Update furniture with wood embellishments

How much wood can a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

A wood chuck would chuck all the wood if a wood chuck only could…

One of the best gifts my Gram ever gave me was a box of these vintage wood embellishments that  she had had moldering in the basement of  her 1900’s era two flat in Chicago. When we moved her out she said I could throw them out or have them. I didn’t need them and this was before I did anything with furniture so I have to admit, I almost threw them out! Thank goodness instead I stuck them in a corner of my laundry room and forgot about them.. ! When I finally came across them again it was like finding a buried treasure… I’d love to say they are  fantastic memory of my Gram, but since she’s still kicking and crocheting  at 98, I am lucky enough to still have her around.
You can really update furniture with wood embellishments! I have been working on how to duplicate them with mold maker because I don’t want to use them…but I do love using store bought ones. I think they can really make a piece feel even more upscale for next to nothing.

You can find some at Micheal’s, Home Depot, Menard’s and a great on-line site called Van Dykes Restorer’s.

They have some nice big ones and fantastic corbels’ as well.

I think they just add a little something extra.

While it’s best to apply them to bare wood for adhesion, it’s as easy as roughing up the(glossy) surface you are going to apply them to with the roughest sandpaper you can find…

Apply wood glue ( love Gorilla Glue) on the applique and  a bit where you are going to glue it to and let it sit a few minutes to stiffen.The moisture will evaporate and the glue will be  a little tackier this way. I also use  a teeny bit of hot glue on the edges to act like a helping hand.

Quickly press very firmly and when the hot glue sets, use high tack painter’s tape to tape it on if you can’t clamp it ( clamping is the best- be careful not to shift the piece.). Wipe off any excess.
Some people like to use finishing nails. I’ve never had any luck with this on furniture and I’ve either cracked embellishments or the nails are too long.

Once the piece has set, you are ready to prime and paint.  It will be like a whole new piece!

:) Jen
If you like this post, you might also like:
Farmhouse style dresser with wood top and painted bottom
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  1. 5


    Oooh Jen, I LOVE what you’ve done with those. I’ve used them also but you’ve given me new ideas, chick! Very adorable, honey.

  2. 13


    My mom works at Van Dyke’s. I worked there after school when I was in high school. I used to pack up those pretty little things to be shipped out :o)

    I agree, they do add a little something to pieces.

  3. 14


    Nice treasure. I wood like it too. If you can copy them, I bet they’d sell good. Too old to still be copyrighted probably.

    The Texas Woman

  4. 15


    Hi Jen :)

    Those embellishments are beautiful! I’m so glad you didn’t throw them out. Wonderful job on the furniture :)

    Oh and your lady visit story…. cracked me up! LOL


  5. 16


    I love embellishments! You are so lucky to inherit so many…especially vintage…and free! Embellishments are pretty but can often be a bit pricey. I have just started working with them and love how they update a piece. Lurking around your blogs…I love your work. I am a paintaholic and your stuff is right up my alley!

  6. 24


    Those embellishments from your grandma are beautiful! I’ve always wanted to add an embellishment to a piece of furniture but haven’t had the “right” piece to use one. They do add so much character! Thanks for the tutorial! I’ll definitely bookmark that for future reference.

    Do you remember the buffet that I started refinishing in, oh, the summer? I e-mailed you to “consult” and help me troubleshoot a paint issue I was having. I FINALLY finished it! I posted pictures on my blog if you’d like to check them out. :) Thanks again for your help!!! You were so sweet to respond so quickly!

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