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Make Upcycled Salt and Pepper Shakers

Nov 11, 2014

by Amanda Kingloff

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

A dinner table, like a painter’s canvas, begins as a blank slate before every meal — with endless possibilities for setting a particular scene. For birthday dinners, holiday feasts, and even the occasional go-all-out-for-no-good-reason weeknight spread, I’m a big fan of orchestrating unexpected combinations: pairing rubber-stamped butcher paper with modern ceramic plates and napkin rings made from beads and twine, perhaps, or juxtaposing fine china with raw burlap placemats and wood-slice coasters. One surefire way to add some whimsy to a straitlaced arrangement or a little glitz to a more casual setting is with a set of glossy, gold-dipped salt and pepper shakers in a quirky shape — they’re a universal wild card that brings a special sparkle to any situation.

You can start with an ordinary pair of kitschy vintage shakers — I found these sassy little stallions right here on Etsy — and it only takes an hour or so of hands-on work to make them over. Read on for the simple instructions for adding some pizzazz to your holiday-season table settings.

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What you’ll need:

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Step 1: Insert toothpicks into salt and pepper holes: this prevents the paint from clogging them. Remove corks or stoppers.

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Step 2: Working in a well-ventilated area, spray-paint your shakers until no trace of the old color shows through.

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Step 3: Remove the toothpicks from the holes, then let the shakers dry completely.

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Step 4: Shake up the jar of enamel paint, then dip the bottom of each ceramic shaker in the paint until it’s covered to your liking. (If the shaker’s bottom is larger than the opening of the paint jar, dispense the paint into a disposable cup with a larger mouth first, then dip as described.)

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Step 5: Position each shaker on the end of a dowel or skewer (using the shaker’s refill hole) and stick the other end of the skewer in a jar of beans or sand to hold it in place while the paint dries. The enamel paint will collect a bit at the bottom, so wait at least two days before staging the shakers’ dinnertime debut.

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