Asked on Sep 25, 2013

How to update the look of wooden fruit ?

Chris Rustad
by Chris Rustad
I would appreciate any suggestions on how to update a bunch of carved wooden fruit purchased in Ecuador 35 years ago. They have sat in storage for about 20 years because they just don't fit anymore. Would love to display them in a modern way.
  37 answers
  • Laura Laura on Sep 25, 2013
    Sand. Paint white or the true fruit colors. Sand to distress. Wax.
  • Laura Laura on Sep 25, 2013
    Modern? A very glossy color.
  • Laura Laura on Sep 25, 2013
    Silver or gold leaf.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Sep 25, 2013
    I agree with all of the above or else sand and glue some of the tiny tiny beads on for a glittery fall look you see use 2-3 shades mixed together--yellow-orange- amber..... or orange-amber-rust combo....Just bought some for fall tablescape at the local import shop last week..
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 25, 2013
    A real easy and nice modern update would be to use a stone textured spray pant. I used the stone textured spray paint on an old clear glass lamp and it turned out beautiful with no priming.It comes in quite a few colors. You can usually buy it anywhere spray pant is sold such as Walmart, Michaeles, Hobby Lobby, Lowes, Home Depot etc.
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    • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Sep 25, 2013
      @Mary I. Mary,,,,I used the STONE PAINT on cheap flower pots and also BIG TUBS ON THE PATIO,,,, when I needed to update the look for new patio set.....worked great,,,, just took several cans to get a good coverage.....
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 25, 2013
    @Wanda sinnema I love the stone paint. One tip I had received from some was to spray paint the item a base color close to the stone color and you seem to get better coverage, I did a contrast color first, cream color ,with the pinkish stone spray and it turned our very nice. Wouldn't this wooden fruit look fabulous with a new faux stone wardrobe?? lol
    • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Sep 25, 2013
      @Mary I. thanks for the tip.. I have "refinished" 3 huge patio tubs,,,as well as 4 of the small ones that are plastic terra cotta look,, If I buy a plant and can't get it planted right away, I transplant into the redone Mothers day tubs ..looks much better than the nursery pots..I still enjoy the plant
  • Chris Rustad Chris Rustad on Sep 25, 2013
    Thanks everyone for you wonderful suggestions. Now I have to decide which one to use. Lol
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Sep 25, 2013
    Show us pictures when you're done.
  • Anna Marie A Anna Marie A on Sep 25, 2013
    If i could put in my 2 cents....I would paint chalk paint natural fruit colors and place them in a black metal basket with some Spanish moss as bedding
  • Design OCD Design OCD on Sep 26, 2013
    I updated plastic fruit with chalkboard paint to use as place cards. are against painting wood, so even if you don't want to paint it maybe that idea will spark another use for them?
  • BeazerBea BeazerBea on Sep 26, 2013
    I would repurpose them and use them as finnals for curtain rods
  • BeazerBea BeazerBea on Sep 26, 2013
    Finials for drapes
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  • 117135 117135 on Sep 27, 2013
    I would paint with chalk paint and sand the edges so the natural wood shows through. You can even use some dark wax to give more depth look to the pieces. You do not have to prime, sand or prep before using chalk paint. It will grip to all those crevices on the fruit.
  • Julz Goldfarb-Carver Julz Goldfarb-Carver on Sep 27, 2013
    I would paint them! Either shabby or bright colors that match YOUR decor. Good luck!
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Sep 27, 2013
    My vote is what DeDe or Anna said.
  • Ellen H Ellen H on Sep 27, 2013
    Before I painted them, I would try mixing a few with some natural-textured balls and seed pods (like are found in potpourri) and see how they look. The contrast might be pleasing.
  • Barb Barb on Sep 27, 2013
    I think the wooden fruit is beautiful......I would just mix some (spice fragrance) fall mix with it! There is usually some red and green pieces in the mix.
  • Kathy Bornhoft Kathy Bornhoft on Sep 27, 2013
    How about laightly sanding and then white washing them?
  • MarianMokki Robinson MarianMokki Robinson on Sep 27, 2013
    I would sand them down and paint them all a color in my kitchen... and lightly distress...would love to see a red banana
  • Julie Benson-Grant Julie Benson-Grant on Sep 27, 2013
    Oh I wouldn't change a thing about them! They are beautiful.... you should sell them to me!
  • Cindi Cindi on Sep 28, 2013
    I think I would sand them down and get the shine off all the fruit and the bowl. And just leave them the way they are. If you put them on a counter top with a nice place mat under them, of a color that matches your kitchen, they would look good
  • Susan B Susan B on Sep 28, 2013
    i painted a few of mine. i like, but like idea of painting colors they should be. sounds awesome. may have to give that a try:):)
  • Traci Traci on Sep 28, 2013
    Monkey Pod Fruit. We had this when I was a kid and I am starting to see it at GoodWill. I think I would try different stain colors on the fruit. This might be a good project for gel stain. Please post pics when you decide what to do.
  • J K  Weigle J K Weigle on Sep 29, 2013
    I would remove them from the matching container and place them in a basket with wildly colored fall foliage and flowers. Maybe a small bushel style basket from the craft store. You may need to put some filler in the bottom like plastic bag filled with shredded paper.
  • Connie Frolich Connie Frolich on Sep 30, 2013
    I would spray the bottom holder white then spray paint the fruit silver and put fresh pine in them at Christmastime.
  • Connie K Connie K on Oct 01, 2013
    I agree with a change of container. Your carved leave container also also has a number of other uses. I agree with adding other items would be a nice look. And don't forget that the juxtaposition of cottage and modern can be dynamite. How would they look in a sleek, black, modern container? Maybe something long and low instead of a basket or bowl. Or perhaps in a beautiful metallic container. You could also try adding a gold or silver leaf to each piece in a random technique so it looks as if most all the gold has worn off (like the trim on an antique). I would suggest practicing this technique on something else first. Remember, too, that they don't all have to be displayed together.
  • Karon Nelson Roberts Karon Nelson Roberts on Oct 01, 2013
    WAX!!! Wax them to give a shine, put on a silver tray with some fall color leaves, and a hint of green. DO NOT PAINT THEM!! You will take away any and all value them may have. I wished I has my mom's....but she gave to someone years ago
  • Annette Blocker Annette Blocker on Oct 04, 2013
    You could go a very modern approach and dip them (from the bottom) 1/3 or 1/2 the way in white or a colored paint of your could do them all the same color or have a range of colors that go with your decor...use another container to display them in or dip the leaf tray as well or paint it a solid color. Chalk paint is good for this if you don't want to do a lot of prepping, however, I think a bit glossier of a paint would look nice and chalk paint is quite mat. I guess, if you put a clear sealer over chalk paint that was glossier that would work. Another thought would be to gold leaf, copper leaf or silver leaf them. It's a lot of fun and you can find leafing supplies at any crafts store such as Hobby Lobby or Michael's. You can cover them as little or as much with leafing as you want, however, I think it would look great to have some of the wood showing through for contrast! Have fun!!!
  • Mary Mary on Mar 19, 2014
    Have you done anything with the fruit? I have something similar inherited from my Mom that she received probably 35-40 years ago....came from Hawaii when my brother served in the military.
  • Nancy Hatcher Nancy Hatcher on Jul 01, 2014
    Please don't paint your beauties!! There are lots of suggestions here for placing them in a different and colorful way - basket with leaves, potpourri, different colored balls. You could create a great holiday decoration by just changing the colored objects with the seasons. You could use the tray for nuts or add a little of whatever you mix with the balls to create a great little vignette.
  • Barbara Turner Barbara Turner on Jul 01, 2014
    I'm very blessed to have some personally carved pieces of fruit and the fruit bowl that a very dear friend gave me years ago and all I do is I simply cloth them with a little Old English and put them back in the bowl. Do NOT paint them! Leave them as they SIMPLY are!
    • Evelyn Adams Evelyn Adams on Mar 09, 2016
      @Barbara Turner I love it that you, like me, do not opt for painting everything as so many do today. I have some pretty wooden fruit and I polish it occasionally and arrange it in a footed brass bowl and enjoy it on the buffet . I tip my bonnet to you Barbara.
  • Pam Pam on Mar 09, 2016
    If you have the time you can (using latex paint so it can be easily removed with hot water later if you choose) Do the paint dip way but I would just guild them. So this way they look upgraded to still look vintage but modern twist. If you choose to dip them then do it at different levels and on different angles. I have a set of these as well and I went to Ikea and got a glass oval 3 tiered stand. I guilded silver the edges and only some of the wooden fruit at random spots. Then placed the fruit on the different tiers. they look fantastic. kind of floating but not. I also used the dish that came with the fruit as a guilded dish for keys by our door.
  • Bette Bette on Mar 09, 2016
    These would make lovely finials for floor lamps, the ends of a large drape rod, in particular the heavier fabric with the British Colonial tropical floral prints, or finials for a dramatic one-of-a kind bed headboard-footboard. Of course, you will need to drill into the pieces, and that may not be something you want to do.
  • Alesa Holden Alesa Holden on Mar 14, 2016
    Beautiful warm wood. It's perfect just like it is!!
  • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Mar 18, 2016
    If you feel you must paint them I like Pams idea but I would leave them as is. Just polish them a bit and maybe use a colorful bowl as a temporary update
  • Happy Days Hometalker Happy Days Hometalker on Sep 15, 2023

    Fast forward from 2013 to 2023, I just bought a set of the wooden fruit with bowl at the Goodwill, I did list it on eBay, no takers, because I too thought the fruit was beautiful plan on keeping them but with an update or a twist . I am going to split the fruit up ( there is quite a bit) and use Anette's idea first dipping 1/3 of it into white paint. I think I will also paint a few the authentic colors and the last but not least try the stone affect. Will style them in different parts of the house. Thanks for all the ideas!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Sep 15, 2023

    They are gorgeous, I would not paint them. Just rearrange them with objects that complement your decor.