Thursday, May 06, 2010
Vintage Toy Truck Displays | Family Economics
I have adored vintage metal toy trucks since the first time I laid eyes on one used as a store display many years ago. It was a large, old rusty toy stake truck doubling as a plant holder with ivy flowing over the edge of the truck bed and down the shelf it was placed atop. During my days buying and selling antiques in a little collective town, vintage toy trucks sold like hot cakes and they were my favorite item to buy and sell. I’ve never been willing to pay much money for vintage trucks or desire them in mint condition. After all, I think for decorating, they are more charming when appearing well played with. So, unlike the condition qualities serious toy collectors look for - and with the exception of missing wheels or tires, I don't mind rust, nicks, breaks or missing paint, windshields, headlights or grills, as those don’t necessarily detract from the truck's cool factor or function. And by function, I mean that they make the most practical displays!
Vintage toy dump trucks have the largest hauling capacity, but most 13 inch or larger pick-up trucks have beds that can hold and haul most anything from potpourri and candles, to snacks at a potluck, to stacks of family photos or fireplace kindling. Smaller trucks are great for holding desktop office supplies or playing cards and dice. This little truck houses my kids’ little homemade game of concentration.
Vintage toy trucks also make the best candy dishes for individually wrapped pieces. Whether they are set out on display all the time or brought out just for the holidays, to fill with Easter eggs or Christmas ornaments, they are always great conversation pieces. Even the less-child-like/more-mature-style rooms of your home appear more friendly and welcoming with the addition of whimsy in the shape of a vintage toy.
When my white stake-bed truck isn’t hauling glitter trees for the holidays, it holds my juicy collection of
tomato pincushions in my sewing nook.
Vintage trucks also hold a supply of twine in my studio.
My favorite projects to create are unique pincushions out of little vintage toy trucks and trailers.
Shopping for vintage trucks is pretty easy. But first set your dollar limit. I won’t spend more than $25 for a large 12 – 20 inch truck or more than $10 on a truck for a pincushion. If you’re willing to clean them up yourself and don’t mind a bit of wear and damage, you can usually find them through online auctions or vintage online shopping. With lower condition standards, you won’t be competing with high-spending collectors. But the best places for finding vintage toy trucks are flea markets. Most I find are on the ground under tables and out of view of most shoppers, so keep a look out!
Once you bring your grungy little find home, give it a good washing, allow to dry well, in the sun if possible, and then if it still has a dry and lifeless look to it, spray it with a good coat of glossy clear acrylic. This will bring out the vibrant color of the paint giving it a much friendlier look as if it were just waxed. Don’t skip over the tires, clear spray acrylic makes the rubber appear almost new. Here is a vintage Tonka truck I picked up very cheap the other day.
Look how much better it looks with it’s shiny clear coat! This little guy will be perfect for hauling our audio/video remote controls on the coffee table of the family room.