Rusty nail collage

A  few months ago we were working on our new great room and decided to have salvaged beams installed to add some architectural interest.  You can read about those beams here.

Here is what the beams looked like when they arrived.

photo (6)

They were filled with nails – some new, some old – and we had to pull a bunch of them out just so the contractors could handle the beams without ripping their hands to shreds!.

The older nails were so cool:  some were no-head nails, some were drop-forged and some were hammered.  The beams came out of a house that was over 200 years old and these nails could vouch for the age of the house!

I decided to keep them so I set a pile of them aside on top of the stone wall and promptly forgot about them. UNTIL my husband “cleaned up” outside and tossed them into the dumpster.

I’ve been known to jump into dumpsters to retrieve things I like.  I’m not proud of saying that but there it is.  Deal, people.

Hello, I’m Maggie and I’m a dumpster dive-aholic.  Hello Maggie.

Here’s what I could save:

green bowl greenware pottery antique nails rusty nails

Not much but I had an idea that all of those curvy shapes and beautiful rust patinas could make a nice collage.

So I picked up some burlap and shadow boxes and fiddled around until I found a layout that I liked:

rusty nail collage burlap antique

The nails are sewn into the burlap, which is Super 77’d onto cardboard that I salvaged from an old Priority Mail box:

rusty nail burlap closeup sewn


I used a green-ish thread and you really can’t see a thing unless you look really close.

And if you come to my house and look really close at my nail collage and start to complain about the thread showing I’m going to take away your martini and send you into the woods without a flashlight.

So don’t hate.  Just enjoy your martini and tell me how brilliant I am.

I think they turned out great, if I do say so myself:

burlap rust nail antique


And here is what they look like with the beams in the background (yes, I had to lie on the floor to get this photo – that’s where the martinis come in handy)

antique beams with mounted antique rusty nails

I joke, I joke.  I wasn’t really having a martini.

But I really am going on vacation next week so that is why I’m talking so much about party drinks.  I’m pretty psyched because we’re headed to Florida and we just got two feet of snow today, so ha!

Bon voyage, loves.  I’ll post a how-to when I get back!

Linking up to these fun parties:

Tickled Pink at 504 Main


Common Ground


Liz Marie Blog

Rooted In Thyme

The Shabby Nest



Cheerios and Lattes


Boogieboard Cottage

Ivy and Elephants


  1. What a fun idea! visiting from Redoux : )

    • Did you Super 77 the burlap onto the cardboard and then sew the nails on? I’m totally making one and want to get it right….

      • Maggie Green says:

        I did use super 77 and sewed the nails on – exactly! Have fun making yours – you’ll be proud of the result I’m sure!!

  2. Suzann Streets says:

    You rock! They look fantastic!

  3. You know what? You really are fricken’ brilliant!

  4. And just like that, Jonathan, you earned yourself a martini and an optional flashlight.

  5. Wow! That’s quite an undertaking! It looks awesome! I give you credit for doing something with those nails, and it looks great. Have I earned my martini because I said that? Shaken, not stirred pease.

  6. Hi Maggie, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Please visit my home page for details @

    • I checked it out – how fun, Alyssa! I’ll work on my answers while sunning myself in Florida next week. You are the sweetest for thinking of me – thank you! xo

  7. If I had a martini, those crooked nails would look perfectly straight. Martinis do me in, but a strawberry margarita on a beach sounds pretty good right now – well not now, it is 7:30 a.m.

    Have fun in Florida

  8. I love your project and most importantly am drooling over your beams!! Thanx for joining THT last week.

  9. What a cool idea! I love when salvaged things can tell a story like that. I think it looks great, no need to send me into the woods without a flashlight! 😉

  10. I love looking at old nails when I pull them out of stuff. cute project! I hope you had a great time on your vacation.

  11. Hi, stopping by from From My Front Porch To Yours and I just had to say the nail art is wonderful! Love the history and rustic feel. The beams are indeed drool worthy and what a view! I would be tempted to lie on the floor and stare at them.

  12. This is an awesome creation! : ) Thanks for sharing and I am sharing it today : ) hugs…

  13. nice! great idea to save them and make something awesome out of them 🙂

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