Saturday, June 17, 2017

Vintage Caster Wheel Photo Bookends

This is my husband's Father's Day present. 
I've been looking for some vintage caster wheels for awhile for this project and last week while driving home from a visit to my parent's, I spotted a "Barn Sale" sign and of course told my husband we HAVE to go check it out! It was an experience to say the least (more to come about the sale in another post!).  But while digging through the piles of stuff I spotted these wheels . . . covered in gunk, dirt and grease.  For 5.00 . . . they were mine!  I did some research on how to clean these.  Do you know there was actually an article on cleaning vintage steel caster wheels??

After first cleaning as much as I could with a wire brush, they went into a white vinegar bath for 24 hours.  Isn't that a pretty sight? Just look at all that crud that floated away.  Per the instructions, I rinsed them thoroughly and dried them.
I love that the vinegar bath even removed all of the crud in the nooks and crannies that I would have never been able to get to.  I also had to stabilize the 'swivel' of these.  If you are just making them for photo display, it wouldn't matter and you could skip this step. I just wound some thin wire around to disrupt the 'swivel'.
For the base I bought these moulding pieces from Home Depot for under 2.00 each.  I drilled the holes for the screws and then painted them black.  I added a piece of cork onto the bottoms to finish the base off.
All of this was the easy part.  The photos . . . that was another story.  I started by measuring the diameter of the wheels with a strip of paper to see how many/what size photos I needed for each wheel.
Then I printed a few sample strips, adjusted the photos and finally printed them on matte photo paper.  I cut them to fit the width of the wheel.  
  Then came my first "fail".  I tried using double stick tape to attach them to the wheels.  It didn't stick.  At all.  Toss that set out.  Print second set.
Go with good, old Mod Podge (I used the matte finish).  I applied a thick layer directly to the metal wheel, then to the back of the photo strip, then another layer on top of the photos.  I smoothed it out with my finger and set them aside to dry . . . until I realized I had applied the photos UPSIDE DOWN.  Because these are being used as bookends, I need the photos to be 'viewable' from a distinct direction.  Sigh.
After much peeling and scraping, I got most of the photo paper off and started all over again.
I did add a second coat of Mod Podge to seal them extra well and then they were finished!  The steel will continue to rust and age which I like.
I also did some research on the value of these . . . they are selling online for as much as 50.00 each so I think my $5.00 was well spent!
If you can't find two of these wheels, I think it makes a great photo display as a single wheel too.
Men are SO hard to buy/craft for!  What ideas do you have or have you made for the men in your life? I'd sure love more ideas!

On any given week (depending on how busy I am!) I love to participate in Link Parties.  These gals put a lot of time and effort into hosting these parties so I always want to show my appreciation by directing my readers to these blogs. 







  1. What a labor of love! A real treasure!

  2. How interesting, Lauren. I've never seen book ends quite like this before. You did a great job on them, and how creative that you used photos to compliment them. What a thoughtful and nice Father's Day gift.


  3. Oh Wow! These are incredibly cool, and what a wonderful way to display pictures in your home. I'm sure he loved it! All that struggle you went though was definitely worth it, they look great!

  4. Oh Lauren, the bookends turned out so fabulous! All your hard work certainly paid off, and I'm sure your hubby loved the gift. I am so impressed with your creativity. I once put photos on wooden blocks that I had cut at Home Depot, and spelled out my daughter's name on one side, and put photos on the other sides. I'm thinking of doing this for all the rest of my kids, too.

  5. Oh, my word! These are just the neatest things! Who would have thought? I LOVE how you always come up with ways to re-purpose things and make them into such amazing gifts! Thank you ever so much for sharing. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

  6. So I'm a little slow on the uptake and just figured out now why your blog is called "Wonderfully Made". HA! What a unique set of photo bookends. Great job!

  7. Wow! This is one of the most unique repurposing projects I've ever seen! I am sure he loved it! I'd like if you'd come share this with Party in Your PJs tonight. :)

  8. Wow, these are so cool! I will have to keep my eye out for some vintage wheels because I would love to have a set on my bookshelf! Thanks so much fo sharing! Pinned.

  9. Uh-maaaaaah-ZING!!! This are just wonderful! Love them! Great tip on the vinegar bath.

  10. Lauren, as Audra said before me, Uh-maaaaaah-ZING! What a grand idea and something I would never have thought of in a million years!

  11. These are wonderful, Lauren! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm! Pinned!

  12. How lovely to read this post today. 'Wonderfully made' is what I often say to my lovely cat as I stroke her. I had to smile when I saw you had put the photos upside down as it reminds me of going through trials in the Lord.
    You are very creative, and I love the way you persevered in achieving what you wanted to achieve. I think my husband would have liked those as a gift too.

    1. Thanks for your kind visit Brenda. I had a similar thought when the photos were upside down but mine was that we may "look" upside down to each other but in Christ, God sees us as "wonderfully made" even with all of our flaws!

  13. What a cute idea! Thank you for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  14. Hi Lauren! I love this project and will be featuring it tomorrow at our Vintage Charm party :)

    1. Thanks so much Diana! I've been away for awhile and I JUST saw this! I appreciate the feature!


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