Friday, 3 June 2016

Surprising even myself - Cast Iron Urns Revealed!

Most people who know me would likely describe me as a rather lazy creature. And to be honest, I will be the first one to agree with them. But after the excitement of finding a pair of cast iron urns for such a good price I decided to ride the wave of euphoria and get them cleaned up and painted as soon as possible.

It was too late to start by the time we got home from picking them up, so I set my mind upon working on them the next evening. All day at work I was antsy and giddy at the prospect of finally having a front entrance that looked "pretty". I told everyone I thought might care at all about my find and how I planned to spruce them up (no one cared quite as much as I did, and I could definitely tell they all thought I was crazy for the level of my excitement). 

Finally the work day ended and I raced home to change. I got all of my things together and then asked Jake to bring out the urns for me. I was then informed that I'd need to wait for him to finish cutting the grass first. There may have been some misguided phrases to have come out of me but there was nothing to be done for it, the grass was in need of a trim. 

My weapons of choice

Jake and I discussed our options for cleaning up the urns and decided on the simplistic approach of wire brushes, CLR, water, and a lot of vicious scrubbing. I started with the steel brush and went to town getting dirt and rust off of one of the urns without any liquid at all. I then poured a good amount of CLR into the glass and dipped my brush into that to go over the entire planter again. 

If you recall in my previous post, this is what they looked like when I picked them up: 

And this is what the first one looked like after a scrub wash: 

A pretty noticeable difference eh? 

I needed it to dry completely before I could put the first coat of paint on, and I was slowly losing the light, but I placed it in what direct sunlight I had and then went inside to eat some dinner. After about 15 minutes I turned it onto its side so that the sun could dry the interior. By the time I put my dishes in the sink it was ready to be painted. 

I used Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover in a matte black finish. For a brief spell I tossed around the idea of painting it with a glossy black but decided that the matte finish would look more traditional as well as hide the dirt and dust better. As far as WHICH paint to choose, I obviously knew it needed to be something that would adhere to cast iron and prevent further rust damage but beyond that I knew nothing. Lucky for me that Jake has over 4 years of experience working in the paint industry. I told him what colour I wanted and he directed me to the proper section of Home Depot where I could be ensured to select the proper paint. 

I ended up spraying three coats on each urn, making sure to flip it over to spray the underside and get into all of the details thoroughly.

I used a whole can of spray paint for each one and it was the perfect amount. It took me a few days to complete both of them, especially the second one because I was rained out and couldn't fit in the time to paint the underside. But by the weekend I had two black, cast iron urns that looked practically brand new. 

I only used about a quarter of the CLR and I made sure to clean my wire brushes and put them back in their casing for future use should the need arise. So I don't think I'd count their cost toward the overall expense but even if I did, it came to about $100 all-in for something that I will have for years to come. 

On the May 2-4 long weekend, you'll remember one of the things I completed was to plant flowers in my urns. Earlier that week I had bought a number of plants from our local grocery store and I (with the assistance of my friend, Candice) set up the urns on either side of our front door and planted them. 

I chose purple and orangey-gold tones to really brighten up the space for the rest of spring and summer. Don't ask me what type of flowers I chose... I'm brand new to this gardening thing and like a very poor blog author, I didn't look at the tags beyond the label that said "full sun". 

I'm not done with my sprucing up efforts quite yet, but I am very, VERY pleased with how they turned out. 

I've had them set up for about two weeks now and have yet to kill them, which is a miracle really. I've been quite diligent with their maintenance and hope to have them healthy until the fall when I will likely swap these flowers out for some mums. 
 What do you think? 

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