My Precious…Ahem, I Mean… My Galvanized Wheeling Wash Tubs

My Precious…Ahem, I Mean… My Galvanized Wheeling Wash Tubs

I’m so excited about how these galvanized Wheeling wash tubs turned out that I’m going to put the finished picture first. Ready…

Wheeling Washtub

Wheeling Washtub

Isn’t it lovely? I cannot express in words how excited I am!

This is how they started out when I received them and at the time, I had no idea at the amount of work that was involved.

A set of Vintage Wheeling wash tubs against a red brick wall

The original galvanized Wheeling wash tubs

I looked up all the information I could about painting the rusty table base and galvanized metal wash tubs. Surprisingly for the World Wide Web, there wasn’t a lot of information on how to go about it. Or maybe I just couldn’t find it. However putting the galvanized wash tubs in front of the red bricks for my picture influenced my decision to paint them.

The first thing I had to do was remove all the rust from the base. Look at those legs in the picture, that’s rust, not paint! I was afraid that removing the rust would cause it to disintegrate like one of those cartoons where an object would be standing at one moment and the next just be a pile of dust. Working between a wire brush and a wire wheel on the drill, I got off all the rust I could. I chose to use Rust-Oleum Hammered Copper spray because I could spray right over the rust, a really big plus since I couldn’t get all the rust off. I also used the textured spray because the surface wasn’t smooth, again, because I couldn’t get all the rust off. I ended up painting everything outside because of the smell (I like not choking).

A PVC pipe enclosure is draped with drop cloths and used for spray painting

A PVC pipe enclosure used for spray painting

This is my PVC pressure pipe enclosure and it is draped with painter’s drop cloth and held by using clothes pins. The enclosure is easy to move around if the wind changes or the sun suddenly comes out from behind the clouds. Not to mention it is easy to take apart and store in a corner of the garage.

A close-up view of the Rust-Oleum Hammered Copper Spray on wash stand.

Hammered Copper spray hides a multitude of mistakes

Here is a close-up of the hammered texture spray that was perfect for covering the imperfections (aka rust).

I prepared the galvanized wash tubs by scrubbing them with a steel wool pad and a water based degreaser (meaning I used Dawn dish-washing soap and water). Then I let them dry and wiped them down with acetate, which is essentially nail polish remover, and since I already had a bottle of that, I used it. (Yes, I’m trying to save money by not buying something I’ll probably never use again.)

Cleaning the wash tubs with acetone.

Cleaning the wash tubs with acetone

I sprayed them with Rust-Oleum Self Etching Primer. It was hard to look at that ugly industrial gray while I let it cure for a week and I had to keep reassuring myself that everything would turn out fine.

Two cans of Rust-Oleum Spray

Rust-Oleum Spray and Primer

In an effort to save buying yet another can of spray paint, I painted only four inches down inside the tub with Rust-Oleum Specialty High Heat Ultra Copper spray. I didn’t need to waste paint where it wouldn’t be seen since the tubs would always be filled with potting soil, even in the winter. (Besides, here in TN, the winds from the storms would blow them away if they weren’t filled with something heavy.)

Copper spray painted only four inches down on insides.

Copper spray painted only four inches down on insides

After a few hours, I turned them over and finished them off. I ended up only using two cans of the copper with nothing to spare. Ka-ching.

While I waited my final week for the paint to dry fully, I prepared the space out front by transplanting my butterfly bush to another location. Believe it or not, I just stuck the bush in the ground at the end of last year because I bought it without any idea of where I would plant it. (Darn tempting clearance sales.)

Copper Galvanized Wheeling was tubs in front of a red brick house

My Copper Galvanized Wheeling Wash Tubs in their permanent location

Finally the Wheeling wash tubs are in their permanent space in front of my main windows. I just threw the plants that were on my front steps in them for their reveal pictures until I can get my autumn display ready. Now I’m looking forward to decorating for holidays and the seasons and the kids’ birthdays and maybe watermelon season, well, you get the idea.

Updated look:

This harvest display shows the rich copper color of the once galvanized wash tubs

This harvest display shows the rich copper color of the wash tubs