Introduction: Upcycle a Toboggan Into Cheerful Xmas Decor!
Some people dream of a white Christmas. That’s usually not a problem in Canada! However, I prefer a colourful one, Canadian style, with Christmas decor done up in Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket Stripes!
I’m the first to admit that I’m crazy about these stripes, as you may have seen in our previous post on Instructables on How to Paint Perfect Stripes. Nothing could be more iconically Canadian to celebrate the season, eh?!
- Sleigh Rides stencil
- Bennett lint free micro rollers
- 3″ china bristle paint brush for dry brushing
- Twisted cotton rope
- Paint: indigo blue, yellow, red, green and white. We used left over PPG Break-Through paint
- Vice grips
- Staple remover or pry bar
- 50/50 water & vinegar for cleaning in a spray bottle
- Varathane Diamond Wood Finish – Matte
- Matte D-ring picture hangers
- Picture hanging wire
- Countersink bit
- Screws (#6)
- 1/8″ plywood for reversible sign
- Method All Purpose Cleaner
Step 1: Christmas Sleigh
Ok, I can hear those in the know screaming at your screen. Technically this isn’t a sleigh! In Canada, this fine snow surfing vehicle is known as a ‘toboggan’. But since I'll be stencilling 'Sleigh Rides' on in a later step, I thought I'd better clarify that. Hubs found it curb side this summer.
Poor Hubs has had a checkered past when it comes to toboggans (which is why I chose to do stripes instead)! You see, Canadians are fearless when it comes to winter sports and Hubs permanently damaged his front tooth as a child in a tobogganing accident. It’s a wonder any of us baby boomers survived our childhoods! Bad childhood experiences aside, I couldn’t wait to put a decor spin on this toboggan.
But hey, if we get inundated with snow in the upcoming months, we can always just grab it off the wall and toboggan in style!
Step 2: Prep Work - Cleaning
To start, remove the yellow pull cord. Then clean the wood with with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar.
The sticker label proves to be more challenging. So I use this natural all purpose cleaner by Method (last pic). It's my go-to whenever I want to remove sticky residue. Unbelievably, it removes sticky goo just as well as that noxious Goo Gone; no more harsh chemical for us!
Step 3: Prep Work - Remove Cross Braces
Once the wood is dry, remove three of the cross braces in the centre, leaving one at either end. Because they're only held on by staples, the cross braces pry off easily. Hubs trick to removing the now loose staples is to use a vice grips with a thin board for leverage. You'll see that in action on the video.
Step 4: Prep Work - Sand
We always sand glossy surface to prepare for paint. Sanding removes most of that yellow aged look - an added bonus.
I hadn't working out my stripe placement yet, and it turns out that the braces will not be going back in their original position. So at this point I should have filled the staple holes with wood putty. I had to backtrack and do that after painting. Not a big deal but it's best to do it first.
Step 5: Base Coat
After sanding to knock down the gloss, I dry brush on some white paint - but only in between the two remaining braces. To dry brush, dip the tips of the bristles in paint, then offload most of it onto paper towels. Brush it on in long strokes until you're happy with the look.
You can still see the wood grain through the paint. That's exactly what I want!
Step 6: Paint on the Stripes
Let the paint dry overnight. For the stripes, I use the following measurements and colours.
Tape the stripes. If you haven't already checked it out, refer to my prior I'ble on How to Paint Perfect Stripes.
It takes 3 coats of paint to get the depth of colour. I use a separate roller for each colour.
Two Tips for Working with a Paint Roller!
I have a tip to keep the rollers from drying out between coats; wrap it tightly with a plastic bag after each use. Then you can continue painting your second and third coats without have to wash the roller in between coats! Hubs also has a brilliant trick to dry the rollers so they’re good as new. He uses an air sprayer on his compressor to blow away the water, which leaves them fluffy and good as new again. Watch the video to see how.
Step 7: Sleigh Rides Stencil
Step 8: Secure Braces
Position and clamp the first two cross braces right through the middle of the first and last white stripes.
Because we don’t want to scratch our wall once this is mounted, we countersink first before drilling in the screws from the back.
Step 9: Add Pallet Wood Shelf
Since we're all about upcycling as much as we can, we salvaged pallet wood so we can add a shelf near the bottom of the toboggan. I originally planned four shelves but want to enjoy the unspoiled look of the point blanket stripes.
Using the same procedure of countersinking the screws, attach the shelf to the cross brace first.
You’ll need longer screws for this (see 3rd pic).
Once all three screws are countersunk, you can mount the shelf in the same way as the other cross braces. But before you do, insert the sign, then place some credit cards between it and the cross brace as spacers so there is wiggle room to remove and flip it. Don’t forget this sign is two-sided!
This time, when you flip it over to drill for the screw holes, you’ll need some boards underneath to support it (last pic).
Step 10: Finishing Touches
I applied Varathane water based clear coat in a matte finish to the sign for durability. You can add it to the entire sleigh too for added protection.
I should mention that I notched the shelf first using a jig saw and chisel before adding the rope (3rd pic). That’s so I could knot the end right underneath the shelf before threading it through the original holes in the cross braces. The knots help hold the sign in place too (4th pic)!
Just add mounting hardware and it’s ready to hang (last pic)!
Step 11: How to Decorate Your Sleigh/Toboggan
At Christmas time, I’ll decorate the shelves with holiday-related items like my needle felted elf. See what I mean when I say I’ve gone crazy for these iconic stripes?! My little elf is adorned in a point-blanket coat (first pic) :).
This little bird didn’t fly south for the winter, but he’s keeping warm!
Perhaps instead of gloves, I’ll scatter a few painted acorns on the shelf.
The acorns coordinate well with the point stripes!
But I've saved the best for last!
Step 12: These Are a Few of My Favourite Things
Of all the options, my favourite way to display our Christmas sleigh decor will be like this. I adore how it looks with our Christmas stocking DIY.
However, once Christmas is over, we’ll just flip the sign around – from ‘sleigh rides’ to ‘rides’. Gabriola Frog couldn’t miss an opportunity to hop on her chopper now, could she? Then we’ll have a transportation-themed display (2nd pic)! The stockings are not shown in the second picture, but I will likely add them back in to enjoy them year-round also.
See what I did there with the double-sided stencil sign to stretch this project year-round? Isn’t that so versatile? For more stencil options, visit Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils. There’s fabulous options for Christmas and year-round stencil crafting!
Step 13: Subscribe and Vote!
If you enjoyed learning how to get perfectly straight paint stripes, please consider voting for us in the Paint Challenge! Then get your DIY mojo on and subscribe to us on Birdz of a Feather. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
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