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Toy Grocery Shop Restoration – Finished At Last

Long time readers will know that two years ago *ahem* a little while back I bought a toy grocery shop at a flea market. I had big plans to do it up and have it ready for Number Three’s first birthday party. I had a rocking horse for him too, similarly in need of work.

His birthday came and went and was all very underwhelming. He was sick and I hadn’t got the presents finished on time. Bad mammying on my part. A few days later the horse was finally ready. The shop, however, was still in it’s original, tattered state. Here’s a reminder of what it looked like.


As you can see, it had potential but it needed doing up. At the time I first wrote about this project several people suggested pillar box red as a colour to go with. I can see the appeal, but I wasn’t sure how that would go down with my boys.

By one of those strange coincidences, three days after I finished off our little shop, we saw this red one on sale at a flea market. 15€ is all the seller wanted for it! If I had known two years ago that this opportunity would arise, I’m not sure if I would have bothered with doing up ours. It was A LOT of work.

Pillar Box Red Kaufladen.PNG

That said, ours is a one off now. Rejecting red, I chose blues and greens and got to work, albeit in fits and starts. The cream coloured paint that the shop was covered in was ultra glossy and a real challenge to paint over.

In the end I stray painted it blue. Spray paint seemed the only paint that would stick. Even chalk paint wouldn’t stick to the shiniest parts of the paint. Once the spray paint had dried well, I painted Annie Sloan chalk paint in Louis Blue over the whole shop, then sanded and waxed it with Annie Sloan clear wax. At the edges I sanded away a bit more to let the darker blue spray paint show through.

Blue alone looked too plain, so I got out the Larch green Quick chalk paint I bought last year. It was the original paint I planned to use for this project but it wouldn’t take to the shiny surface. Once I had a base of Annie Sloan, the Quick brand paint held. On the front panel I painted a rectangle of blackboard paint. It breaks up the mass of green and it means Number Three can scribble on there.

Here’s how it looks now.


Simply painted blue and green, I wasn’t quite happy with the  look. I was quite disappointed in myself and felt I should have taken a different approach entirely.  In fact I was quite tempted to give up on it and buy Number Three something shop-bought for his birthday present.

Generally I am not a giver upper. I gave myself a bit of a shake, told myself to cop on and get on with making this project work. The night before Number Three’s birthday I sat up till late sewing bunting and adding tins, toys and little grocery packets to the shelves till I was happy with what I saw.

Number Three seems happy with his little shop too. It can be a grocery shop, a toy shop, a cafe or a bakery. He potters about in it, sometimes playing nicely, other times taking great pleasure in taking the objects from the shelves and flinging them around the room. But at least he plays with it.



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17 thoughts on “Toy Grocery Shop Restoration – Finished At Last

  1. This is fabulous! And I am one of those people who remembers when you got it! It was well worth the wait! 🙂 xxx

    1. Yes, I love the old stuff, as you have probably guessed by now. Part of it is the history, part of it is the charm and part of it is the process of restoration. I’m really pleased that the little fella has taken to it so well.

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