Cottage Style Race Medal Display – A Tutorial

One of my goals for the year is to find a way to display the race medals that my husband and I have accumulated. We’ve got them stuffed into storage boxes in closets and the basement. I’ve been shopping for a large medal holder and just haven’t found the perfect thing. So I decided to make one from a wooden shutter.

Adapt this project for your own use! Make sure the louvers are fixed and strong enough to support whatever you hang from them. You could use a sturdy shutter and hooks to hang kitchen utensils, towels and aprons. If you have a young girl in your life, make a display for hair clips, bows and jewelry, etc. Create one for your garage or potting shed to hang work gloves and hand tools. The possibilities are endless!

Materials List:
A note about the paint: Eggshell or matte acrylic is best. I used leftover “oops” paint for this project and found that the semi-gloss topcoat peeled a little more than I liked during sanding. Choose a color for the undercoat that contrasts nicely with the topcoat.

  • Shutter
  • Paint for undercoat
  • Wax candle in white or ivory
  • Paint for topcoat
  • Old paint brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleat for hanging, rated for the weight of your project – I bought mine at Lowe’s
  • Optional – decorative trim of your choosing
  • Optional – spray matte sealer to protect the painted finish

I found this shutter at the Habitat ReStore and it is in great condition;
22″ wide by 66″ tall made from solid wood with wide louvers.
Weighing about 20 pounds, it’s not too heavy to hang on the wall.

The shutter had some brown stains on it that I initially thought were water damage, but it was just sawdust(?) and rinsed right off. I didn’t bother to sand it. I’m going for a rough/chippy/distressed look. A few lumps and bumps contribute to that.

The first step is to add paint in a color that contrasts with the top coat. I chose a chocolate brown paint, because I want the impression that the shutter is old and made from a dark wood. Apply the undercoat to corners, decorative trim and edges where time and use would have worn the paint away.

Next rub a wax candle on areas where you want the top coat to sand off easily. The wax will resist the paint. It’s important to use a white or light colored candle, otherwise you might stain the undercoat.

My sister gave me some enameled ‘his’ and ‘hers’ plates that are perfect for this project. Thanks, Allie!

Apply the wax heavily and don’t worry about removing the excess. Remember, we’re going for an aged/chippy/distressed look.

Now, it’s time for the top coat. If you have one, use an old project paint brush because jamming it down between the louvers will ruin the bristles. I tried using a foam brush and it didn’t hold up well.


Touch up any bare spots if needed and let the paint dry completely. Now, it’s time for the magic! If you’re like me and have forgotten where you waxed, start lightly sanding the piece and the paint will easily release in the waxed areas. Affix any decorative pieces and attach the hanging cleat to the back of the shutter and to the wall.

I bought the 200 lb. hanging cleat; you could certainly go lighter. This one has a level that slides into the cleat. We did not drill into studs to install, but the shutter is very secure.

The total cost of this project was $41. I paid $25 for the shutter, $15 for the hanging cleat and used about $1 of Oops paint.

Don’t mind my internet cable; I’ll place a basket there to hide it!

If you make this project, I would love to see it! Send me an email at arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 Β© Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

3 thoughts on “Cottage Style Race Medal Display – A Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Antiquing Technique for Painted Wood | Arthurized Home

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