If you have an old lawnmover or wheelbarrow that is fully functioning but a bit rusty, give it a new life with some fresh paint and stencils.
Is it time to give your wheelbarrow a lift?
What kind of crazy person stencils their wheelbarrow? Um, me. Old faithful was getting rusty so I thought, instead of just treating it with rust paint, I would splurge for a second colour and stencil on a design. I also paint and stencil the wooden handles of my garden tools so I don’t lose them in the brambles.
Since first posting this many years ago, I’ve had plenty of messages from people saying, My husband would kill me if I did this to his lawnmower. And ya, I get it. I wouldn’t do this to someone else’s stuff. I do this with my own stuff. And only if it’s warranted. Both items were seriously rusting out. They needed some good rustproofing paint to hold them together for a few more years.
To get started, I spray painted everything black and let it dry overnight. You can’t really get fine details with spray paint so I created a simple design for the stencil.
I used old file folders for the stencil and cut out the shapes with an exacto knife. I held the stencil onto the wheelbarrow with duct tape and sprayed on the white paint.
You could, of course, go nuts with a whole bunch of colours or try for more intricate designs, but I prefer to keep it simple.
I bought this wheelbarrow last year for $20 including the new air-free tire. I hope to get a whole bunch more years out of my bling-barrow.
Next, I gave my lawnmower the same treatment. I didn’t get a before photo of the lawnmower but you can use your orange imagination.
I opted to spray paint the lawnmower white and add the flower stencil with black spray paint (see instructions below).
The entire paint job took ten minutes maximum. It’s a lawnmower, after all: no need to fuss. Cutting the lawn never looked so good and, as a reader pointed out, it’s too conspicuous to steal.
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Spray paint suitable for metal (1 black, 1 white)
- Card stock (I used old file folders) for making the stencils
- Exacto knife, pencil
- Masking tape or painter’s tape
- Big cardboard box (that your lawnmower or wheelbarrow can fit inside)
- Protective mask, gloves, glasses
Caution: Work outside in a safe area away from animals, food growing, etc. I use a large cardboard box as my spraying area so that any excess paint is contained in the box.
- Clean off the lawnmower and wheelbarrow. Take a before photo!
- Cut the card stock/file folder to fit the areas you want to stencil. I made one long stencil (that fit the side of the wheelbarrow) and used it for everything.
- To prepare the stencil, draw large, simple shapes (I did a daisies and flower petals) on the card stock with pencil and cut them out with the exacto knife. You might want to do this step while your waiting for the base coat to dry.
- With the lawnmower/wheelbarrow in the cardboard box, spray paint the base coat colour. For my project, I painted one item white and one item black. Allow to dry (read the instructions on the can).
- Tape the stencil in place.
- Put on your protective gear.
- Read the spray paint label for best spraying distance. Spray your design in a contrasting colour. Remove the stencil and allow paint to dry before stencilling adjacent area. (This may only take a few minutes.)
- Take an after photo and share your creation.