Monday, February 4, 2019

12 Uses for a Vintage Washboard

When my friend, Mary Elizabeth, decided she was Moving To a Schoolhouse last month, she had to downsize in earnest. One of the (very few, honest!) things I rescued from her trash pile was a rusty old washboard.  And it didn't always look like this:

Here's how this little project started out. It was dirty and had so much rust on it that the interesting old lettering at the top was impossible to read.

I Googled " natural rust removers" and chose to try white vinegar and lemon juice. With the help of steel wool, a wet sanding block, and lots of elbow grease, they worked. I left on some rust just because I liked it! It was a messy job and it's freezing here in Maine right now so I did it at the kitchen sink after lining the counters on both sides with thick newspaper.

After most of the rust was removed. I rinsed the area well and set the washboard to dry overnight in front of our fireplace. The next day, I "prettied it up". The first step was oiling, and adding a little color to, the dry wood. I used Old English (Dark) for that. You apply it with a damp cloth and rub your brains out until you get the finish you like!

I let the Old English soak in and dry for an hour or two before completing the piece. I found this little wire basket at TJ Maxx for only $3.99 and purchased it to attach to the washboard (somehow!) to make it more functional. These baskets are pretty easy to find; I've also seen them at Home Goods and online.

I attached the basket with two small brown nails which I hoped would show - they didn't.

Then I just played around adding things that I thought would give this little project more uses: two antique coat hooks,

a wire across the front (you could use twine instead) to clip things to with mini-clothespins, and  two small screw eyes and wire across the back for hanging the piece from the wall.

And Voila! Done!
Now for the fun part: Staging it. I had so many ideas for how to use this little washboard turned wall art that my head was spinning! 

So here you go: My "Top Twelve" Ideas for Using a Repurposed Old Washboard (I bet you'll think of lots more!):

#1.  Storage for Hats, Mittens, Scarves in the Mud Room

(I'm writing this the day after the Super Bowl and we live in New England, so "Go Pats!")
#2.  Dog Accessory Organizer in the Mud Room
No staging on this idea because we no longer have a dog. But since we did have a Beagle, here's a cute one! My idea was to hang leashes from the coat hooks and use the wire basket for dog treats, a roll of doggie "poop bags" etc.  You'll have to use your imagination!
Image result for cute dog

#3. In the Laundry Room
A great place for lost socks and odds and ends of laundry supplies. Plus - how cute would this be on the laundry room wall?

#4. In the Guest Bathroom
(Heck - why not spoil yourself and hang it in your own bathroom!)

#5.  To Organize Your Greeting Cards  & Mailing Supplies

#6. To Display Plants, Inside or Out
I love this idea!

#7.  As a Reading Corner Next to Your Favorite Chair

#8.  To Display A Hobby or Collection

#9. In the Sewing Room

#10.  In a Farmhouse Kitchen

                            #11. To Display Favorite Dishes in the Dining Room

#12. And, of course, As a Message Board

I like all of these ideas so much that I think I'll have to hit the dump and flea markets and find myself eleven  ten (no dog!) more old washboards!
I can't wait to hear your washboard ideas. 
Leave me a comment?

p.s. My friend and felter-extraordinaire, Kathleen, just sent an e-mail comment on this post which included a photo of what she does with old washboards: felt on them, of course! Here is her latest creation, "Chloe". A work of art. Wow!

This post is linked to:
Inspire Me Tuesday #487 at A Stroll Through Life
Amaze Me Monday #300 at Dwellings
J & J Link Up Party #178 at Plucky's Second Thought
Homestyle Gathering 4 at My Wee Abode
To Grandma's House We Go Link Party #125 at Chas' Crazy Creations
Thursday Favorite Things at Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Best of the Weekend link party at Calypso In the Country
Flaunt It Friday #434 at Chic On A Shoestring
Farmhouse Friday Link Party #92 at The Painted Hinge
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects #464 at Funky Junk Interiors
Vintage Charm Party 169 at My Thrift Store Addiction


  1. My little favorite washboard has a new life, just like me. So glad it fell into good hands and creative ideas. I think it is as happy as I am with new purpose. Thank you to my Bestie for making us both feel brand new.

    1. Thanks, Mary Elizabeth. So glad you like it! ~Cheryl

  2. I especially like idea #6 (plants) and #8 (collection). That basket fits perfectly!

    1. Hi Kick,
      The one with the plants is my favorite as well! I was lucky to find a basket that fit so well; happened when I wasn't really looking! Thanks for stopping back and for taking a minute to comment. Nice to have feedback. Best, Cheryl

  3. Cheryl,
    LOVE these ideas as I have a vintage wash board myself!! I just might try something like this!! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting especially on my most recent post!! I am trying to focus on getting through this year and to retirement. I know that I may have to change my original plans but i have to take care of ME first and worry about other things later.
    I am thrilled that family does want some of my things and i do think that once i started to "Let Go" of things, it will become easier with time....
    Thanks so much for your support and encouragement!!

    1. I Debbie,
      Yes, I was really touched by your recent post about Letting Go. Retirement is a major life change and just thinking about it can be scary. I know it was for me. I think the trick is to take good care of yourself and to take it one day, one small step at a time. Maybe I've inspired you to do something special with your vintage washboard? If you ave any free time at all that is :-) Hang in there! Cheryl

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Brilliant Cheryl ! And SO many excellent ways to use the revitalized wash board - of course pinning and pinning.

    1. Thanks so much, Joy! I had fun doing it. !Cheryl

  6. Oh dear, no pin - my pin on photo's disappeared from my blogger blog and I cannot figure out how to get it back.

    1. Blogger can be fussy, can't it? Ypu've definitely got perserverence, Joy! Thanks for taking the time to not only pin, but to comment, on my post! ~Cheryl

  7. Decided to keep trying things out Cheryl - I always use Firefox and - no pin shows. Decided to try Chrome - and - SAVE is back (on your blog, on mine ...) I have no idea what the problem is but I decided to write about it in my next post in case anyone else has had the same problem. Whew, I pinned your wonderful washboard in with so many display ideas.

  8. So many different uses... I love the plant holder and the kitchen organizer! I have mine just hanging on a wall by itself in my kitchen... it's vintage, but in such good shape, it's lovey without anything on it. Thanks for sharing at Homestyle Gathering, Cheryl!

  9. Hi Julie,
    You're right - old kitchen items are beautiful just the way they are. I love the old wood, oily from so many hands, and the rusty metal textures. Found objects add so much character and warmth to a home! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a Comment! ~Cheryl

  10. Oh Cheryl, I love every single idea! I especially like that these are all your ideas and not a round-up from other sources. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. I'll be featuring you on Wednesday!

    1. Hi V.C., Thanks so much for the complement and for choosing to feature my post! Once I had the general idea of how to "jack up" the washboard, the ideas for uses came easily. My DH laughed as I kept changing it out ad re-hanging it! (I fear he thinks I go a bit crazy when I start staging for a blog post!) I'm going to give the washboard to a friend for her birthday - she loves rust and DIY. I love making things but have little room left in my own home to display them . I love your blog and will be checking out your Wednesday features. Thanks again! Have a great week, Cheryl

  11. Cheryl,
    I love all of these ideas. I pinned so many of them. I have my Grandmother's wash board and have been thinking of what to do with it. You have given me so many ideas. Just wanted to let you know that you are being featured at TFT.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Bev, Better Late Than Never! We've been traveling and I seem to have missed some of these comments. So happy my post gave you some ideas for your grandmother's washboard. I had so much fun "playing" with mine - DH was sure I'd lost it! Thanks so much for hosting TFT; it's one of my favorite blog parties. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Hugs, Cheryl

  12. Cheryl, those are all such great ideas. As much stuff (we won't say junk) as I have, I have never had a washboard. I have a great laundry room for one too! I'll have to add one to my stuff! Thanks for your visit to me. I enjoyed hearing from you so much and I am now signed up to receive your posts through email. That is the best way for me not to forget anything. I'm glad to be you bloggie friend..xxoJudy

    1. HI again, Judy, I think I missed a few comments while we've been camping so I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I'm so happy to have you as a new blog friend - that's my favorite thing about blogging - meeting new people with similar interests. Washboards aren't too hard to find at flea markets and your laundry room sounds like the perfect spot for one. If you find one, hope you'll post photos. Have a great week! Hugs, Cheryl

  13. Hi Cheryl,

    I'm your newest follower -- and thank you for following me! This is darling and I really do like how versatile it is and how you showed loads of options! Enjoy the weekend!

  14. HI Jeanie, Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I had a great time "playing" with my washboard and thinking of more and more possible uses. Have a good week. Hugs, Cheryl

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