As I got near, I saw it was an old rusted fire pit.
The mesh top was destroyed and had separated from the strapping. The rust on the surrounding metal was deeply pocked and beyond saving.
Most people would have kept on going. But not me. As I lifted off the top to explore, I noticed that the base was quite ornate and not nearly as rusted as the top. When you think about it, it makes sense that the bowl would be destroyed far sooner than the base because it’s more exposed to the elements. I was inspired!
I grabbed the base and lugged it home, leaving the rest behind for garbage pickup.
Just a few weeks earlier, I picked up a special item at our favourite outdoor antique market (Aberfoyle) and knew right away that the two would pair perfectly. Ironically, when hubs first saw the base, he had the same idea so I knew I was on the right track to transform this piece!
We started by sanding away all the loose rust, then spraying it with a few thin coats of rust paint to prevent further rusting in a bold, bright red. Once dry, we followed with a few coats of clear to protect it.
The colour really made the design pop, as you’ll see fully in the reveal!
We then gathered some rubber bumpers and screws.
The design of these bumpers would allow the screw heads to be countersunk so they don’t stick out beyond the bumper (more on where they were applied later).
Now for the final piece. Here’s the beauty we found at the Aberfoyle Antique Market. It’s an old stainless steel milk can:
With the milkcan’s lid missing, I always intended to turn it into a planter for our back garden, but it never occurred to me to put the two pieces together until one day we turned the fire pit upside down and realized it would provide the perfect base to showcase it! Looking back on this picture, I must have gotten the idea to paint the base red when it was near our front door!
After nailing down the plan, we found a plastic pot with drainage to fit the opening of the milk can and planted wave petunias in it:
Hubs completed the base by drilling holes evenly spaced around the top edge.
He then screwed the bumpers in place.
He took the base outside to pair up with the milk can.
Once planted with wave petunias, we put the milk can on top of the now upside down base. Here is the reveal in its intended garden setting:
We moved it to a few different spots in our small backyard oasis and settled on leaving it between a pair of chairs in front of the pond:
Here’s how it looked after growing for a while. The petunias just kept blooming all summer long 🙂
I wonder what the previous owners would think of their fire pit now! I think my mission was a resounding success. After seeing the transformation, would you think twice about throwing yours away?
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I can’t wait to pick up where I left off this summer with my curbside finds! In the meantime, here’s a retrospective of some of the best upcycled projects in the Craft Rehab section of our site: