It is safe to say that we have gone totally mad for mid century modern furniture. Our dealer Acme Mid Century Modern curates an amazing collection of pieces that range from original Herman Miller chairs to funky pieces of mid century pop art. Check out their space upstairs and downstairs at Potomac West. You will find a larger selection of pieces downstairs. Cheers!
So, you want to add vintage decor to your home but aren’t sure where to start? Meet the vintage tin. Small (and large) tins that once held anything from baby powder to tobacco are an inexpensive, practical and creative way to incorporate vintage pieces into your home decor. Vintage tins can be found all over the place, from our shops to flea markets. They are a very accessible vintage item and the price ain’t bad either (usually $1-$30, with some exceptions for rare hard-to-find tins).
Vintage tins come in a variety of styles, shapes and colors, which is a big reason why they are so good for decorating. They almost always have colorful labels with eye-pleasing, ornate designs from the days of yore (see above). Another fun feature of vintage tins is the charming and sometimes hysterical wording and advertising copy. Tins from familiar, pop-culture-y brands are especially fun to purchase.
There are literally endless ways to use vintage tins as decor. Some of the most creative ideas we’ve seen are herb planters, fridge magnets, centerpieces and craft organizing containers. It is helpful to keep in mind what you think you will use the tins for while shopping for them. If you plan to use them as containers for crafty items or utensils, it is not such a big deal that they have structural integrity. But, if you want to use them as planters (anything in contact with water) or say, DIY candles, it is important that they do not have any holes or significant rusting on the bottom and sides. Some wear and tear comes with the territory, in fact vintage tins should have some imperfections like small amounts of rust, worn out labels, chips, etc. This will signify age and is a sign you are purchasing the real thing and not a reproduction.
Most importantly, shopping for and decorating with vintage tins should be fun and creative. If you need more ideas about how to use vintage tins, check out our Tinspiration Pinterest board.
Over the last few days we’ve posted several photos on Facebook of milk glass and we received a great response from our customers. That spurred a hunt through the shop to see how many pieces we have and what styles and brands we carry. In the graphic above are photos of milk glass pieces that we have in the shops right now.
Our staff is somewhat divided on the milk glass subject – some LOVE it, others hate it, reminds them too much of grandma’s house. But there is no denying that milk glass is making a huge comeback. One Pinterest search for milk glass reveals hundreds of photos of varying milk glass pieces. Hobnail, colored, all of them arranged in sweet little clusters usually on a shelf or holding bunches of colorful flowers. Milk glass is very popular as wedding decor, party decor and to add a light feminine feeling to a cupboard. One can’t ever really put their finger on what brings back a trend – especially when it is reinvented in such chic and unexpected ways. But milk glass is back, that is for certain. So, we figured we would give you some tips and tricks to discerning milk glass as well as identifying different styles and brands so you can start your milk glass collection. Need inspiration for how to use it in your home? Check out our Pinterest board!
What is milk glass?
Not all white glass is milk glass, milk glass will appear slightly translucent when held up to light. Milk glass was originally produced as a less expensive alternative to porcelain. The Depression Era trend caught on and started making appearances in more affluent homes which sparked manufacturers to produce more high end pieces.
What are the most popular brands of milk glass?
Fenton, Macbeth Evans, Anchor Hocking and Westmoreland were the mavens of milk glass. Of course there were many other manufacturers that produced milk glass during the depression era and after, but these were the heavy-hitters whose styles are most recognizable today.
Fenton became famous for their hobnail milk glass, these pieces have small, raised, bumps. Macbeth Evans produced milk glass that is thinner and has a tinge of an opalescence to it. They were also famous for designing the American Sweetheart pattern, which is a popular pattern that is available in many other types of glass besides milk glass. Anchor Hocking produced the Fire King line of milk glass, pictured above is a blue version of the Fire King style. They also produced a wide array of kitchen staples like mixing bowls and cream and sugar containers. Westmoreland is famous for producing the paneled grape pattern of milk glass that features grapes and leaves.
How do I know if my piece of milk glass is valuable?
Well, it can be hard to tell. Many early manufacturers of milk glass did not always sign or mark their pieces, so you can only identify them by each brand’s particular hallmarks. Unless you have a signed piece of milk glass it can be difficult to say for certain that it is valuable. There are several resources for identifying milk glass, the Collector’s Encyclopedia of Milk Glass by Betty and Bill Newbound (Collector Books 1994) in particular can help you identify a rare piece. But, if you are interested in value, your best bet is to contact a true antiques appraiser.
I just want the look, I am not particularly concerned with rarity/value.
You can find plenty of affordable pieces of vintage milk glass in our shops. We carry milk glass of all kinds (cups, bowls, whole sets of dishes, rare pieces) in our shop and our sister store Potomac West Interiors
. If we are able to discern the brand, we will label it accordingly. At any given time we have a selection of milk glass pieces, and a fan favorite, milk glass lamps. If you need inspiration for how to use your newly acquired milk glass, check out our Pinterest board, Milk Glass Inspirations
, we have pinned all sorts of great ideas for incorporating milk glass into your decor!
We hope this helps you in your search for milk glass pieces! Feel free to give us a call/email/comment if you have questions about milk glass or any other vintage item! Happy Shopping!
Give the gift of vintage this year!
Give the gift of great furniture this year – vintage furniture!
Join us for Saturday 11/24 for Small Business Saturday and shop for everyone on your list! We have a huge selection of unique gift ideas that are sure to please. Shop small, shop local, shop Potomac West Interiors!
Shop with us Saturday 11/24 and celebrate Small Business Saturday! Not Too Shabby has a wide selection of gift ideas for everyone on your list. Get them something unique this year, shop local, shop small, shop Not Too Shabby Consignments!