Tool Caddy Makeover

Hello lovely friends! Up for a little makeover today?? Always, right? Me too!

Today I am sharing what I did with this very utilitarian looking tool caddy:

I rarely pass on simple caddies/crates/totes, whatever you want to call them, because they can be so charming! This one was anything but, however it was only $5 and I figured swapping out that handle would fix that.

Here is how it looks after a day in my workshop:

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil, from

Much more charming, don’t you think?

I started by filling in the holes in the plywood with wood filler, and sanding those curved edges smooth.  Then I painted the caddy in the leftover paint from my walls. I love this subtle gray/beige. It’s Campfire Ash by Behr.

Actually when I first painted it, I thought it was too light and painted over it with a darker taupe color I had. Then I realized I liked the lighter color better, and painted it back.

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

It worked out though because when I lightly sanded the surface, some of that darker color came through, which I like. I have included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I use.

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

I decided to add a stencil to the front. You can find the stencil I used here. I only used part of it…

Add a stencil to freshen up a decor piece!

I used spray adhesive on the back of the stencil to hold it in place, and a small brush to paint in the stencil using chalk paint. I did two coats, brushing away from the edges as much as possible. I also filled in the breaks in the stencil.

After removing the stencil and letting the paint dry, I sanded across it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to knock it down a bit and make it smooth.


Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

Now normally I would just go rootin through my big ole stash of wood pieces and parts in the garage to find something I could use for a handle, but since my Hubby tossed said stash in the move ( I just can’t let that go, can I??), I had to go on the hunt elsewhere.

I tried the two thrift stores nearest to me to see if I could find a sad chair or table that I could steal a spindle from, but no luck. I did find a gorgeous dressing table for $30 though!

So I finally decided to settle for a wooden dowel since surely it would be better than that metal handle. Home depot had just what I needed but it was almost $5!! No way…$5 for a dowel?! So I decided to dig a bit more and guess what I found? A deck spindle!

And it was only $2! Perfect!

I brought it home, cut it to fit with my miter saw, spray painted it dark brown, then painted it in my DIY chalk paint (recipe HERE) in Ultra Pure White.  I lightly sanded it and I used my nail gun to attach it to the caddy.

It makes a great handle!

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

So much prettier than the metal one it had originally.

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from


Because the ends still showed big holes where the metal handle had been, I needed to either fill them, or find something to cover them. These knobs that came off of my boys’ baby changing table worked perfectly! (See what I did with their changing table HERE.)

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

I glued them in place with wood glue, and used clamps to hold them in place until they dried. Everything got a coat of MMS wax to seal.


Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

This faux lavender came from Hobby Lobby.

Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

I love how this cutie turned out. I was redoing it to take it to my booth, but it has already found a home on my built-ins. 🙂Tool caddy updated with a new handle, paint, and a stencil from

I need to get this house done already so I can get my poor booth filled. I want to keep everything I redo!

So speaking of getting the house done, we started tearing out the flooring in the entry and the dining room. We’re also removing the carpet in my office which is right across from the dining room. That whole area is getting the same hardwood floors that we put in the living room. I’ll be back on Thursday to share how far we’ve gotten, and a snag we’ve run into already!

UPDATE: See how far we got on our floors and what issues we’ve run into already HERE

And if you haven’t joined us already, we have a fun new Facebook Group made just for thrifty makeover lovers like us:

It’s totally free and filled with nothing but thrifty projects and makeover ideas. There are also opportunities to share your own thrifty makeovers and finds if you like! Visit it HERE and request to join! 🙂



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  1. Clever and so beautiful!

  2. Christina in FL says

    Super fun makeover Christy. The spindle was a brilliant choice. If this goes in your shop, I know it will sell fast!

  3. Love the caddy. Your house is going to be beautiful when you finish. Enjoyed the Halloween decor last week.

  4. This is so awesome. I have a few of these been wanting to do just can’t get past the brain hangup. So thank you now I know what to do. I never knew those spindles we’re so cheap. Trip back to Home Depot. My girls said for Christmas they are buying me stock in the company lol.

    • Thanks, Bonnie! Sometimes when I get a block on what I want to do with something, I pull it out and slap a coat of paint on it…usually an idea of what to do next comes to mind. That’s what I did here…and yes those spindles are super cheap! I never realized either! Love me some Hone Depot. 🙂 XOXO

  5. Sometimes it is hard to part with things we make because they are so cute, such as this tool caddy. The new handle and stencil were just the thing to make it so much nicer.

    • Thanks, Debra! My last house was totally done so I never felt the need to keep the things I redid. I am having a hard time here since I still need pieces for this house. Hopefully when this house is done, my poor booth will get some love again lol! XOXO

  6. Oh, only if I had your insight!! I love what you’ve done to this tool caddy. I would have passed it up in a heartbeat by thinking it still belonged in the garage! You never cease to amaze me.

    • Thank you so much, Vivian! I’ll admit I had my reservations about this one, but glad it worked out! XOXO

  7. Love it! Totes are some of my favorite finds. They are great for all sorts of things. I have a huge one and I’m thinking it needs a makeover. It’s my DVD storage now but the paint job on it is meh. I never got around to redoing it. Now I think I must! ????

    • Thanks, Cecilia! I love totes as well…almost always buy them when I find them! Glad you were inspired to redo yours! XOXO

  8. Reading about your makeovers is like going on an adventure! lol 🙂 I like Home depot as well…I could spend a great deal of time just wandering around..much to my husbands dismay. You have to forgive your hubby….and hide your stash from now on!! I am making a chalkboard from an old frame of a mirror. It will be done this week;hopefully.

    • Aww thank you, Melinda!! I love me some Home Depot! Ah yes, my poor hubby…I think he learned his lesson lol. Glad to hear you are making a chalkboard! I’m sure it will turn out awesome!! XOXO

  9. So cute! I can’t wait to see how the rest of your house looks with the pretty new flooring! Always never done, right?!! I know all about that! lol xoxo

    • Thanks, Nancy! I am so ready to get these two front rooms going! We removed all the flooring and today I painted all the trim in the office… not my favorite task! Tomorrow I’ll be painting the dining room and entry trim yay! 🙂 XOXO

  10. Robyn Wright says

    So pretty! How long would you say that project took to do?

    • Thanks, Robyn! This project could easily be done in a few hours if you include dry time. 🙂

  11. Marcie Lovett says

    Somehow, I thought it fit too well with your style! You have such a good eye, Christy, and you’re on your way to starting a new “spare parts” stash.

    • Ha you know me well, Marcie, thank you! And yes, I have a new stash going, and I’m pretty sure my Hubby learned his lesson lol. XOXO

  12. Love how multiple items were repurposed to upcycle this very pretty caddy, Christy! pinned

  13. Tina Matteson says

    This is beautiful! Great job!

  14. Christy, I just love, love, love this little caddy! You must have a hard time parting with any of your creations, they are just so great. When I saw the lavender I thought, “oh, she’s got fresh lavender. I wish I had some.” And then you said it was faux. It looks wonderful in the box.

    • Thank you, MaryJean! I had no intentions of keeping this one, but I just loved the end result. And yep, that lavender came from Hobby Lobby. Doesn’t it look so real? They are half off every other week if you have a HL near you. This was about $20 worth, but unfortunately they don’t smell as pretty as the real deal! XOXO

  15. Norma Rolader says

    I like what you did with the box it is now beautiful

  16. What a cute makeover. Perfect for lavender! x

  17. Julie Briones says

    A deck spindle?!!! Now THAT’S the tip of the day! Very pretty, as always!

  18. You always amaze me with your ability to see potential in things. I would have looked at that thing and said, “Ooh.” And then walked away without it. The handle and paint made all of the difference. It’s lovely.

    • Thank you so much, Christine!! I was happy that the metal handle wasn’t too hard to remove! XO

  19. I like it! The color is perfect! I’ve got some sad brown caddies that I’m converting over to whites now too. (Got a show in 20 days! Eeek!) My favorite part is the knobs on the ends though. Genius!!! Sometimes those ends NEED something… never thought of knobs!

    • Thank you, Becky! I love this color on my walls, and thought why not try it on this little caddy? Oh I remember the storm before a show very well! Good luck getting ready and at your show!! XOXO

  20. So pretty, Nancy! I just love the caddy makeover!

  21. I love this. Such a cute idea. Did you upholster your dining chairs, the ones with the black stripes? If so, was it hard to do considering there are two levels to the seat cushions?