I’m sharing my inspiration idea with instructions for an amazing furniture transformation. You will see before & after with step-by-step instructions and a complete supply list.
Y’all, I found a great deal on this thrifted chest last year. I wasn’t sure how to refinish it, so I quickly painted it with Chalk Paint and began using it as a nightstand. Recently inspiration struck, and here’s what I did.
Table of contents
- The Thrift Store Chest- Before & After
- How To Determine The Design For Transformation
- Materials & Tools Needed for Furniture Transformation
- Attach Faux Wooden Drawers to Drawer Fronts
- Amazing Furniture Transformation – Reveal
The Thrift Store Chest- Before & After
I purchased the chest for $40.00 at a thrift store last spring. It is a traditional small chest, solid wood, and in great shape. Although I was still determining what to do with it, home with me came.
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Here is what the chest looked like after an Old White Chalk Paint coat. I used the chest as a nightstand but wasn’t happy with its appearance.
I was waiting for inspiration to hit before making additional changes to the chest.
How To Determine The Design For Transformation
I saw a photo of a chippy card catalog cabinet and was finally inspired to transform this piece.
Once I had a vision for the transformation, I began to draw a plan.
To make the chest look like a vintage card catalog cabinet, I would use wood trim and thin plywood to form faux drawers on the front of the actual drawers.
To determine the size of each piece, I used craft paper to cut patterns for the designs. This allowed me to attach the patterns to the drawer fronts as a trial run. Therefore, I knew the pieces would fit before actually cutting the wood.
Once your pattern is determined, you want to order or purchase your hardware. D. Lawless Hardware is my go-to for unique card catalogs or apothecary hardware; they are so inexpensive.
Materials & Tools Needed for Furniture Transformation
- Chest or Cabinet to be repurposed
- New Hardware (depending on your exact project)
- 2 1/2 ” Interior Pine Wood Casing Trim Wood (this project required 2- 8 ft. pieces)
- 1/4 smooth finish plywood (available in 2×4 sheet)
- Wood Screws -#4 3/4 to 1 inch
- Gel Stain – I used Walnut
- Chalk Paint
- Sand Paper
- Clear & Dark Wax
- Wood Filler Putty
- Cordless Drill
- Chop Saw
- Table saw
- Belt Sander
Let The Project Begin
Using the patterns, you can begin by cutting each piece to be attached to the drawer fronts.
Cut each piece according to the patterns, then sand all ruff edges until smooth.
Stain New Wood
You will need to stain the new wood so that it appears to match the original stained chest. If you use a gel stain, you can rub it quickly with a rag.
Paint and Wax
Next, you will want to paint the wood pieces and apply wax to seal and distress them. You can see How to Use Chalk Paint here.
Note: I used a heavy amount of Mineral Spirits mixed with the clear wax to achieve a heavily distressed appearance. In addition, I applied a small amount of dark wax over the buffed clear wax to darken the appearance further.
Amazing Furniture Transformation – Prepare Drawer Fronts
Now, you need to remove the old hardware from the drawer fronts and fill the existing holes with wood-filler putty.
Once the putty is dry, sand until smooth, then paint the chest or cabinet with two coats of Chalk Paint and seal with wax. Again, you can see all the details on How to Use Chalk Paint here.
My chest was already painted, so I touched up the drawer fronts where the holes had been filled.
Attach Faux Wooden Drawers to Drawer Fronts
To attach the faux drawers to the actual drawer fronts, you can begin by arranging the wooden pieces evenly. You can mark the exact location with a pencil to ensure proper alignment.
Next, you will attach the new hardware to the wooden pieces while attaching them to the drawer front, all at the same time.
Drill Pilot Holes
You must drill pilot holes for all the screws to avoid splitting the wood.
Begin with the smaller pieces. Here I used D. Lawless Hardware Card File Label Holder w/Finger Pulls.
Next, carefully place the hardware in the desired position, drill the pilot hole, and then screw the hardware to the drawers. This will work best with two people working together.
I used Bronze Cup Pulls from D. Lawless Hardware for the larger areas. These are attached by drilling a hole for the cup attachments to fit into and using the screws provided to attach from inside the drawer.
Amazing Furniture Transformation – Reveal
Don’t you love it? I’m glad I waited until the perfect idea came to mind.
When thrift store shopping, you always want to look beyond the piece. Ask yourself, can it be transformed, painted, or repaired?
An authentic vintage card catalog piece would be expensive if you are lucky enough to find one. I transformed this $40.00 find into a fun, exciting piece for an additional $40.00.
You might like to read 10 Tips for Successful Thrift Store Shopping also.
The chest now has a more industrial feel and works better within our industrial-style farmhouse.
More Furniture Transformation Ideas
- DIY Faux Apothecary Cabinet
- The Real Truth About Deconstructing a Chair
- Simple Makeover for Vintage Furniture
- 3-Step Furniture Makeover- Flea Market Flip
- How To Chalk Paint Furniture
- Easy Vintage Mid-Century Furniture Flip
Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.
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