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Thursday, 22 November 2018

'Brass to Farmhouse' - DIY Scales Makeover

I have been coveting for some time now a set of simple black iron farmhouse balance scales made by Laurel Foundry in the USA, the sort that you see on shows like Fixer Upper. I can readily find some to buy online, but the price tag in most cases is well over $100 before postage!

So, I have resisted buying a set, and I'm glad I did because I came cross a set of brass 1970's Libran star sign sort of scales online locally for only $30. They were a bit worse for wear with an aged pitted finish to the brass that wasn't attractive, plus they had chains holding the dishes which wasn't exactly the look I wanted - but I had a plan!





1970's style brass scales before makeover




I removed the offending chains from the bowls and gave the whole set of scales a rub over with an old kitchen scourer.

Bowl close up - you can clearly see the pitted brass surface.

I then sprayed painted the whole thing with several coats of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze paint, including both sides of the dishes as well as the small hooks from the very top of the chains.

That was the easy part!

The next phase in my farmhouse makeover for these scales was to replace the chains with solid wire hangers like the ones I admired, so to the roll of fencing wire I go.

Living on a farm has it's perks! Need fencing wire? Sure, no problem, we just happen to have a roll of that literally lying around.

I knew fencing wire would be the perfect thing to use as it's a strong wire that doesn't bend easily, but this also presented some challenges in the final parts of the wire hangers construction.

I knew the shape I wanted so I started out by cutting 3 lengths of wire per dish and bent a hook in the bottom to go through the holes in my scale dishes. I then bent the wire to the shape I wanted making sure to measure the height I needed to keep the dishes off the ground, but not too high so I could use them to hold a variety of decoration throughout the year.

Using the first wire as a template for the other 5 I then cut them all to the same length except for 2 which I kept longer by about 20cm, those would be the ones on each dish hanger that would make the top circle loop to hang them from, and also wrap around the other 2 wires to finish things off in a decorative way.

To form the loop the top longer wire was bent around a screwdriver clamped in a vice to get the circular loop at the top I needed to hang them by.



Then came the fiddly part. I needed a way to secure all 3 wires at the top, so I enlisted my hubby who is one handy man, and after a bit of fiddling about with me holding the 3 pieces of wire in the correct position he managed to clamp them with a set of vice grips, and then solder them together.


If you can't solder them and want to make something similar, then you could use a fast setting adhesive to hold them in place then maybe some stronger adhesive over that to secure them before the final part of wrapping the remaining longer length of wire around the joined wires to disguise the join and create a more decorative finish. You could even use a non metal more flexible plastic or similar to wrap around the wires, then once painted it would look like wire.




I then gave the hangers a few coats of the same Oil Rubbed Bronze paint and carefully put the dishes onto each hanger, and using a cloth over the wire hooks at the base to protect them I closed them up a bit with a pair of pliers so the dishes couldn't easily come off the hangers.

I'm very pleased with the outcome, for less than a third of the price and about 2 hours work I now have my farmhouse style scales, and in true farmer fashion I did it by buying local, recycling and making do with what I had on hand.

I did a simple Spring decoration on them, but it's now time for a Christmas makeover....



Have you made something similar and saved a bundle? Let me know in the comments below.

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1 comment:

  1. Does your brain ever stop??? No doubt this was the 'scraps' I saw standing waiting patiently in the barn? Good work and clever you... I look forward to seeing it for real in the near future me hopes. :)

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