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Easy DIY Wooden Sled Makeover

December 08, 2020

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Vintage Flexible Flyer sleds make great holiday decor pieces, inside or out. And this quick and easy DIY makeover idea can be completed in mere minutes.

Check out how to add some rustic charm to your Christmas home.

Flexible Flyer Sled on a patio

The internet can be a dangerous place, especially if you're obsessed with decor. Like me.

The eye candy is everywhere and never more delicious looking than during the holidays.

Trees, villages, mantels and gift wrap. Artfully displayed in every setting from rustic farmhouse to urban loft.

And between Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, I could spend hours online. Drooling.

However. In those early years, my all time favorite was any kind of sled makeover. Wowza. Some of them were just outstanding.

It was love at first site for this cottage style Christmas gal. I wanted one from the get go.

And honestly, people toss them all the time. It shouldn't have been hard to find one.

Unless of course you were looking for one. Isn't that always the way?

It was crazy, I mean we had one growing up, but that was long gone. So I drove by yard sales slowly and went out walking on garbage night. But nope.

Then one lucky afternoon a few years ago, I stumbled upon one at the curb. I was so happy. I swear I literally jumped for joy.

I lugged it home, put it in the garage, dreamt about it all summer long, skipped through the backyard to get in October, with the DIY ideas dancing in my head...only to find out that my husband had thrown it away.

What? It was a mess. You couldn't use it, you'd kill yourself.

I didn't want to use it. I was going to doll it up and put it on the front porch!

Oh...ok, sorry. But it's not a big deal. I see them all the time. I'll get you another one.


Well guess who couldn't find a sled? For years? Yeah...Mr. It's No Big Deal. That's who.

Welcome to my quest, buddy.

I'm telling you, those sleds are squirrelly little suckers. Seemingly everywhere, except when you want one.

I'd actually kind of given up hope of ever finding one again, when Prince Charming came bounding into the backyard this summer, beaming from ear to ear.

Guess what I found?

I have no idea.

C'mon. Guess.

I can't guess...just tell me. We'd been stuck in the house for about three months at that point and I was in no mood for games.

I found a sled.


Flexible Flyer Sled On A Patio

But he absolutely was not.

He'd found an old ratty, rusty, absolutely spectacular vintage Flexible Flyer sled in someone's trash pile and brought it home to me.

That someone must've been cleaning out their garage and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Meant to be, for sure.

Sitting by the pool that afternoon, staring at my winter sled, I could not stop smiling. Best day of the summer, by far.

It's pathetic how easy to please I am, isn't it?

Anyhoo...we gave it a quick scrub, let it dry and then tucked it into the garage, until it was time for a little Christmas DIY.

Update: You should see what else we recently pulled out of the garage!

Well, this weekend, with the holiday on the horizon and my festive ideas flowing, I dug that little baby out and gave it a fabulous makeover.

And friends, I have to say, it's better than I ever could've imagined.

Aren't vintage Flexible Flyer sleds worth money?

Now, before I get the questions, yes, it's vintage, and yes, it's a collectible and yes, I probably could've listed it for sale in its original condition.

Flexible Flyer Model 51

While I couldn't find out what year mine was made, I know it's old. Although, they so still sell them new. However if you're going to make it over, I'd look for used one.

And I get it. I respect older items, they have charm and value, if not monetary value, then that of posterity...and more often than not, I leave these treasures in their original state.

But this time, I didn't care.

These sleds are dime a dozen, all over the internet from $30 - $3000. Mine was in terrible condition and it will bring me more joy this way than it ever would sitting in the garage, waiting to be sold. 

And at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think the sled would enjoy that more, too.

To start I looked through my old sled photos, including a stenciled beauty from my friend Susan at Homeroad.

However, it was one I'd seen at a link party years ago, that I settled on as my inspiration.

And I got to work.

For more Christmas crafts with summer finds, check out 35+ Christmas in July crafts!

Flexible Flyer Sled Makeover

There are of course tons of ways to makeover a sled. This was the easiest, but it packed a colorful punch.

The Details:

FolkArt Acrylic Paint in Forest Moss 527
DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in True Red
Flexible Flyer Weathered Sled

I started by dragging the sled inside and placing it on paper that I'd put down to protect my kitchen floor.

It was way too cold to paint outside and I don't have a workshop area in this tiny cottage. I poked around in my craft closet and found containers of green and red paint and a brush.

I didn't prime or sand, as I like the distressed look. And I'm lazy.

Painting The A Sled Green With A Brush

I just put some green paint into a tiny plastic cup and covered the wood.

When I was done, I rinsed the brush out to ready it for the next color. 

Then I covered the raw metal with red.

Green Wood and Red Metal Painted Sled Makeover

I used plain acrylic paint on both surfaces. I wasn't worried about it lasting forever, or rusting the metal, because it was already rusted.

And I'll probably want to redo it anyway sometime in the future.

I was looking for a quick and easy makeover, but if you want yours to last, especially if you're going to display it outside, l'd use a metal friendly spray paint.

And seal it, preferably with a spray polyurethane.

Spray anything and I don't get along, so I just gave my entire sled, from tip to tail, a coat of Mod Podge.

When it was dry, I pulled the flocked wreath that hung on my door last year out of the basement bin and attached it to the sled with a plastic zip tie.

Using A Zip Tie To Attach Wreath To Sled

Then I was done. It only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish, and most of that was drying time, to makeover my curbside find.

And turn it into a cottage style show stopper.

Simple Christmas Sled Makeover

I brought it outside to see what it would look like on my small stoop, knowing it couldn't stay there.

There just isn't enough space. Maybe in the future, I'll get my act together and decorate my screened on porch for Christmas.

It would be lovely out there.

DIY Front Porch Winter Sled Makeover

In the meantime, though, it will be inside, in the living room where I can see it every day.

Next to my fireplace, surrounded by trees and little white lights.

DIY Green and Red Christmas Sled next to the fireplace

And me.

Drooling over it.

Instead of the internet.

Winter Sled Makeover Pin

What's your DIY obsession?

Happy Crafting, Friends!
Kim Signature

Post a Comment | 38 Comments

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  1. YES!!! a winner! (I have wonderful red flyer memories)
    and speaking of winners...
    as are YOU by the way.
    sending you Christmas cheer and just a warm thank you
    for your generous and creative spirit all year long. XO

    1. Hello Tammy!! I love it when I see your name in the comments. You're always so kind to me. I'm glad you like this one. I know that simple is your style and this sled makeover isn't fussy at all. Sending that same Christmas cheer back your way, my friend and thanking you for always sending such happiness my way. It truly means the world.xo

  2. Love Kim and it's your sled do what you want, ha.

    I still have my sled from when I was young and place outside all winter long.

    Being young and stupid I painted it in my 20's.

    Fast forward and my hubby got mist if the paint off It loojs old and fabulous.

    Stay tuned for my outside tour next week.



    1. Oh, Cindy it sounds great. I can't wait to see it!! And thank you, I like how it turned out. Hugs!

  3. Oh my gosh first I love that Sean found this for you. The relove is just beautiful and it is so pretty. I need to find a sled too. I have been looking. I want to rescue one and so it might take a little time to find one. I love to rescue and relove things and a sled is on my rescue bucket list. I love yours. Good thing we do not live near each other I would have to steal that sled off your porch or I meant to say borrow off your porch lol! Happy Wednesday.

    1. Kris, he was a man on a mission. Believe it or not, he threw away the first sled almost 10 years ago. They just aren’t as easy to find at the curb as they used to be…I guess people know what they have now and want to sell them instead. I’m happy with the way it turned out and too bad we don’t live closer - for a lot of reasons - I’d be happy to share. You could paint it white on your years and I’d paint it red or green on mine. πŸ˜‰ xo

  4. Gosh Kim! Our husbands are like two peas in a pod. Hubs has tossed things on me before because they were too 'far gone'. But that's exactly how I like 'em. Otherwise, what's the challenge - lol! So glad your husband found you another one! I'd be pleased too :)

    1. So funny, Sara. I guess they just don't have the same vision! At least he found me a backup...even if it did take him years.

  5. Your sled is beautiful!!!! You"'ll have to give your smart hubby a hug from all of us!!
    I collect racoons! Years ago, my step daughter sent me a huge chainsaw cut raccoon she found in California. Several years later hubster found me a sled in a garage sale, brought it home and rigged a bracket for Mr Coon to sit on the sled. He now decorates our back porch.....complete with a pair of garage sale ice skates in tow:-) I didn't make mine fancy though....maybe you can remind me next year. ;^) Blessings, J

    1. Thanks J! And I will pass your gratitude onto the mister straight away. He'll be happy to know he's been fully redeemed! And your raccoon sounds adorable. I really think you need a blog so we can all see your fun driver and his holiday sled. Or at least post him on Instagram! I need a visual!! Blessings my friend.

  6. I have always wanted an old sled to decorate for Christmas for my front porches over the years, but the only ones I ever saw were $75 or more in antique stores. Now that I have moved to Florida, I no longer need one. I am so happy you have yours! It turned out great.

    1. Yes, they can be pricey, Penny, I agree. I wasn't willing to pay for one so I had to wait. And wait. And wait. I think moving to Florida was a better solution. I'd trade my cold toes and coat for a winter without need of sled in a jiffy! Enjoy it!

  7. The sled came out so beautiful! Your husband redeemed himself!

    1. He did, Briana! It only took about 10 years, but I think it was worth the wait! And thanks!

  8. Kim, I love the story of your husband getting rid of the sled and then finding one for you! You did a great job with the makeover! The sled looks great inside by the fireplace.

    1. Thanks Julie! I really thought it would be outside fare, but seeing it inside just makes me smile. Hope it’s a great week!

  9. Prince Charming once again. Hee Hee, that was so funny that he got rid of the first and then found one for you. ;-)
    I like the colors you decided on for the sled.

    1. Yes, he certainly redeemed himself, even if it was several - and I do mean several - years later. When he read the post today, he laughed. He was like, Wow, that first sled event was almost 10 years, yes, it was!! πŸ˜‰

  10. Kim,
    What a great find! Love the makeover too!! Stop by my Christmas blog as i just posted our front porch and yard and my sled graces our front porch plus i also have a child's sled that i made over...Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. Debbie, so funny!! I was literally on your blog reading your post when I saw your email come over. I LOVE what you have done. SO many gorgeous treasures. Especially those sleds!! I hope you have a great week! Hugs to you and thanks for the sweet comment and visit.

  11. You've done a fabulous job here, it looks great.

    Enjoy your December days.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks so much, Jan!! Enjoy your December days as well!!

  12. That's definitely a cute makeover...I have two sleds in my basement....they have been waiting for years for a little love...thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Oh, lucky you!! That sounds like double the fun. There are so many cute ideas out there and you get to choose two! Enjoy your makeovers and feel free to share them with us...either on Facebook or by email. Everyone loves a good before and after!

  13. Sleds are hard to find at a good price these days. I often see them around here with price tags of $30 and up. I found mine years ago at a garage sale for $2, but your price was much better and it looks beautiful INSIDE your house!

    1. Two dollars?? That's practically free, Ann. You're such a great shopper. I was happy to have found the first one, but two is really crazy...even though it took almost a decade. And thank's a simple makeover, but I love it.

  14. Hooray for your hubby - although he did owe you, right? (Sounds like something mine would do too)
    I love it! It turned out so perfect and I know it brings a smile each time you see it!

    1. Ha! I keep hearing that same comment about the husbands tossing a junkie treasure. So funny...glad I'm not alone and thank you, Mari!!

  15. I gasped out loud when reading he threw that sled out because well we've been there in our household, a few times. Love the sled makeover and it looks so good next to your fireplace where YOU can enjoy it instead of passersby.

    1. Silly husbands!! They really don't get it sometimes! Haha! And thanks...we love it inside.

  16. We had one of those growing up for the one snow we had annually in Alabama! I love the makeover, and the wreath on it is so cute! LOVE this project!

    1. It's been snowing here for days now, Ricki. A once a season snow sounds fabulous!! And thank you!

  17. Well, that is cute as cute can be. I redid one for my son/DIL a couple of years ago with their name and anniversary on it. She loves it and puts it out every year. Your makeover is simple and really pops with those colors. xo Diana

    1. That sounds lovely, Diana! I was lazy with this one. I was considering a stencil...but I got lazy. Ha! xo

  18. Not sure if I love your stories or your crafts more. The combination is killer though Kim! I have a sled on my front porch. It’s my kids old one. My husband always want me to tie it up for fear someone will take it. I never considered that until todayπŸ˜€

    1. Susan, I keep reading this comment over and over, because I love it. Writing is my true passion and so this just made my day. And so funny, these sleds have become a hot commodity. Maybe you should tie it up!!

  19. Awesome!!! You got a sled to makeover. I would have been a little bummed if my hubby threw out a sled. Those things don't even exist here, well unless you find one that's meant for sand dunes :D I love the color you painted yours too. Anything green always makes me smile and then you dollied her up with a gorgeous red bow and flocked wreath. It's beautiful addition to your living room.

    1. He's usually so good about keep stuff, but I guess this time, he just thought it was worthless if it wasn't going to be used for a ride. Silly man! Doesn't he know that everything can be turned into decor? And sand dunes, huh? Sounds dreamy to me, the snow is piling up outside and the walls are closing in...summer, where are you??