October 10, 2013

DIY - An Easy Fix for Fading Vintage Fonts

I know we've all seen them - glorious retro canisters with little to no label. You can see the indent where the metallic colouring used to sit, but no paint in sight. Seeing this always makes me so sad. Mostly because I want to find one in tact for myself (or for CharmingShopVintage now.) In reality the missing paint is usually attributed to the item being well loved and used often in it's previous home. Sometimes it's neglect or you know, leaving it outside for too long. In a barn perhaps? 
Lustroware Cookie Jar on the right.
I found this gorgeous Yellow Lustroware Cookie Jar at Value Village and after I could't stop thinking about it, and going back weeks later to find it still on the shelf, I brought it home with me. I already have the Kitchen Canister set in White, but my kitchen had some original yellow tiles on it's retro breakfast nook. I felt like I should honour it's original look by bringing in that colour somewhere else in the room. The font was mostly all rubbed off, with just a tiny bit showing here and there. I knew I had to save it. I was keeping it for myself, so why shouldn't I? 

Here's the deal - if you find something you really love, but the font has long since passed, you can potentially fix it! Just remember, if you fix something yourself, it's for you to keep. If you're in the vintage business, never sell things you've altered unless you are open and honest about it. Maybe someone else will appreciate your work on restoring a thing of beauty, but usually collector are interested in vintage things untouched and unchanged in any way. Sometimes it's the flaws that count. So before you start, make sure this is something you want to do!
Getting a good soak before we start doing anything with it. 
All you need is a steady hand and a waterproof marker that is the colour of your original paint. Before you start, do some research and find out what colour font you need, unless you're trying to change the font colour altogether of course. I went to Michaels and got a thin paint pen that was skinny enough to get into the little grooves. Remember, to look at the tip of the marker. You don't want a ballpoint pen marker, because the paint won't transfer onto your vintage surface. Only thin felt marker tips will do.

If you don't have lines or grooves to follow, you'll have to attempt this freehand! Good luck to you. I know you can do it. It's just a matter of time and patience. I suggest looking up your item with it's original font in tact. Leave that photo beside you and carefully copy this onto your item. But of course, you could always create a template to trace with if you're unsure of starting right on your piece. It's up to you and what you feel comfortable with.

Let your vintage item dry completely. You may want to do a few layers of paint. And there you have it. A "new to you" font for a restored by you vintage piece! For upkeep I would suggest hand washing if this is something you use every day. The paint will wear with constant use and can be touched up when needed.

After: The lid
...and the front font. This is with one coat.

I hope you enjoy this mini tutorial. Maybe you have something yourself that you've wanted to try fixing up. Of course if it's something expensive, I would always recommend taking it to a professional restorer. You never want to lose the value of your piece. I got my Cookie Jar for $1, and I really felt that giving it a new life was the right thing to do.

Have a great day everyone! 
Happy thrifting and diy-ing!

Marissa xo

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post! You did a great job, I 100% agree if you are buying the item for you go ahead and fix it up a little. I enjoy my $1 finds it allows me to wear and enjoy vintage instead of being scared I will break something mint condition.