DIY Vintage French Cheese Shop Display Stand
This is an easy DIY project inspired by wooden trivets/stands often used in vintage grocery shop window displays. I wanted to add a little height to some decor on a sideboard in our dining room, so I chose a food related theme to decorate my stand and what better than French Cheese!
I did a little research on French towns famous for cheese and decided on the town of Meaux in the region of Brie, as Brie is one of my favourite cheeses, and the Brie from this town was once called the “Le Roi des Fromages” (The King of Cheeses).
Here is how I made it using some scrap timber and left over paint.
I had a piece of timber that had been cut for a previous use and was stained a reddish brown. Even though I was intending to paint the stand I did want to distress it and allow some darker stained wood to show through, so I over stained with a medium brown and let it dry. It didn't have to be neat and I gave the wood a sand all over with some 120 grit sandpaper first to remove the sharp edges. The wood already had a few bumps and scrapes which added age to the piece, but you could easily distress the wood to get the same look.
I painted the entire piece with two coats of some slightly watered down Porters egg shell finish paint in white (Popcorn is the paint colour).
I had some old rustic cupboard knobs that had been removed from a piece of furniture that I used for the stand feet. I drilled a hole through the centre of each knob large enough for my counter sunk wood screws to pass through easily, and gave them a coat of the same white paint. I then drilled a pilot hole slightly smaller than the width of the screws in the base of the stand where each foot would go and also used a counter sinking drill bit in the knobs to open a hole for the screw head the fit so it would be flush with the base of the foot.
I sanded the stand to distress it with sandpaper until i was happy with the simulated wear and tear that I imagined such a vintage piece to have after many years being used as a shop display. I sealed the whole stand with a coat of Rustoleum matte sealer.
Then it was on to the fun part!
I rolled some black decor ink from Iron Orchid Designs (IOD) onto a plastic sheet with a brayer, then rolled the ink onto stamps to create my design. I used a medallion design from the Queen Bee Decor stamp set by IOD for the centre front of the stand, then created my words 'Fromargerie De Meaux' which means Meaux Cheese Shop with a set of small cling stamps I had.
I used a clear stamping block with guide lines on it to make sure my letters were aligned, then did a few test runs on some paper to see how much ink I needed, I found doing a stamp onto the paper first made the second stamping onto the wood have just the right amount of ink.
Once the ink had fully dried, I sanded it with a very fine 200 grit sandpaper to distress it so it had a more authentic aged appearance, and this also softens the stamping edges that can sometimes be darker as shown below, compared to the following 'after' photo of the now distress and aged text.
The feet were screwed into position ensuring that the screws were level or just below the base of the foot, otherwise they could cause the stand to wobble and also scratch the surface of whatever you place it on.
I then screwed some hand forged metal handles to the sides and gave them a light coat of bronze wax. The screws were not my first choice as the phillips head is not vintage in style so I may swap those over when I find more suitable ones.
This fun DIY is now serving duty on my dining room side board and fits in well with my previous faux french antique breadboard in the kitchen nearby. I left the opposite side of the stand plain so if I want to use it somewhere other than the dining room I can just turn it around!