Hello there! I’m back today with a super easy Goodwill project that almost never happened. ;) Last year I found a cute terrarium for only $5 at Goodwill, but it sat in my storage room all this time because it was just kinda…well, bland.

I love white and bright as much as the next person but this one was just there and not doing much for me:

white terrarium

I wasn’t even going to keep it -- I had it in my car to take to consignment shop a couple weeks ago, but I just couldn't bear to let go of it. It’s hard to find a large decorative piece like this (that has so many possible uses) for so cheap!

So like most of my projects, after a year the answer finally came to me. ;) I wanted to give it a look of a metal terrarium, something like this:


Mine doesn’t have glass, but that gives you an idea of what was in my head. I grabbed my brushed nickel spray paint and gave it a few coats. It took a few tries to get all of the edges and sides, but I wasn’t worried about great coverage because I was using it more like a primer.

Even though the nickel paint is fairly matte already, I knew it would still be too shiny for the look I was going for, so I pulled out the good old Rub ‘n Buff in Pewter:

rub n buff pewter

This stuff is pretty amazing – a little goes a VERY long way. And they come in a ton of different finishes. (I even tried turquoise on this at first and it was beautiful but not the look I wanted.)

You just put a little on your finger (or you can use a soft cloth) and then rub it on:

how to use rub and buff

Side note -- why do my fingers look so old??

Anyway, just rub it in till you get the look you want. I did most of the sides of this terrarium and barely made a dent in my tube. After it’s dry you can buff it with a cloth, but I didn’t do that on this one.

I couldn’t get a good shot of the difference it makes, but the pewter part is at the top of this pic, the nickel is at the bottom:

It just gave it even more of a matte look, like an older metal piece. Just what I wanted!:

faux metal with rub and buff

There were parts where I didn't rub it in as well on purpose, just to give it some texture and movement.

I feel like it has LIFE to it now:

faux metal terrarium

Eventually I want to get some smaller plants and find a few older looking terra cotta pots to line up inside, but I was trying to use what I had on hand to fill it for now:

faux metal look

I really love how it turned out! Not a bad little makeover for FREE! Well, $5 a year ago…so that counts as free now, right? I say it does.

It took longer to spray paint this thing than it did to add the Rub ‘n Buff. It’s hard to go wrong with this stuff – I love how you can add some depth and interest to ordinary items with it. I’ve used it for years now but never this color – I’m now scoping out the house for something I can use the turquoise color on. ;)

Have you used this paint? I love seeing how people use this stuff -- Carmel over at Our Fifth House uses it often and gives some great how-to tips here.