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#1- Great idea! #2-Hmm. Someone did a REALLY nice job on these. For me, the screw top needs to be hidden, My ocd says NO NO! Could do beaded trim, embroidered ribbon, embossed metal strip, strand of pearls wrapped round & round, etc. Beautiful!
Painted wood floor: fill in any large gouges or scrapes, and sand the entire floor lightly. you can use nearly any paint on the floor, but if you're concerned about it rubbing off with traffic, talk to the people in the paint store/department. you can also get clear acrylic sealer to paint over the floor once it's dried and once cured, it'll protect the paint job.