From Ugly Duckling To Beautiful Wooden Swan

September 13, 2016


Rustic Wooden Swan Planter

Several weeks ago, I received a text from my husband that read, "I have a present for you!" Hmmm. I love presents and given that I had just shown him a picture of the Tiffany ring my cousin received for her anniversary, I was sure I would be getting something big and sparkly...and I did. It was a big, sparkly-eyed white duck or swan planter, a curbside find. 

And now it was all mine. 

Fabulous.

All kidding aside, the guy knows me well. I have an affinity for birds, especially farm birds - as long as they're not alive. Real birds creep me out, but decoys, paintings, carvings and statues are my weakness. The whole house is plastered in them and my thoughtful hubby had just brought me a new treasure to add to my collection.

I was actually thrilled, she was super sweet and obviously handmade. I am sure someone loved her. 

Swan Planter

And I really liked her, except that she was just a tad too colorful for me. I know, I know, the "red girl" says it's too much color, but when it comes to my birds and accessories, I tend to go for more subdued pieces.

Simple. Rustic. Farmhouse.

This one had good bones, but I would've preferred a cleaner profile.

 And lot less orange.

How to paint a swan face

I have always wanted one of those big white swan decoys, but they can be very pricey. However these types of duck/ swan planters are everywhere. I walked by them at yard sales and thrift stores, because I couldn't get past the beaks. 

Silly girl.

After sitting with this one for awhile, I could see the elegant beauty within. 

So, I got to work. 

I started by using a small finishing saw to remove the bump on her beak. I was surprised by how easy this was to do. The saw cut right through the wood and on the proper angle. 

The right tools really do make all the difference. 

DIY Makeover duck planter wooden

Speaking of, the tool guy had left the saw out for me before he went fishing, but I didn't know where the sandpaper was, so I grabbed an emery board to smooth out the beak. Next best thing, right? 

It worked pretty well, no splinters or sharp edges....and since I'm not really a perfectionist, a tiny rough patch didn't bother me at all. 

The husband noticed it right away. He is a perfectionist and quite the craftsman. 

"Did you sand this?" 

"Yes, of course I did." I was emphatic. "I am crafty, I understand protocol. I sawed it and sanded it all by myself."

I didn't see the need to mention that it was with a nail file. 

Hi honey. 

DIY Planter

I removed the eyes with a screwdriver and painted the beak with white craft paint and a foam brush. It took several coats to cover.

DIY duck planter makeover

The tricky part was deciding on a new look for my fine, feathered friend. I looked online for some inspiration and the same folk art decoys kept catching my eye. I used a pencil to sketch out the new face and filled it in with black craft paint. 

I used a foam brush for the large parts and a small brush for the outline.


She had a simple new profile and muted details, just the look I was going for. 

Perfect. 

I tried her out in several places.


Swan Decoy Planter

Nesting near the pond...

Rustic Swan Planter

Relaxing in the garden...

DIY Wooden Swan Planter

Eventually, I brought her inside, which is where she currently resides. I think the style of the room suits her well. 

Rustic Decoy Planter

Plus she's among friends, lots of chickens and roosters already in here. 

Farmhouse Living Room

I think she brightens the space and adds a little sparkle. 

Best gift ever. 

Even if it doesn't fit on my finger. 




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Sharing with:*Between Naps on the Porch*Coastal Charm*The Scoop*Savvy Southern Style*Thoughts of Home*
   

79 comments:

  1. What a sweet find from your dear husband and you did a good job giving her a new profile. I think she looks wonderful in your lovely room.

    FlowerLady

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    1. Thank you, Lorraine. She is a real treasure and I love the way she looks in that room, too. Thanks so much for stopping by today! :)

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  2. You really did transform it, Kim. Great job! I am going to have to try an emery board--I hate sand paper ;)

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    1. Haha, thanks Cecilia!! It worked great. Of course, I am waiting for my husband to read the post now. ;)

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    2. Thanks for sharing your pretty planter at Vintage Charm, Kim--pinned to our Features & Favorites!

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  3. isn't it lovely that he knows you so well! LOL!
    and your changes truly made her turn from an ugly duckling
    into a gorgeous swan. understated and elegant.
    and the room is so beautiful kim!

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    1. Thank you, Tammy. He knows that I'm a simple girl and pretty easy to please, especially if you bring me presents! ;)

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  4. She looks so sweet! Great transformation. I am sure she is quite happy in the company of her other feathered friends.

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  5. Kim, if that isn't the cutest thing.....loved mum in it. It looked great outside....but love it in your house. Really a great job "prettying her up. Will look wonderful decorated for Christmas.

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    1. Thank you so much and you totally ready my mind!! I am already dreaming of her dressed in evergreen and maybe a few white lights, sitting near the fireplace in my galvanized tub...oh, I am so excited!! :)

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    2. Kim, I'm sure you already know but there are battery operated mini lights that are on a timer....they would look FABLOUS with greenery...and they don't get hot, if you are using live greens. Can't wait to see when you do it...please post when you do!

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    3. Thank you for the reminder!! I probably would not have thought about that to be honest, so I really appreciate the tip!!

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Deanna! This was a fun one. :)

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  7. This is fabulous Kim. I love her near the pond. Great gift and great job to re love her.
    Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris. I knew there was a real beauty under there! ;)

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  8. Well done! Great transformation...now she's a classy lady!! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Linda. Now I'm going to be on the hunt for more of these sweet planters!

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  9. I think she is beautiful, Kim! You really do know your way around an emery board....I've done the same thing, lol!

    Hugs,
    Carol

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    1. Haha! Thanks Carol!! My husband laughed when he read the post. Of course, now I need a new nail file!! ;)

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  10. Aww, that is sweet that your hubby picked up something for you that he knew you'd like. I actually liked the orange on the bird, but I like the black too, so nice job! You have got you a pretty farmhouse planter now!

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    1. Thanks Florence. It was super sweet before, I totally agree, she's just more my style now.

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  11. Oh, these dear men might not always bring home sparkle but they sure know how to put some sparkle in the eyes of the beholder. I do like the way you painted his face, seems very realistic to me. So charming with the yellow mums. I made 100's of these big guys (mostly canadian geese) back in the day when I was doing ceramics and all painted and glazed all natural like. Sold them all and didn't keep a one for myself!.xxoJudy

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    1. Oh Judy, I bet they were beautiful geese…and thank you for your sweet comments on my own DIY. :)

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  12. As always, you make me smile. Love this post and I love your new friend.
    Where she is living looks just lovely. :-))

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    1. Thank you so much, Carla. Your words always make me smile! :)

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  13. A great gift and an awesome, simple makeover. She looks pretty in your room with all of her other farm friends. Love!

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    1. Thanks Kristi! I’m a big fan of simple. :)

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  14. Wow what a great find and I love the way you painted it. The planter looks great inside or outside. I know you will enjoy this and it's perfect for fall mums. :)

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    1. Thanks Julie. It is perfect for mums. I had a little trouble finding them this early in the season. Well, ones that were open anyway and I certainly couldn’t find any in red! ;)

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  15. Wow This is so creative and cute ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Summer. I am falling for her a little more every day! :)

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  16. Great find Hubby! I love the transformation and all it took was a new face. I love it where it is, but also love it near the pond.

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    1. Thanks AnnMarie. He’s a really good looker…well trained when it comes to the curbside finds! ;) And trust me, that swan gets around. I moved her back outside today to water her. She is currently pond side!

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  17. Kim, I agree with you Best Gift Ever!! And you gave her such a nice makeover. She looks as if she has gone from dumpy to chic swan! Great job and I also like her in with the rest of the bird family... but I see now you are taking her all around the house. Giving her a good workout!

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    1. Haha!! Yes a workout for sure...and she is actually quite heavy, solid wood construction, plus a heavy, wet plant. I think I'm getting a workout, too!! ;)

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  18. Kim, you done an awesome job on that sweet gal! And yes...it might not be as good as that RING...but at least your man was thinking about you. LOL! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Thanks Cindy…and that’s funny, my cousin texted me today to say the exact same thing! I told her if she really felt that way, she could send me the ring and I’ll send her the duck!! ;) Ha!!

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  19. It looks great in there! You really gave it elegance.
    Brenda

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    1. Thanks Brenda! I was hoping that would be the result. :)

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  20. She's beautiful! Well done! Think of all the ways you can decorate her for the seasons! Kiss that hubby of yours...this is a nice gift!

    Jane

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    1. Thanks so much, Jane!! I am holiday dreaming with her in mind already...and the hubby has been kissed. Although when I read him your comment, he reminded me that I could do it again! ;)

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  21. Hi Kim, Beautiful!! You gave the swan new life and it looks gorgeous in your home. This is the best gift.

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    1. Thank you, Celestina Marie...and coming from a gifted artist, I take your comment with high regard! :)

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  22. Ducky little gift from hubs . . .
    And you prettied him up perfectly . . .
    I like him "with the yellows" in your room with the reds!
    So much prettier there than on your finger . . .

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    1. I agree, Lynne. I actually have more rings than fingers, so a pretty duck was the perfect present for me!

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  23. Very nice transformation. And what a thoughtful gift. Not only do you have the finished product to beautify your space, you also had the fun time crafting.

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    1. Lorri, that was really the best part...I hadn't crafted like this for a bit and it was so much fun. I was almost disappointed when it was done. On the next, now that the juices are flowing!! I've got to send that guy out for more garbage!! ;)

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  24. Very sweet Kim. The face is darling and looks perfect with the mums. You are so creative. Thanks for visiting and your sweet comment.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I had fun working on this one…it’s been a while since I’ve painted. :)

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  25. I am glad that she found the perfect place to reside after her transformation!
    And ring finger treasures can always come down the line / your husband strikes me as a very smart guy : )

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    1. Thanks Deb! He is a smart guy...and a very thoughtful one, too!! :)

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  26. Dear Kim ... such a sweet little gift from your hubby. I find those little thoughts of kindness are the ones that truly warm our hearts. You have surely fluffed and feathered your little nest. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Teri. It was a very sweet gesture, I agree. :)

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  27. The transformation, while subtle, is perfect! Your hubby knows you well :)

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    1. Yes, he does Doreen. He pays attention... which leads to me think that maybe I should start hanging around the diamond counter a little bit more than the garbage pile, huh? ;)

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  28. Yes, the gifts that are well-thought of for the person it's intended for is the best! Love how you made this 'ugly' duck into a beautiful swan dear! Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you much, Vel! I am enjoying my trash to treasure friend, for sure!

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  29. Love your "altered" swan. You found the perfect spot for her too.
    Love your living room - so sweet and homey.

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    1. Thanks Susan. I do love her inside and out! :)

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  30. Your last comment on this post made me laugh out loud... "even if it didn't fit on my finger", lol! Great line! Seriously, I love the re-do job you did on this sweet girl, and she looks much much much better after her simple transformation! Indeed, your husband does know you well, lol! Hugs to you today, have a blessed weekend :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Marilyn. She is a sweet gal… :)

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  31. I think the best gifts are ones that someone picked up - even if it was free! - because they thought of you when they saw it! Your hubby did good. You are so crafty and talented...I would've had no idea how to transform that duck. She looks beautiful now and I actually liked every place you had her displayed. She will fit in anywhere. :-)

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    1. Thanks Melanie. He is a really thoughtful guy and I agree, the present means a ton to me for that exact reason. :)

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  32. Your husband gets cuteness points for that gift. I love how you gave her a makeover, and she really does look fantastic in your room!

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    1. Thank you Ricki! She is a great addition, I agree!! :)

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  33. She looks great! Love her new look and I'm sure her feathered friends will welcome her with open arms...err...wings? Anyway, does she have a name? She looks like a Naomi to me. :)

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    1. Naomi it is, Lisa! Thanks!! :) And I am sure she thanks you, too. Unless of course, I have misread the signs and she is a he! ;)

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  34. She does look so much prettier. She went from being a funky goose to a beautiful swan.

    I'm with you, I've always wanted one of those gorgeous swan decoys.

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    1. I’m still on the hunt, Stacey…top of my list! ;) Getting closer though...

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  35. Kim, she is fun now that you worked your magic on her! I love her toned down. I found a carved wooden one at a thrift last year and I love her!
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Lucky girl, Jann! That is always on my thrifting list!

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  36. I've never thought of using an emery board for sanding...not a bad idea, especially for smaller projects like bird beaks. A folded piece of sandpaper would be awkward to hold. Love the makeover, the face looks classy.

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    1. Thanks Audra. I always reach for that emery board first. I am lazy and don’t really want to go rifling through the garage to look for the paper. It definitely works. The sanding looks great…despite what my perfectionist hubby said. There is no way, no matter how much sanding I did, that the rough hand sawed area was going to be as smooth as the part of the beak that was originally cut with an electric saw.

      Now if he wanted to get out the big saw instead of going fishing… ;)

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  37. What a difference! I love what you did with the planter!

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  38. Great fine and I love the transformation so much better. It adds to your fall decor.

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    1. Thanks Vanessa!! I have been moving her around because I seem to always want her in my site! :)

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