Well this is certainly an “out of the box” project for me…..but it serves several purposes and holds lots of meaning….so here we go!
I’m here to show you that you can make ANYTHING beautiful with just a little bit of paint and embellishments! If a wooden kidney on a stick (because who doesn’t want to DIY a wooden kidney) can look this good…..there is no excuse to have anything unsightly in your home! Absolutely anything can be given a fresh look or be painted to be more cohesive with the current design trends. If you can imagine it….it can be done!
So why paint a wooden kidney? I’ll tell you WHY I did this right after I tell you HOW I did it! Keep in mind that this exact project can be repeated on anything……a candlestick, a lamp base, a wooden box, a flower pot, or even a piece of furniture! The concepts are exactly the same!
I began with this raw wood figure and a molds from WoodUBend. I knew that the wooden kidney shape was just too flat for my liking. I prefer pieces with depth and texture. It makes all the difference when creating furniture….. just the addition of a few molds or trim or even texture additive to your paints! It’s like taking your project from Dollar Tree Vibe to Nordstroms! My project holds a message (which I will explain soon) and each mold was chosen specifically for that message.
I first painted all the pieces with Dixie Belle Fluff…. you know…my favorite white! I then used Titebond Glue to add the molds. I used the WoodUBend method of heating with a heat gun (skillets and blow driers also work) adding glue and pressing into place. The clock mold was a lot of fun as I got to wrap it around the front of the kidney. I then measured and cut WoodUBend trim to wrap around the square base. And I LOVE that the key hole mold fit perfectly around the hole where the stick fits!
I don’t always have a clear picture of what I want my finished project look to be. I didn’t think of adding the black and white checks until AFTER I had glued the wings and clock in place. In hindsight it would have been much easier to do the checkered pattern on the kidney and THEN glue the molds down. But shift and adapt is my motto this year….. so I shifted and adapted and drew out my pattern AROUND the molds! You can draw with pencil or sharpie on white paint…. or even a piece of chalk if your base coat is dark enough that you can see your chalk line. I usually use a sharpie marker.
I then used one of my tiny art brushes to paint in every other black square using my Caviar black by Dixie Belle. I then measured and drew my stripes for the base. Again…had I known I was going to paint stripes I would have done them before gluing down the key hole…. but you know….shift and adapt….and it still looks great! I painted every other stripe in Caviar.
Now to embellish the wings….. which I knew was going to be my favorite part! I chose Steel Magnolias from the Moonshine Metallic paint line. It’s this gorgeous pewter-ish color that has amazing coverage. I painted the entire wing and then wiped back with a damp cloth to expose the white beneath…..and left alone to dry.
I then chose the Bronze Metallic Paint from the Patina line…. and applied it to the key hole mold…. as well as the trim around the base. I then chose to paint the outer edge of the kidney and the stick with it……. and lightly enhanced the clock mold frame as well.
Now my favorite painting process….. black waxing!!! My favorite product by Dixie Belle is the Best Dang Wax in black! It adds drama and age and depth to your project like nothing else! I simply brushed on the water based wax completely covering the entire project…. and then using a damp cloth…. I just wiped it back! The dark wax settles into all the groves and low paint… .like the feathers on the wings and the deep groves in the base trim and key hole mold. It changes your project before your eyes!! It can be scary to do if you’ve never done it before….you spend all this time perfectly painting…. and then you slather solid black wax all over it! AGH! But trust me when I tell you…… try it!
And for the final step….. using my finger….. I applied Gold Gilding Wax over all the high points. I just barely dab my finger onto the lid of the wax pot…. and run it around all the carved areas with the lightest of touch! It’s sort of like adding a light shimmer to your eyebrow when doing your makeup! Just a simple brush over with your finger is all you need! Suddenly the wings began to shimmer and the base and key hole became noticeable! Gold makes everything better!
I did not use a top coat on this project….. because the black wax actually serves as a sealer and protector of the chalk mineral paint. It absorbs into the minerals and magic happens and the paint seals! Keep in mind that all paint… no matter what brand or type it is….. truly require 25-30 days cure time! This simply means…. they can be handled before that time… .but to be fully cured and ready for heavy traffic….. 25-30 days is needed.
Tell me this isn’t an amazing little statue of a kidney! I mean… .who wouldn’t want this kidney for their home??? I know I sure would…… and I’m here to tell you why! (this is the meaningful part)
A Story Close to My Heart
I was asked to paint this kidney as part of an auction to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. The person that asked me if I’d be willing to donate my time to this project… had no idea how strongly I feel about organ donation. Isn’t it funny how God puts you in places where you can share your experience in a way to help others?
My younger brother was diagnosed with complete kidney failure….. suddenly….. at 18 years old. It’s a long story of hidden symptoms that had been misdiagnosed for years but this isn’t the time or place for that. What I will share with you is this….. he waited two years for a kidney transplant. Life changes drastically while waiting for a donor when a major organ(s) has failed. It can be heavy and scary and limited. He felt all those things while waiting …. the entire family did.
And the transplant journey was one I will never forget. The freedom my brother…. and our entire family received….. after that first transplant was life changing. The transplant gave him wings…….. it bought him time….. it gifted us time with him……… it offered hope…….. and helped him to unlock his young adulthood and move into the realm of “real world” finally! Over the course of 10 years…. my brother’s first transplant failed. He spent years on dialysis and many hospital visits… and finally a second transplant. Another dose of freedom for him and another block of gifted time.
My brother lived TEN extra years after his first transplant. He died of a massive heart attack at 29…… while driving himself to the ER…. because he was independent and stubborn like that! I tell you this to not feel sad…. but to know that watching him blossom over those last ten years as he grew into a man….. was a gift.
A Gift that helps so many…
Organ donation is a gift. Every ONE donor has the ability to save EIGHT lives! Just in 2020 alone…. even with Covid going on….. there were 22,817 kidney transplants performed! Seventeen people die each day waiting for an organ donor. Every 9 minutes someone is added to the transplant wait list.
Let me close with this…… as an RN in a pediatric ICU….. I saw donations at their hardest. I helped care for children that were in need of transplants and were waiting on that list. I also had to have the difficult conversation with parents spending their final hours with their child in the fight for their life….. asking if they’d be willing to speak with someone about donating their child’s organs to another child in need on the wait list. It’s the hardest conversation ever…… and one that no one wants to initiate! But in the end…. when they were willing….. the passing child gave the gift of life to several other children and there is so much goodness in that.
I hope this blog…. as out of the box as it is…… inspires you to see the beauty and potential in even the simplest of décor. And I hope it brings you to pause just long enough to consider the gift of organ donation. Go here to learn more: https://www.kidney.org/transplantation XOXO, Tracey
If you’d like to watch a behind-the-scenes look into this out-of-the-box painting project, click below to watch the video on my YouTube channel! CLICK HERE to watch more of my YouTube videos!