DIY Photo Prop: Vintage Cheese Wheel Bucket Makeover

I love when I can take something I find while thrifting and turn it into the vision I had in my head. This DIY photo prop makeover was the perfect example of that!

I’d bought an old vintage cheese box at the thrift store a couple weeks ago for $7.99. These were used back in the 50s to hold curing wheels of cheese. This is a tall container, large enough that my 2 1/2-year-old can easily sit inside with room to spare. I had a finished version in mind when I bought it, perfect for posing newborn babies in with support and faux fur or to use with an older baby sitting in it or a toddler standing next to it or sitting on top of it.

Here’s the before picture:

I stained the entire thing with some extra Minwax Cherry stain I had around from a previous shelf project and let it dry overnight. I then dry brushed randomly over the entire thing with Behr Antique White acrylic paint I’d purchased for another project I haven’t even started (but who’s paying attention anyway?).

I then used metal pot scrubbers and went over the entire container and lid, removing as much of the paint as I wanted for the finish I was going for. I generally followed these directions from Cherished Bliss if you’re interested. She suggested using steel wool, but I couldn’t find any locally that didn’t come with soap in it, so I settled on the pot scrubbers. They worked pretty well to remove some of the excess paint. Here’s what it looked like at this point:

I wanted to add some graphics to the container, so I found a great one on Etsy here, and transferred it onto the lid of the bin and one side using this technique. You basically print the graphic in reverse, then coat the entire thing in a transfer medium like Modge Podge and apply it to the wood. Let dry overnight, then using a wet sponge, rub the paper off. It leaves the image behind. Here’s what my images looked like printed out:

Once it was dry, I sealed the entire thing with Minwax Satin Finish Polyurethane and a cheap paintbrush I had in my stash. So, overall, this project cost $8 for the bin and $3 for the graphic … a few days work and $11 later, here’s the finished product!

I can’t wait to use it with some newborn babies in the studio! In my down time, I’m working on making newborn “fluff” by deconstructing skeins of yarn in various colors that will be used as basket and bucket fillers and coordinate with my many newborn cheesecloth wraps. I have newborn posing pillows on order and they should be here within the next week or so.

I’m getting pretty close to having a real, working photography studio … just waiting on the not-so-fun stuff like a business insurance quote and some bookkeeping (ughh!).






  • Angela | The Fancy Ranch Life

    This is really cute! My first thought was that it would be awesome with newborns, so you’ll have to post pics once you use it.

  • Ayana

    I love this! What a brilliant and creative idea! Looks pretty simple to execute, too!

  • Sarah Burkert

    Oh my goodness. How creative. Love it.

  • Sharon Chen

    Great work! I’d like to learn how to do these things, too!