wide title image with a partial view of a reclaimed wood sign that reads "Baby, it's COLD Outside" and a pair of vintage ice skates mounted on blocks of wood with greens and glittered feathers and rusted bells and berries spraying out of the top

How to Make Charming Decor With Vintage Ice Skates

Turn vintage ice skates into Christmas decor or Winter decor accessories to use as accent pieces, bookends, centerpieces, or more.

Welcome to Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas Making: Decorating Edition where we are talking about how to upcycle vintage ice skates into charming home decor accessories.

 

12 Dyas of Making nlog post series graphic

But first, a quick moment of reflecting back a bit. See that mantel down below. Isn’t that the cutest. Reflects the Cozy, casual, earthy vibe of those Christmas stocking (my Cozy Copper group)  And those fabulous name tags are from Jane at Southern Calligraphy.

And that reclaimed wood sign? We made that on Day 7.

And the snow mounding on the sign? Yes that’s the decor fake snow from Day 5.

Phew! It’s been a busy 12 Days of Christmas Making!!! Now back to Day 9:

 

I was gifted a HUGE camping duffel bag full of ice skates from my kind, sweet Mother-in-Law.

She had saved the family’s ice skates over the many years they went skating at a nearby pond. There were over 20 pair in that bag!!!

I know, right? 

I was sooo touched and thrilled by this, that I was soon overcome with perfection analysis.

In my head: “These skates are so special and they deserve nothing only the best”

UGH! I let them get to me and they laid in that bag for at least 5 years. Isn’t that the saddest! Then the day came that we were moving from our large family home to our quirky little Bungilla. The 60’s lake house that starts as a square bungalow on the street side and morphs into a Mediterranean villa on the lake side.

Time to downsize. Time to make a lot of tough decisions. I couldn’t let go of that treasure bag though. I made a deal with myself. The skates could come with me as long as I pledged to give them a purpose within the first year.

Wood mantel decked out with a large wood sign that reads " Baby, It's COLD Outside" with snowball lights casually draped on the sign, a pair of vintage ice skates on one side and 7 Christmas stockings hanging below

This sweet new lake community has a Women’s Club. [And a Men’s Club, and a Retiree’s Club, and a Garden Club and the list goes on.] It’s at the Women’s Club that I found a way for the skates to spread joy and with purpose.

But first they needed makeovers. 

 

Closeup of pair of vintage ice skates mounted on wood block on a mantel with snowball lights around

How to Makeover Vintage Ice Skates

I kept the pair of the smallest skates for myself. They were my hubby’s first ice skates! I knew I wanted to make a standing decor piece. A pair that I could use in a tablescape, in my future bookshelves, perhps on the mantel. 

We’ve all see wreaths and swags with vintage ice skates, but I was concerned that wreaths would be a bit of a hard sell:

  • Typically you hang a pair on a wreath, so half the finished products to sell
  • A wreath  requires a larger investment in materials, so less profit
  • Wreaths are challenging to display at a craft fair.
  • Wreaths with skates are too heavy to hang on a door that is used much.
  • With today’s open floorplans, there isn’t as much wall space for hanging wreaths. 

How to A Display Base for Ice Skates

I needed  a  wood base to hold each skate upright. 

So I went to our amazing neighbor, Pete, who is an accomplished woodworker with an awesome workshop and a heart of gold.

 

Three wood bases showing closeup of the size, the curved edges and the channel for the blade

We started with 4 x 4 cedar posts. Then:

  1. Cut them in approximately 9-inch lengths.
  2. Then ripped the length in half. (now they are 9 x 3-1/2 X 1-3/4 inches)
  3. Routed the four edges of the top.
  4. down the center of the top, routed out a 1/2-inch deep channel, the thickness of the skate blades

 

Cloeup of vintage ice skate on a stained wood block with fir branches, a bird, little bundle of birch logs arranged in the open boot of the skate

Ideas for Decorating Old Ice Skates

 

With the help of two fun, artistic women, we went to town.

  1. Each skate was thoroughly cleaned. 
  2. Then paired with a wood base. Some blades were longer than others and some blades were thicker than others.
  3. The boots were polished or waxed or painted, or even glittered.
  4. Then the toes were stuffed with stiff packing paper and fitted with blocks of florist foam in the heel and up the ankle a bit.

 

The skates were purposely very different from each other to appeal to a broad range of styles and decor. You’ll want to decorate yours as boldly or simply as your style and your home begs.

    Closeup of one vintage ice skate om a block of wood with faux snow. Painted on the side of the skate is some fir branches and candy canes with fir branches flowing from the top of the skate
    Closeup of a white vintage ice skate on a block of wood with faux snow at the bas of the blade, holly painted on the side of the boot and grrens with berries flowingout the ankle of the skate

    One of the ladies did some beautiful detailed painting on the side of the boot on five skates. These paintings dictated the the remaining design elements:

    • the boot lace
    • the greenery and accents that would be added
    • the finish of the wood base
    • even whether the inside of the tongue would be covered with a fabric accent

    For the other 30+ skates, we let our inspiration come from the skate, or from a snippet of ribbon, or fabric or a sweet bird we had in our stashes.

    We added berries, and bulbs and bells and birds.

     

    Glossy red skate with green lace and candy cane inspired fillers

    Some skates were bright and shiny and spoke to Christmas specific.

     

    Vintage ice skate painted red and arranged with Christmas greens and poinsettia and burlap ribbon flowing from the top of the skate

    While others were not so holiday specific.

    Cloeup of vintage ice skate on a stained wood block with fir branches, a bird, little bundle of birch logs arranged in the open boot of the skate

    Some were more sedate, more neutral but every bit a unique statement piece.

    closeup of the greenery and accents spilling out of the top of the boot
    closeup of the greenery and accents spilling out of the top of the boot
    closeup of the greenery and accents spilling out of the top of the boot

     

    Look back at these samples and you’ll see even the bases were all a bit different, one stained a richer brown, one left natural , two with some dry brushing and two with faux snow and one of these was tilted at and angle. And some have their tongues tucked inside where others  the tongues are folded forward and some even had an accent fabric added o the inside padding

    And EVERY one was sold!!!

     

    I just LOVE this Christmas craft. I love that I have my hubby’s first skates. And love even more that they are no longer hidden away in a forgotten canvas bag in the corner of the garage, but out where we enjoy them.

    I hope you might try decorating with vintage ice skates on a display base where they can be used in so many ways.

     

    Did you catch Lynn’s post yesterday, Day 8? She shared what’s hanging above her fireplace this Christmas and tomorrow she’s sharing more casual  holiday entertaining centered around this fireplace of hers. I’m looking forward to it. See you there!

    Pinterest pin showing three images of ice skate decor with the title reading "Vintage Ice Skates as Decor"

    Thanks so very much for joining me today. Please share this with your friends and on your socials. Who knows, maybe when one of them stumbles on a pair of old skates, they’ll share one with you 😉. That’s what friends do — we share. Have a wonderful day, my friend!

    Here's to Joy-Filled Living, Diane
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