning supplies! My vision is to build a tall-ish cabinet that will stand on the ground… maybe some groovy legs to give her some height… and this old pantry door will grace the front! I will likely paint it, since I will probably use new wood to build the cabinet. The hardware is original, so I will remove it for the painting process and then put it back on! I’m excited about this one!

Antique Door & Heat Register #RustedRoots

Antique Heat Registers

I scored two heat register on the route… a large one pictured above and a smaller one pictured below. I envision these as wall art. I am going to try to find (or perhaps make) a picture frame that is the same size as the smaller register. Then place them in a collage on the wall! To paint or not to paint?? That is the question!

Antique Baseboard

Beside the smaller heat register below is a piece of old molding from an early 1900’s house! They don’t make it that wide anymore! I have been wanting to makeover our bathroom for quite some time. When I saw this I immediately thought, paint it, add hooks, instant towel holder. So, that’s the plan for now, if I don’t snag it for something else before then!

Antique Wood Molding #RustedRoots

Old Barrel Cage

I had no idea what this was when I spotted it at a Kentucky sale. I knew it appeared to be some sort of cage. The owner said his son used it to train his beagle. All I knew was it looked like a pendant light to me!! And that took no imagination! The cage is huge! It will make such an amazing statement piece. And for $6, well, you just can’t beat that!

The rusty ‘B’ below is part of a set… we’ll get to that in a sec!! And the wooden birdhouse to the right was a little surprise for my mom! She loves a good birdhouse, bird feeder, or butterfly bush! Hmmm… maybe she needs the letter ‘B’!

Upcycle Pendant Light from Old Cage #RustedRoots

Rusty Metal Letters

And here’s the set… C&B. Candace and Bill. I know these aren’t vintage. They are repros from Mexico,  but I’ve been wanting some for a while, just couldn’t decide what I wanted. I bet you I stood in that booth for an hour! First it was an ‘H’ monogram, then it was a couple different words, then I settled on the first letter of our names! And I knew where I wanted to put them… in our bedroom! We are planning to build a new bed… a rustic one! And I want to hang these on the wall above the headboard!

Rusty Metal Letters #RustedRoots

Old Radiator Fans

Three of them to be exact! The way they sat on the ground at a sale in Georgia, it was like they were flowers sprouting from the ground. Talk about Rusted Roots! So, whether I layer the three of them and hang them on the wall or split them up. I think they look like beautiful flowers… and I plan to display them as such!!

Industrial Steel Drawers

My vision for these is clear… I just hope the execution of the idea is just as easy. I want to take some old spindles, cut them in half and use them as legs on the bottom of a drawer. Then attach the other half of the spindle inside the drawer and layer the second drawer on top. Make sense? The only problem… these drawers weigh a ton! So I’m not sure how it will hold up. If all goes well, I’d like to use them in the garage to house some of my small bits of rusty junk and jiblets of scrap wood. As long as the spindles are stout, I think I’ll be okay!

Rusty Radiator Fans #RustedRoots


Vintage Locker Basket

No upcycling needed for this beauty! She’s perfect just the way she is! However… if I happened to build a little side table and want to use her as a drawer in the table, then I could build the piece custom to the basket. Then I could slide her right in and she’d be snug as a bug. But for now, she’ll just sit on a shelf and house whatever junk happens to land that way! You can never have too many baskets!!

Antique Wooden Shoe Molds

My wooden shoe molds are something else that I don’t plan to really upcycle. But, I do have an out-of-this-world plan for displaying my collection! I think I am up to about 15 now. I should count them all. But you know what, some ideas I just can’t leak. I’ve never seen it before and I want to knock it out of the park for you guys and gals, so you’ll have to just stay tuned for that one!!


Vintage Locker Basket #RustedRoots

Old Metal Toolbox

I’m sure you noticed the metal toolbox above… isn’t that color to die for?! She’s another one that I’ll probably use for storage. When I first found her, I immediatly thought… oh, I’ll use it for nails or screws in the garage. But the more I look at her, I don’t want her to live out in the garage. It’s cold out there in the winter and hot in the summer. She deserves better than that! So, I may just clean her up and put some makeup or hair accessories inside!

Rusty Old Scissors

These old scissors I picked up all along the 127 route… it’s a collection in and of itself, from three different states. My plan for these, is to mount them to a piece of old barn wood and display them in our craft room/office! Cute, right?? It’s simple. But it keeps these rusty gems out of the landfill and gives me some awesome artwork for about $5!!

Vintage Blue Tool Box #RustedRoots

Antique Wooden Stool

No upcycle needed here… not even a drop of paint! I couldn’t bare to cover up the aged patina of this old stool! It came out of an old shoe store and I love it just the way it is! It will be some great extra seating come the holidays!!

Antique Wooden Stool #RustedRoots

Vintage Cowgirl Boots

And those boots! Oh… those boots! I had been hoping that I would come across some old boots somewhere along the route! And was so excited when I found these and they fit!! The plan for these boots? Wear them. And wear them proud… as I hit the road to find more vintage junk!!

Vintage Cowgirl Boots #RustedRoots

 So, that’s it! I did good, right?! I stuck to my plan and came home with only what I set out to find! Nothing without a plan or a purpose! And lots of fun junk! Wanna go junkin’ with me? Like realllly with me? We’ll be meeting up with a group of junkers in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area next month for a day trip of junkin’!! Be sure to sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss out!! And when we’ll be junkin’ in your area!!

Vintage Junk Haul #RustedRoots

Like some of these ideas?? Pin it!! Or share it on Facebook to save it to your timeline!!

Vintage Junk with Upcycle Plans #RustedRoots

Until next time, let us remember..

Beauty Stems from Rusted Roots

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  1. Mary Nell Snoddy says:

    Love, love, love your ideas! All are good finds and I’m jealous. Next year, I’m traveling that route; although there is one coming up in September in West Tennessee…
    Just because I’m such a fan, you should check out this man’s Facebook page: Twisted Mind Rusty Metal and see some of the things he does with old rusty metal things.

    • Oh, thanks, Mary! You will love travelling the route! It was by far one of my favorite experiences!! So much to see and so many great stories to hear! If only West Tennessee wasn’t so far from us, we may do that one too! Ha ha!! I’ll have to check out the Twisted Mind Rusty Metal site… thanks for sharing!! So happy to chat with you!! Hope to do it again, soon!!

    • Terri Stewart says:

      Mary where and when is this one in Tennessee happening? We will be moving to NC around the middle and would love to stop along the route maybe if we are near.
      Thanks for the info, Terri

  2. Terri Stewart says:

    Candace, I love all your finds and all your ideas are great of course. Love following your blog and seeing what is next. We are moving to Asheville NC but am able to come visit your shop. Where are you located. Would love to see it all.
    Thank you, Terri

  3. Mary Nell Snoddy says:

    It’s Labor Day weekend and starts at Camden, Tennessee. I’ll look for my flyer and get back to you on that.

  4. Enjoyed your blogs on your trip. I have the same idea for some scissors I have found. My friends and I are planning a trip next year to 127 yard sale. You have some great finds.

  5. Garnet Fowler says:

    You are not alone…I have things (projects) stashed on my porch, in my dining room, in the walk-in attic and the shed outside. Now if I could just arrange for a 26 hour day and an 8 day week perhaps I could get something done. I like your ideas and share the thought we must say “enough” at some point. But it is hard. Thanks for the newsy news…and the great ideas.

  6. when u going to be in the St. Louis MO area?? I want to come!

  7. Love all the good stuff you found and your ideas. I must admit though, my first thought when I saw the fan blades was hugs and kisses 🙂 xox
    All you needed was something rustic in the shape of an “O”

    • That’s a cute idea, Laura!! I’ll have to find me some O’s!! I think I have some old rusty wheels that would do the trick!! Thanks for sharing!! Keep in touch!! 🙂

  8. Saw your stuff on Pinterest. I love it all. There was a booth at one of your markets in 2015 it says. It was pressed soda bottle glass on a piece of wood with faucets coming out of the top of it. So it looks like a vase with flowers so neat. I was wondering if you had any information who’s booth that was I would love to order quite a few of them. Thank you so much.

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