Would you believe me if I told you these antique gumball machines actually began life as cheap looking plastic toys from the Dollar Store?
I’ve always loved gumball machines. I think there’s just something sweet and nostalgic about them. If you’re ever lucky enough to find a genuine antique one and an estate sale or antique store, then you already know how pricey they are. And by the way, is it gumball or gum ball? Grammar experts chime in…
Anyway, back to those antiques. I love the look but not the price, and I just want to use them around the house for fun. So, I’m sharing with you the technique I used to update a few I found at Dollar Tree (just search gumball and you’ll see them). This project is so, so easy. I finished mine in about an hour.
Originally, these are predictably cheap and plastic looking, and a glaring shade of red. If you find some that are a more authentic shade of red, you could skip right over the first step, which is to paint them a new color.
To begin, take your gum ball machine apart, and spray the top and base, making sure to paint all the areas. I used my favorite Krylon metallic gold spray paint.
When they’re dry, you’re going to use the same faux antiquing method I shared in this post about making vintage looking Fall decor.
To recap, you’re basically taking a section at a time, and wiping on black craft paint making sure to get in all the nooks & crannies, and then wiping it back off. A bit should be left behind, giving the gold paint that rich patina look that you’re going for.
I highly recommend plugging the inside with hot glue, paper, whatever you can so that your filling doesn’t come out where the gum balls are supposed to.
I even glued the mouth shut on one of mine.
To fill these, I opened the top, and used needle nose pliers to arrange my plants inside.
And, that’s about it for the steps in this project! Can you believe how simple that transformation was?
For now, I’m using mine as succulent terrariums (fake succulents of course) but I have big plans for these this Christmas! I’ll be sure to share them when I do.
It’s easy to updates these into pretty winter snow globes!
Simply empty the succulents and rocks and add epsom salt. This gives it a pretty sparkly snow looking base.
Add a few mini trees (I found mine in the Dollar section of Target), and tie a tree to the top of vintage looking Hot Wheels cars.
Tie on a festive bow, and you’re all set to decorate your home for Christmas!