Upcycling an Old Washboard into a Chicken Wire Frame

Upcycling an Old Washboard into a Chicken Wire Frame

Whenever I stumble upon an antiques mall that has a “Clearance Section” I am like a heat-seeking missile with one goal in mind: to find a broken vintage treasure (on the cheap!) to become my next repurposing project. And so, when my eyes fell upon this old washboard that was missing the actual washboard, I knew it was a moment of crafting kismet. It seemed destined for upcycling and would be perfect as primitive decor.

Old washboard or antique washboard at an antiques store for upcycling into primitive decor

I think we can all agree that this antique washboard had paid her dues in life. Between her missing washboard, her warped legs, and the fact that her frame would shift in your hands, she was in desperate need of some TLC!

To some, she was beyond repair, but to me…she was the poster child of possibility. 

Vintage washboard that needs to be upcycled and repurposed with chicken wire

My plan was to fix her up and transform her into a chicken wire frame. And thanks to some friends with a working farm, I had some chicken wire on hand!

Chicken wire from a farm to attach to an antique washboard

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Upcycling an Antique Washboard as a Chicken Wire Frame

First, I needed to stabilize her “moving” parts because, well, they shouldn’t slide in and out like that!

So I carefully applied some wood filler on the back side, in crevices and joints that couldn’t be seen.

Fixing an old washboard with plastic wood to make it more sturdy

Next, I made some make-shift clamps to hold everything securely using rubber bands. The bands would hold the shape of the old washboard as the plastic wood dried and cured overnight.

Allowing the plastic wood to dry in an antique washboard that needed to be fixed

Then, I decided to deepen the wood color of the old washboard, but not with wood stain. I tested stains on the back and they were all too dark for the parched wood.

So, all I did was wipe down the frame with wood oil using a soft, clean cloth. It’s amazing what a little wood conditioner can do!

Using the butcher block oil on an antique washboard or vintage washboard

Now it was time to transform the antique washboard into a chicken wire frame!

First, I laid out the chicken wire on my old washboard and grabbed my wire cutters to trim it down to size. The chicken wire was too ornery to measure first!

Attaching the chicken wire to an old washboard for primitive farmhouse decor

Using my staple gun, I carefully fixed it to the back of the old washboard, pulling it taut while trying not to affect the shape of the wire.

Using a staple gun to make a chicken wire frame with an antique washboard

Finally, I trimmed the chicken wire with my wire cutters and ensure that there were no sharp edges.

Trimming the chicken wire that was attached to the back of a vintage washboard

Upcycling an Old Washboard into a Chicken Wire Frame

And just like that, the old washboard had been fixed up and upcycled into a chicken wire frame!

Antique washboard with chicken wire frame for primitive country decor

But I wasn’t done!

I went through some old family photos and selected a few favorites of my grandparents and great-grandparents to clip to the chicken wire.

Old photographs that have been clipped to a chicken wire frame in an old washboard

Those miniature clothespins are just so handy. I’ve used them in several projects now, and they really are ideal for a chicken wire frame.

I just love how this chicken wire frame worked out! The antique washboard was in such bad shape, and I’m thrilled that I could save it as primitive farmhouse decor.

Primitive farmhouse decor with an antique washboard as a chicken wire frame

I can see other uses for my chicken wire frame, too. Maybe to hold recipe cards…or post cards…notes and reminders…etc.

And I still have some chicken wire leftover for a future project…hmm…

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for primitive decor, then you’ll love this windmill decor that I made from ceiling fan blades!

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Aw, now she gets to live life as a decorative piece instead of a working piece. I’d say she earned it! Looks great. I’m glad you rescued her!

  2. What a cute idea! Love it!

  3. Super cute!

  4. I think I’m in love. Great repurpose!

  5. Love it, Sarah! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm–pinned!

  6. Fonda Rush says

    That’s fun! I want something to clip photos onto, so I will keep my eyes open for anything that will lend itself to some kind of redo like this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you! A picture frame…or old crib rails…or a window pane…any of those would work!

  7. Perfect farmhouse style. I love how you can think outside the box and repurpose something–to me it looks like it comes so easily to you. Love it!

  8. Very cool, as usual! My mom had one of these vintage wash boards. Kinda wish she had kept it. Visiting from Remodelaholic.

  9. That is so cute & a great repurpose! Pinned.

  10. acraftymix says

    Awww Sarah she’s beautiful again and has a new lease on life. Just goes to show what a little bit of love and vision can achieve

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you! I chuckled when I saw your recent washboard post and figured we were DIYing on the same plane!!!!

  11. I really like this idea. I could even see it done with some lace or doily in place of the wire. I wish the logo showed up better.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Rose- in person you can read it a little better. It was originally a brass washboard (based on the brand name) and was from Chicago, IL.

  12. Good idea, indeed 🙂 I feel I could really use it!

  13. I love, love, love the way this came out! It would be great if I could find an old wash board because I could do something like this and up it in my office!

  14. Clearance is my favorite section too. Great job

  15. What a good idea! 🙂 Looks unique and nice.

  16. An excellent repurpose.

  17. What a cool idea! It looks perfect! Thank you for sharing in Sweet Inspiration Link Party 🙂


  18. JaneEllen says

    Love your reuse for old delapidated wash board, brilliant. Wonderful idea showing really old family photos, no framing involved. Every time you feature a reuse I want to make one also.
    Do have wash board bought in either MT or KY which never gets used so just might have to do some taking apart, do have some chicken wire or hardware cloth wire. Now all I have to do is find that wash board.
    Been busy making things can do in house, too darned hot to even hang sheets out. Will be 104 tomorrow, phewy. Love all your projects, always a winner.

  19. What a great idea! Makes a cute photo holder! I didn’t know that antique malls had clearance area. I will have to ask at our local antique mall to see if they have one.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you! I suppose not every antiques store has one- but if they do, it really is a great place for project parts. Broken things, etc. 🙂

  20. What a clever idea, Sarah. It looks great as a rustic frame. This was the Most Clicked from last week’s Snickerdoodle Party. All of the co-hosts will be featuring it today. Thanks for partying with us!

  21. Great idea to use the frame of the wash board as a photo frame. You definitely inspire me to look at things in a new way 🙂

  22. I love it! I love anything old and repurposing that washboard was a wonderful idea.

  23. What a cute idea! Love it! Enjoy weekend.

  24. This is so cute, Sarah! I can never resist an old washboard. Pinning and sharing on my page. ♡

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