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Claw foot tub restoration

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

I am so excited to share with you this project I have been working on the last several weeks. If you follow along on my instagram page, then you know that this, like many, of my projects take longer than I'd like. That often just comes with the territory of working full time and then some plus tiny humans that run your life.

We were planning on putting a stock tank pool in the backyard but eventually decided to hold off on it because it didn't feel right to us. Plus we already had a stock tank planter in the backyard and thought having multiple for our yard might be a little too much.

I wanted to give my girls something in the backyard that they could enjoy the summer in versus our old plastic or blow up pools we had for them in the past. I wanted whimsey and design, texture and color. Once I saw some inspiration pictures of claw foot tubs in the backyard, mostly as planter boxes, I knew this is exactly what we needed for our yard. So, I began the hunt. There were tons of claw foot tubs for sale in my area, all of which were super over priced and really damaged. I found this one and bargained my way into settling on a reasonable price for us. The pictures the lady actually posted of this tub showed two of the feet missing which was a common theme during our search for a tub. So when we got there to pick it up, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all four feet were in tact!

We set it up on a tarp and blasted it with our pressure washer.

We found that there was a lot of rust, many many layers of paint and one of the cast iron pieces for one of the feet was so corroded, it broke off. I tried to epoxy it on but it just didn't hold, wishful thinking though. I just figured I would dub it for a 4x4, which I did, and just placed the foot in front of it as though it was not broken. Still works, still is beautiful. There were layers of white paint, yellow paint, green and a weird blue. Many layers, many homes I am sure and many, many years of this tub being used. And now it rests, here, with us, at our home with our tiny humans.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the numbers on the bottom of the tub tell you how big it is. This is a 6ft tub and I believe, it was made 11/09/1926 ? What do you think? maybe it was made in 1911? Either way, this beast is old and now I will give it some life.

Each foot has their number too, the details make my heart full and the quality of work that old pieces have is astonishing.

Once the tub was completely dry, I went to work, sanding and more sanding, all the grits and even still after hours of sanding there are still imperfections but we got it down as smooth as we could. If I were to do it over, I would have liked to get it sand blasted. I think that would help get those tough spots nice and smooth.

Wiped it all down with a microfiber cloth to get all of the particles off it and begun to primer it. We used Kilz all purpose primer and I had to do 4 layers in order for it to keep the rust at bay. 3 layers would have been fine but I added an extra for goo measure. We use this primer for pretty much all project, metal, wood, you name it, this is our go to primer and we like it.

Then we added our paint. I was torn between pink, black or green. Yeah I know, all very different but those were the colors in my head and it was really hard for me to pick. Who knows, maybe in a year from now it will be a different color but we settled on forest green and I love it. We did 3 layers of green. I also primed the feet with primer/sealer and hit it with a classic gold.

Can you see the imperfections? And this was after all of the work we put into it trying to get it as soon as we could and still, there were many imperfections but I am ok with it. We love it.

We moved this heavy, very heavy beast all the way across out yard into its final resting place with sanded and pea gravel as well as a piece of our hearth stone from out fireplace that we had as extra from our fireplace makeover. Use what you have when you can. It worked out perfectly. We had extra pea gravel from our urban garden area and just moved some of it over for the tub area.

Now, how could I really make this tub pop? That ugly brown stucco wall was not the bees knees so I rallied my friends and was donated some old fence boards to make a feature wall to hang behind the tub. We planked everything together, used our nail gun so it was super easy, drilled some holes, threaded some chain and hung it from the roof rafters. This is pretty much what I did when I made my Market sign too.

And now, the final piece, I strung some old Christmas lights on the back of the feature wall to add more whimsey and soft lighting and DONE!! How beautiful is this piece?!?

Next post I will share with you how I refinished the inside of the tub and hopefully some new har Stay tuned.



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