Rescue-A-Barrel Project

Recently I was very lucky to be part of Reverse Garbage’s Rescue-A-Barrel Project.

Reverse Garbage is a not-for-profit worker run co-operative that promotes environmental sustainability and resource reuse. They sell high quality industrial discards from their Brisbane store.

It is a mecca for anyone who likes to create – there are so many interesting things to find there, and the products change quite regularly. I love to find fabric samples, cardstock, ribbon, fluro tape to name a few items.

They also run fabulous workshops that give you great ideas for what you can make – I went to one last year on creating upcycled jewellery which was really fun.

The Rescue-A-Barrel Project was a chance for Brisbane artists to take one of Reverse Garbage’s display barrels and jazz it up! I was so excited to have been chosen to be part of this project and wanted to create something amazing for their store.

Here is the barrel before its make-over:

I had a few design ideas in my head before picking up the barrel. Once I saw the barrel in real life I realised I needed a design that would work from various angles, as you only see a section of the barrel at one time.

I wanted the barrel to be bright, and I created a colour palette before I started my design ideas:

Once my colour palette was chosen, I spent a few hours working on my design ideas. I became a tad obsessed with having a gradient background, from pale blue to a soft yellow. I had many design ideas in my sketchbook with this background.

As this was a great opportunity to promote Girl and the Deep Blue Sea, I decided to go with an all-over tropical inspired pattern for the barrel. I painted bold palm leaves in overlapping colours which worked really well against the background colours.

Rescue-A-Barrel project for Reverse Garbage
sketch book with design ideas

Then the real fun began! My first step was to create a blank slate for painting, so I gave the barrel a couple of coats of white paint:

Then I created the colour gradient. I just used a small paintbrush and painted quickly so that I could blend the paint to create the different tones. This was very enjoyable and I was pleased with how it turned out.

Rescue-A-Barrel project for Reverse Garbage
completed background

Next came the palm leaf painting – I spent a bit of time sketching the rough shape of the leaves with a pencil so I knew where to paint.

Here is the first layer of palm leaves going on:

I added three layers of palm leaves in bright acrylic paints. I used a more transparent paint for the final layer to get the effect I was after.

Here is the completed barrel:

Rescue-A-Barrel project for Reverse Garbage
detail of the leaves

My goal for the barrel was to create something fun, tropical, and bold so that it stood out the shop.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out, and love the design so much I want to recreate it for a pattern design! I also REALLY loved the painting process, and would love to tackle something bigger in the future like a wall!

If you live in Brisbane, you can visit Reverse Garbage to check out my barrel and all the other fabulous barrels that were part of the Rescue-A-Barrel project. You may even find a bargain or two while you’re there!

I'd love to know what you think!

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