Old 2×4 Reclaimed, Repurposed & Brought to Life

So I came across this weathered, rust stained scrap piece of 2×4, thoughtlessly discarded and left for… well, scrap.

Weathered 2x4 Wood Scrap

See, it even comes complete with the dust and grime from where it was left to decay! But I saw beyond all this. To me there was a natural beauty here that was just being wasted away.

DIY inspired, I came to its rescue and cleaned up the 2×4, then gave it a quick coat of Annie Sloan’s Light Wax.

Rust Stained Reclaimed 2x4

It’s hard to see the shine, but if you look back at the rescue photo, you can see a little more spit and polish here. Don’t you think it looks posh with black?

I was pretty proud of my rescued 2×4.

And then my brother popped over, and nearly laughed me right out of my own home! He was not on board (pun intended!) with my affection for this rusted, aged chunk of wood. He did not see it as a thing of beauty. Not. At. All!

So the challenge was on!

I went back and forth with ideas… like making a small shelf mounted on tiny corbels, or a base for a collection of bud vases, or cutting it down and creating book ends… and finally I decided on a tealight valet… sounds pretty uptown, right?

To do this all you need is a 1-1/2″ spade bit to make the holes.

This is the one we bought.

Spade Drill Bit

Looks kind of intimidating, especially with the ‘Dare Devil’ graphic. Evil almost!

I got my Mr. to do the heavy lifting on this part. Here he’s doing a test run on an actual scrap piece of 2×4… notice, it’s white?

Testing Spade Bit

Totally recommend that you try a few test holes first, because evil it nearly was.

This bit is bossy and tries to take over the show, grabbing and pulling where it wants to go!

Spade Bit in Use

Check out the chunks of wood it chews up! If you’re not careful, it will spin the drill right out of your hand!

But I have to say, Dare Devil does make a fairly clean hole.

1-1/2" Spade Bit Drilled Holes

I lightly sanded the inside and top edges of these holes to remove the rough wood the spade bit left behind.

And then gave each hole a clear coat of Varathane…

Satin Varathane

Just to give them a finishing touch… even though you won’t see them.

Reclaimed 2x4 with Spade Bit Holes

Looks pretty rough here, but do you see where I’m going?

This tea light candle holder is not a new idea, not an original of mine at all. In fact Pinterest has lots and lots of variations if you’re interested in a little inspiration for your own!

Once the Varathane was dry I did another coat of Annie Sloan Light Wax, and this one I actually applied a little heavier.

See how smooth and shiny it looks?

Repurposed Rusty 2x4 Tea Light Holder

I wanted the rusty marks and the grain to really come alive, and the light from the candles to bounce off the surface…

Reclaimed Wood Tea Light Valet

From one end…

Reclaimed 2x4 Tea Light Holder

To the other.

Reclaimed 2x4 Tea Light Holder

I really like the way the rust marks stand out against the weathered wood.

Reclaimed 2x4 Tea Light Holder

Isn’t the grain pretty?

I originally planned to use tea lights set in clear cases instead of the metal ones. But, I discovered that the clear cases are slightly larger than the 1-1/2″ spade bit, and they’re a lot deeper than the metal cases. So if you’re planning to try this DIY, I thought you should know this before hand.

So what do you think? Is this an old scrap piece of wood to you, or do you see a thing of reclaimed beauty, too?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

22 Replies to “Old 2×4 Reclaimed, Repurposed & Brought to Life”

    1. That’s too funny – you know, my brother said his shop was full of ‘scraps’ like this one, so I bet if I wanted to make a deal with him, I could actually pursue your suggestion!

  1. Sheila, Hands down you won the argument with your brother. That piece you made looks like something I would see in a store with a $50.00 price tag on it…just beautiful! I have a few old pieces of driftwood and might do the exact thing thing! Thanks for the tip.

    1. Linda, you just made my day! I can’t wait to pass that along to my brother 😉
      You know, I think driftwood put to use in this way would be so pretty. There’s one on Pinterest that I just love…

  2. I love making something old new again. That candle holder is fantastic and I really like the rustic quality it brings to a room. I find it funny that you wrote about your brother. My brother had a trunk in his room growing up and when I moved out I asked if I could have it. He always had a cover and a TV sitting on it (amongst other things) and really had no attachment to it (I think he actually thought it was ugly). When he came over and saw it at my place for the first time, he wanted it back. I had it styled and you could actually see the true beauty. He’s never getting it back!

  3. That is a BEAUTIFUL piece of wood and so worth rescuing from the scrap heap! I love the colour and the grain – the wax really brings it to life 🙂 And the candle flames DO reflect off the finish 🙂

    You’re absolutely right, we all have our own personal tastes and likes/dislikes. If we all liked the same things, the world with be a pretty boring place!

    1. Thank you, Kelly! Isn’t it amazing what the wax does for the wood? I love how it gives the wood a soft, worn look without being too shiny. I wanted some shine, but not a high gloss shine…

  4. I just love to hear about people using reclaimed lumber. I’m starting to notice that the old barns along the highway are starting to be disassembled carefully….. hmmmm I wonder what they will become.

  5. You know people would pay a lot of money for something like that – I love it. It’s funny how our tastes and opinions differ from others. My brother has little taste or opinion when it comes to home decor. He’d say “great” – I can hear him saying it now.

  6. Good for you for sticking to your plans and following through. I think it turned out so beautiful, you have alot of foresight to see the beauty that was hidden. You are so right we need to find pieces for our homes that speak to us and not everyone hears the same voice.

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