Recently I came across this little booklet published by paint manufacturer DuPont way back in 1943. Because the U.S. was in the middle of World War II, there was a unique, shared sense of self-sacrifice as citizens learned to do without certain luxuries and make the best of what they had.
Inside the book there's a message from DuPont:
Today we are living a new kind of life. To conserve materials which are vital to our national sercurity, we are doing without many things we used to consider as necessities. We are "Making things do." We are happy to make these small sacrifices.
But there's no reason why our homes should be unattractive, dingy, run-down. This books shows how such things can be transformed into things of beauty. By creating pleasant surroundings, you are making a vital contribution to our national morale. We suggest that you transform your things in similar ways. You'll find it will make you happier, and better able to do your daily work, with a minimum expenditure of money and effort.
It sounds a lot like what what us "up-cyclers" are doing today, doesn't it? So without further ado, let me show you some examples from the DuPont booklet:
I've seen clever creations from frames like these for sale in antique malls. We can do this!
Old chairs are all over the place....
DuPont is big on decorative painting of old chairs:
For card table or other table tops:
I'm not sure about the color choices on the washstand, but I love the lamp. Find a brass garage sale lamp, spray it with primer, paint it a color, then decorate it:
A brightly decorated kitchen:
How to make a frame look antique. This can be done with acrylic paint and a dark stain like Walnut Ink, available at craft stores:
Ideas for table lamps and decorative shades:
Tole painting was a popular hobby at the time. Learning the various brush strokes would be helpful in order to decorate these items in this manner. I'd love to learn!
Examples of the strokes. I guess we could practice using these images for a guide:
I was surprised how many of DuPont's ideas have been repeated recently by "up-cyclers", seeming fresh and new. When it comes to antiques, I guess everything old is new again!