How One Stylist Gave Her Kid’s Sad Bike a Chic Makeover
All hail a good garage sale (and terracotta paint).
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:41 AM
When someone gifts your child an unattractive plastic toy, you know they mean well, but the thing is, you’re the one who’s stuck with storing (read: hiding) the thing. Australia-based stylist Geneva Vanderzeil, author of Home Is Where You Make It, has learned how to get creative with the items her 18-month-old, Frankie, inherits. Vanderzeil’s most recent project: a $3 scooter that her mother scored at a thrift store. “It hurt my eyes,” she recalls. So the pro DIYer immediately went to work on upcycling the toy (pun intended).
The transformation (see the step-by-step on Vanderzeil’s blog, Collective Gen, here) came down to some strings of rope, a hot-glue gun, and a few cans of paint. The trick is getting the color to stick: If you use ordinary acrylic on poly plastic, it will just chip off. Vanderzeil started with a satin white primer made to bond to tricky surfaces, waited for it to dry, then covered the whole body in two coats of matte blush pink paint. Next, she used a super-durable terracotta paving paint to accent the handles and seat. To protect the wheels from the paint job, Vanderzeil covered them with plastic bags.
Next came a touch of texture: She lined the handles in hot glue and slowly wrapped two rows of rope around them before tying the ends off in a tight knot. Vanderzeil took a similar approach to the seat, outlining the edge in glue before encircling the whole thing in the cotton cord. Now little Frankie is riding in style.
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