How to Emboss Anything ~ Farmhouse Trash Can

Do you know what time it is? eep! It’s Trash to Treasure Tuesday and my gal friends and I are ready to inspire. Each month we get together to share our latest DIY projects with you. I’ll share there’s in a bit. Today, I’m eager to revisit a technique I use often. I’m sharing how to emboss anything: plastic, wood, metal, glass…you get the idea. Meet my hot pink subject.

Thrifted Pink Trash Can Before Farmhouse Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

It was just sitting there in all it’s hot pink-ness begging me to give it a makeover. Would you have answered the call?

Also, I am by no means against pink in any form, however, it doesn’t quite match my farmhouse/Nordic/French/cottage/industrial style. And…just so you know, this isn’t the first pink revival I’ve done. Do you remember my pink bin turned bathroom storage? Take a peek HERE.

Hot Pink Trash Can Ready for a Farmhouse Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)


Initially, when you look at my trash can, you’ll see it’s brand new, shiny, and glossy. You might think that would make for a hard case of changing it up. However, it’s really all about know what steps on how to emboss it. I’ve not only created a video tutorial to show you how (see below), but I’m also outlining the steps in text form too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1

One of the first steps when prepping any project is to make sure the surface is ready to receive paint. In this instance, we need to etch the glossy finish a bit so it has tooth to hold paint. You could use a product called a deglosser, as it does the same thing as sand paper. However, I prefer to keep chemicals out of it.

First, rub the surfaces with your sandpaper. Then, take a 2:1 water/vinegar mixture and spray down the surface. Last, wipe clean and let dry.

Sanding Trash Can Lid ~ How to Emboss Anything |

Step 2

Next, it’s time to transfer our image. You can use any picture found most anywhere (just make sure it’s not copyrighted) or create your own. I made this simple graphic in my software. The key to an effective design is to keep it simple. For the embossing to really stand out, choose simple text and design. You can also see how I embossed & upcycled glass pickle jars with a similar method in this post.

Dairy Farm Graphic Transfer for Farmhouse Trash Can |

First, place the graphic design side down on your light pad (love this thing!) or use a window too. Then, using your artist’s pastel, rub over the design, mainly highlighting the outline. This is the same method I’ve outlined in my image transfer method.

Using a light pad for image transfer by Prodigal Pieces |

Step 3

Next, tape your graphic onto your project and then trace with a colored pencil the outline of text and design. Using a colored pencil helps you know where you are working (ask me how I know…ahem).

DIY Image Transfer Using Artist's Pastels by Prodigal Pieces |

Pull back the graphic at one corner to make sure it is transferring. Then, when you are satisfied, remove the taped-on paper graphic completely.

This step is preparing us for using hot glue to emboss. However, if you prefer a hand-painted look, skip this step until after you’ve completed the painted layers. Also, I have another tutorial on how to use a stencil and topping joint compound or spackling to emboss furniture or wood items as well. Head HERE.

Step 4

Ready to make some hot fun? Heat that glue gun up and have your glue sticks or glue rope ready. I used almost 3 sticks for this design, so not too bad. As you can see in my video below, I just fill in making sure to hold my gun above the surface. Then, let the bead of glue fill in. It’s kinda like piping a cake. How to Emboss Anything Using Hot Glue | DIY Video Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

You can use a toothpick to move it around while hot. Also, fill in air bubbles while it’s still hot to avoid a layering effect. Unless, of course, that’s the effect you’re going for. Oh, and don’t freak out if it looks all wabberjawed. See the next step.

Here’s my glue before trimming. Kinda wonky, but not too bad.

Embossed Farmhouse Trash Can Before Trimming |

Step 5

Then, once your glue has cooled, feel free to take an X-Acto knife to trim it up to your liking.

Trimming Embossed Trash Can with X-Acto Knife |

Step 6

Next, pop up that spray shelter to avoid explaining overspray messes…ahem. Add the turntable for easier work, and have at it. And, don’t forget your safety gear. Glass keep the spray out of your eyes and the respirator protects your lungs. It’s worth it.

Spray Painting Embossed Farmhouse Trash Can |

Black Embossed Farmhouse Trash Can |

Step 6

After one coat of paint, let it cure. When the paint has cured, use an old candle or beeswax to lightly rub the places you want wear to show through.

Candle Wax Distressing Embossed Art |

This will allow us to distress without going down to the original hot pink color.

Step 7

Now it’s time for our final coat of paint. For this step, I’m using the Cold Galvanizing Compound. Likewise, this is the same product I’ve used in my past posts for an aged zinc effect. Spray one coat and let cure.

Zinc Spray Paint - Cold Galvinizing Compound |

Step 8

Next, after the zinc paint has cured, use the same sandpaper to distress the gray lightly down to the black paint. This will give it a time-worn feel we’re after.

Distressing Zinc Paint for Time-Worn Feel |

Step 9

Last, but not least, you can add a dark gray wax to give it an even more aged look and highlight our embossing. Also, I like to use my Round Brush and even an old toothbrush to apply it into all the nooks and crevices.

Applying Dark Gray Wax to Farmhouse Trash Can |


At last we have our farmhouse trash can makeover complete. Our hot pink lil’ gal is now sporting a rustic vibe that suits my decor much better.

DIY Embossed Farmhouse Decor with video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #diy #home #homedecor

Rustic Farmhouse Dairy Trash Can DIY Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #diy #home #tutorial #homedecor

Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces on YouTube for DIY video tutorials and a whole lotta fun |

However, the best part is that it can suit any room for any time of year.

Simple Farmhouse Christmas with DIY Embossed Trash Can for Christmas Tree by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #christmas #home #homedecor #farmhouse #diy

Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Tree in Embossed Trash Can by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #home #diy #homedecor #farmhouse #christmas


Aside from stuffing it with decor items, you can also use is practically in your home as even…gasp…a trash can. haha! Really, though, the uses are endless for an item like this. For instance, here I have it full of TP and towels in my bathroom.

Rustic Embossed Farmhouse Dairy Bathroom Storage from Upcycled Trash Can | #prodigalpieces #bathroom #home #diy #homedecor

So, I ask…what would you use it for? Essentially, my entire intention is to get you thinking outside the obvious. What could something you own become?

DIY Farmhouse Trash Can Upcycled & Embossed by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #diy #home #storage #homedecor

DIY is only limited by your effort to learn something new. Taking those steps outside of the box to engage, transform, and enjoy are what it’s all about. If you’d like to own this fun piece, you can find it available in my shop.

Shop Prodigal Pieces |

In addition, pin and share to inspire others how to emboss anything they set their eyes on. It’s fun, easy, & affordable! πŸ™‚

Yes! I will show you how to emboss anything: metal, plastic, wood, glass. It's fun, easy, & affordable too. Come see the video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #crafts #farmhouse #budgetdecor

Up next, I’ll be sharing a bit of my heart with hopes to encourage you in your daily walk. Find JOY.

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces Reflecting on Choosing Joy |

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Time to see what my Trash to Treasure friends have for you below.

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In addition, check out these funtastic DIY projects to inspire you:

Trash to Treasure Tuesdays - Thrifted Makeover Fun | Prodigal Pieces |

Trash to Treasure December 2019 |

  1. Bless’er House
  2. Artsy Chicks Rule
  3. Confessions of a Serial DIYer
  4. Girl in the Garage

Also, more projects similar to how to emboss anything:

Grab those vintage crocks at the garage sale or thrift store and add them to your farmhouse decor. See the DIY tutorial by Larissa at Prodigal Pieces at #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #vintage #diy #storage #home #homedecorDIY Farmhouse Bathroom Storage from a Thrifted Pink Bin | Video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #home #shopping #homedecor #videos #tutorial #homedecorideas

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  • Tracey

    What a transformation!!!!! There is no limit to your talents girl! Love! XO

    December 10, 2019 at 7:53 am Reply
    • Larissa

      yeehaw!! Thank you for the smile, Tracey. So fun for me to share.

      December 10, 2019 at 8:31 am Reply
  • Christy

    This looks SO good now!! You wold never know it started like it did! Amazing! XOXO

    December 10, 2019 at 9:09 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I do love pink, but this begged for some fun. hee hee. Thanks, Christy!

      December 10, 2019 at 11:16 am Reply
  • Rebecca - Knoxville, TN

    I knew paint was magical but never knew the transformational powers of hot glue. Great makeover!

    December 10, 2019 at 10:09 am Reply
    • Larissa

      haha! You made me LOL. Thanks so much, Rebecca. πŸ˜€

      December 10, 2019 at 11:16 am Reply
  • Denise - Salvaged Inspirations

    Omgosh… I NEVER would have thought of this Larissa! it looks super cute!

    December 10, 2019 at 10:27 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Call me a nut! πŸ˜€ haha. So fun for me. You are a magic worker too. πŸ˜‰

      December 10, 2019 at 11:17 am Reply
  • Marie

    Whaaaaat…that was that? Girl, you showed that pink goddess how to get some down-home character!

    December 10, 2019 at 11:28 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Bwahahahaha!! You ROCK, Marie! πŸ˜€ I am so giggling…thank you!

      December 10, 2019 at 11:39 am Reply
  • Cheryl Atkinson

    Larissa! W H A T? Amazing. I don’t know how you do it but you are truly Blessed with a gift.

    December 10, 2019 at 12:05 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      aww…thank you, Cheryl. I surely have fun finding and transforming my finds. Most of all, sharing them with you.

      December 10, 2019 at 12:25 pm Reply
  • Lizzy

    That is amazing! So good!

    December 10, 2019 at 12:09 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      How fun to hear, Lizzy. Thank you!

      December 10, 2019 at 12:23 pm Reply
  • Mary Loveland

    Amazing! Turned out really cute. Keep inspiring us, I like it!

    December 10, 2019 at 8:14 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I’ll try! Thank you for the encouragement, Mary.

      December 10, 2019 at 8:29 pm Reply
  • Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    Wow!!! You rocked that, Larissa! xo

    December 10, 2019 at 8:39 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Aww..thanks, girl! πŸ˜€

      December 10, 2019 at 9:14 pm Reply
  • Becky

    Oh how cute! You’d never guess that poor little thing used to be hot pink now! 😊

    December 11, 2019 at 9:11 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay! It was fun to transform – thanks!

      December 11, 2019 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Jen @ Girl in the Garage

    This turned out awesome, Larissa!

    December 11, 2019 at 8:14 pm Reply
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