Shabby Sewing Cabinet Makeover

posted by Andrea | 07/30/2010

Since I am the only one of my cousins who has any sewing abillities, I got all my Grandma’s sewing things when she passed away. This little sewing accessory cabinet was one of those treasures.

I usually don’t like to hang onto family heirlooms unless I can put them to use somewhere in my home.

I knew that I could use this piece as a night stand, but didn’t care for the dark wood stain…so I painted it!

I say it a lot — but you really CAN’T go wrong with paint. It’s such an inexpensive way to completely transform a room, a wall, a piece of furniture, or even a book! All it requires is a bit of elbow grease, a tiny amount of creativity, and a few hours.

Here are the simple steps I used in this project:

1. Sand

  • A light sanding is only necessary if the surface of your furniture is dirty, rough, chipping, peeling, etc.
  • If your furniture is in good condition, don’t waste time sanding…simply move to step 2.

{Professionals will tell you to sand EVERYTHING…thankfully I’ not a professional!}

2. Clean:

  • Use Mineral Spirits or Denatured Alcohol and a clean rag to thoroughly wipe down and scrub all hard surfaces
  • This removes excess oil, dirt, grim, etc. and “dulls” the surface, making it easier for paint to adhere.

3. Pick Your Paint:

  • I almost always use Behr Paint and Primer in One to save time.

  • If you want a specific color to show through, paint 1 or 2 layers of that color first (your base coat). Let dry.
  • If you want the wood to show through, move to step 4.

4. Wax:

  • Take a plain white candle and rub it over any area you want to “antique”.
  • The candle wax adds a protective layer over your undercoat or wood and prevents the top coat from sticking to it.
  • I applied wax around the edges, the corners, the handles, and areas that would naturally be a bit worn.

5. Top Coat:

  • Paint an even layer of your top coat. I used an antique white color.
  • The top coat goes right over the wax.
  • You may add as many layers as needed, letting each layer dry in between. (I usually do 2 layers)

6. Sand:

  • Once the paint has dried, I use steel wool to rub off the paint in the areas I want to look worn.
  • Start off with light pressure and increase as necessary to get the look you want.
  • There is no right or wrong way to do this…so just start and see where you end up!

7. Finishing Touches:

  • You may add a clear coat to prevent the paint from additional pealing or chipping (I normally don’t do this)
  • Add fun, decorative hardware for the drawer pulls.

That’s it! Your done and you have a like-new piece of furniture to show for yourself.

Here’s a good video to introduce you to the basics of painting furniture.

Get creative and see what you can come up with!

Here’s my finished night stand!

What was the last thing you painted?

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17 comments

  1. Ashlee

    08/02/2010

    what a transformation! And a fun way to use and beautify an heirloom! I’d love it if you’d stop by my Topsy Turvy Tuesday Link party and add this cabinet!

    [Reply]

  2. Kathleen@betweenblueandyellow

    08/02/2010

    Looks really cute! Great job :)

    [Reply]

  3. Kaysi @ Keeping It Simple

    08/02/2010

    LOVE the white, looks great!

    [Reply]

  4. the cape on the corner

    08/02/2010

    looks great! i am (im)patiently waiting til i find the right piece to spraypaint. not having any luck thus far, but yours looks great. coming over from keeping it simple.

    [Reply]

  5. Julie

    08/03/2010

    Great job!

    [Reply]

  6. Karie Jackson

    08/03/2010

    What a treasure! I love how you have redone it. It is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  7. Andrea

    08/03/2010

    Thanks, Thanks, and Thanks!

    It was a fun project to do…and I just LOVE how it turned out.

    [Reply]

  8. Michelle @ Sweet Something

    08/03/2010

    That turned out beautiful Andrea! It looks fantastic next to your bed, great job!

    [Reply]

  9. Kristine

    08/04/2010

    That is sooo different after some paint. I especially love the way you’ve staged it (I have two of those IKEA clocks!). The fact it was your grandma’s sewing cabinet makes it extra cool.
    Kristine
    The Painted Hive
    xxx

    [Reply]

  10. petie

    08/04/2010

    We have a lot in common! I just posted my family inherited, painted white, night stands. Great job. Yours has a lot more character inside :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m a HUGE fan of white! It can cover a multitude of sins!

    [Reply]

  11. Cathy

    08/04/2010

    It looks fantastic! What a great way to keep an heirloom and make it useful!

    [Reply]

  12. Jen

    08/04/2010

    Great job! Love the paint job!

    [Reply]

  13. Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking

    08/06/2010

    Beautiful, creamy transformation!

    [Reply]

  14. Ellie

    08/06/2010

    What a great way to make something you inherited become something you love! Visiting from POPP at Domestically Speaking.

    [Reply]

  15. b

    06/04/2012

    One question – is the sewing cabinet originally veneer? Do these instructions work if it is wood veneer?

    Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No, it’s real wood but yes, these techniques work fine on veneer!

    [Reply]