Paint A Small Cabinet

Paint Takes an Odd Cabinet from Sad to Happy!
Paint Takes an Odd Cabinet from Sad to Happy! | Source

Paint Gives New Life to a Small Cabinet


A funny little cabinet that was in great shape stirred up the creative side of my brain when I spied it. All it needed was a decorative paint job.

Some say everything inspires me to paint, but it's not true. Some things inspire me to write, and some things do both. This small project proves the point.


Condition of the Cabinet


When it comes to creating new life for a piece like this, though, there are practical considerations that must be dealt with before getting to the fun of painting. Taking the time to think through the different aspects of the project delivers a happy outcome.

If you read my Paint a Dresser hub you know that a piece of furniture can be in really rough shape and yet turn out like new if you carefully plan a paint project that will revive it for better use. Some preparation is usually necessary, but then the fun begins!

It was great to find this item in such good condition that I only needed to wash it down and prime it before painting it. A good wash and rinse with a pat down, then a little time in the sun was all this small cabinet needed before it was ready for primer.


Questions About the Cabinet


It is a bit of an odd piece, simple, with two nice but very thin drawers in the bottom. Perhaps the drawers were originally used for stamps or negatives since the deep top has open spaces sized wide enough for either stationery or printed photographs.

What I would do with it was my main question. What room would I use it in? Could I design its new finish so that it would work in more than one room? How it could meet a need would be a primary factor in choosing the painted design for this little cabinet.


Settling the Question of How to Paint It


The asymmetrical style bothered me at first. It’s not that I’m stuck in a rut about symmetry, though I do like it, but it took me a while to figure out what to do with this peculiar cabinet!

I considered using it in what we call our computer room, but we had no need for it there. Then I thought the kitchen might be a good place to display it, but I wanted it to be useful. I finally decided to use it in my craft room (aka now-grown daughter’s bedroom).

It would be ideal for decorative craft papers, a perfect way to keep those still valuable cut pieces handy. The drawers would be just right for those tiny pieces that seem to get lost no matter how I try to store them.

When the where and why were settled, the plan needed to be worked out. So many options! Pieces like this are a blank canvas and though it is fun to let a project develop as I work through the creative process, things go smoother when I have a good plan.


Simple Paint Supplies

It's so nice to use up supplies on hand--I did not have to buy one new product!
It's so nice to use up supplies on hand--I did not have to buy one new product! | Source

Beginning the Cabinet Project with a Plan


Paints:

• A good primer like Gripper or Kilz

• A sage colored base

• A white glaze

• A variety of greens, browns, and yellows with black and possibly dark blue for highlights

• A clear coat, spray or brush on


I would also need:

• A cover for my work surface

• A storage container for the drawer’s hardware

• Painter's tape

• A Ruler

• A 1-2 inch brush for the base coat

• Artist’s brushes for the painted design

• Props so the pieces can dry quickly

• A bar of plain wax

• To plan ahead for meals for two days



A Photo Montage of the Painted Cabinet Process:


Planning to begin with the primer one morning meant I might be able to do the decorative painting on this piece in the afternoon depending on the day's humidity, but this project could take a couple of days to finish (not counting writing and posting this hub). Don't miss the photo captions since they provide more details on the painting process.


Project Photos:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ready to Paint.Set Up Separate Work Area for Drawers.Remove Hardware from Drawers and Store Safely.
Ready to Paint.
Ready to Paint. | Source
Set Up Separate Work Area for Drawers.
Set Up Separate Work Area for Drawers. | Source
Remove Hardware from Drawers and Store Safely.
Remove Hardware from Drawers and Store Safely. | Source

The Cabinet is Clean, the Decisions are Made, it's Time to Have Fun Painting!




The same steps for the cabinet will be used for the drawers. Give them a separate paper/drop cloth, then prime and paint them with the cabinet to match the look on each piece.



Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Inside Needed Two Coats of PrimerPrimer Identifies Small Nail Holes that Need FillerResting Top Side Down While Bottom DriesResting Bottom on Prop While Top Dries
The Inside Needed Two Coats of Primer
The Inside Needed Two Coats of Primer | Source
Primer Identifies Small Nail Holes that Need Filler
Primer Identifies Small Nail Holes that Need Filler | Source
Resting Top Side Down While Bottom Dries
Resting Top Side Down While Bottom Dries | Source
Resting Bottom on Prop While Top Dries
Resting Bottom on Prop While Top Dries | Source

Prime insides of cabinet and drawers first, then the outsides, including the bottoms and backs.




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Paint Insides and Top Edges of the Sections, then Bring Paint 1-2" Over the Outside Edges.Two Coats Were Required For Good Coverage
Paint Insides and Top Edges of the Sections, then Bring Paint 1-2" Over the Outside Edges.
Paint Insides and Top Edges of the Sections, then Bring Paint 1-2" Over the Outside Edges. | Source
Two Coats Were Required For Good Coverage
Two Coats Were Required For Good Coverage | Source


Paint the cream colored base coat over the primed surfaces of the interior and top edges.


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Measure from Top Edge to the Point the Creamy  Color is to Meet the Sage.  Pencil a Line and Put Tape in Place.  First Coat of Sage on Drawers.Final Coat of Sage on Cabinet.Painted Cabinet is Dry and Ready for Next Step
Measure from Top Edge to the Point the Creamy  Color is to Meet the Sage.  Pencil a Line and Put Tape in Place.
Measure from Top Edge to the Point the Creamy Color is to Meet the Sage. Pencil a Line and Put Tape in Place. | Source
First Coat of Sage on Drawers.
First Coat of Sage on Drawers. | Source
Final Coat of Sage on Cabinet.
Final Coat of Sage on Cabinet. | Source
Painted Cabinet is Dry and Ready for Next Step
Painted Cabinet is Dry and Ready for Next Step | Source



Put painter's tape in place. Paint all the exterior surfaces below the tape line and the drawers sage.



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Measured Border is Ready for Painters Tape.Taped Border Ready for Paint.White Washed Border has Neat Edges that Allow Work to Progress Easily.Find Center of Border and Begin Painting Semi-Random Sections With the Sage Green.The Sections are Windows to Frame My Designs. They Need Shadows, Beginning with a Light Brown.Smaller Black Lines Finish the Shadow Highlights for the WIndows.
Measured Border is Ready for Painters Tape.
Measured Border is Ready for Painters Tape. | Source
Taped Border Ready for Paint.
Taped Border Ready for Paint. | Source
White Washed Border has Neat Edges that Allow Work to Progress Easily.
White Washed Border has Neat Edges that Allow Work to Progress Easily. | Source
Find Center of Border and Begin Painting Semi-Random Sections With the Sage Green.
Find Center of Border and Begin Painting Semi-Random Sections With the Sage Green. | Source
The Sections are Windows to Frame My Designs. They Need Shadows, Beginning with a Light Brown.
The Sections are Windows to Frame My Designs. They Need Shadows, Beginning with a Light Brown. | Source
Smaller Black Lines Finish the Shadow Highlights for the WIndows.
Smaller Black Lines Finish the Shadow Highlights for the WIndows. | Source


Measure and draw border on front of cabinet. Tape off and paint white.

I then sectioned the border for my "window" design, but your design may be completely different. The purpose of this overview on how I painted this cabinet is to inspire you for your own project.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hopefully, this Photo Shows the Stages of Sponging on the Glaze.  I Worked in Small Sections to Swirl the still Wet Sponged Areas and Quickly Go Back Over to Subdue the Sponge Marks.Close Up--Note that the Shadowing is now Softened for Better Effect.  Layering the Glaze Using the Same Technique Increases the Softened Look.  Sponge Drawer Fronts at the Same Time so Patterns will Match.  Keep Sponge Damp (not Wet) and Rotate it as You Work to Prevent a Pattern from Developing.A Look at the Front as it is Drying.  (I will not rush, I will let it dry correctly, I will not rush…)
Hopefully, this Photo Shows the Stages of Sponging on the Glaze.  I Worked in Small Sections to Swirl the still Wet Sponged Areas and Quickly Go Back Over to Subdue the Sponge Marks.
Hopefully, this Photo Shows the Stages of Sponging on the Glaze. I Worked in Small Sections to Swirl the still Wet Sponged Areas and Quickly Go Back Over to Subdue the Sponge Marks. | Source
Close Up--Note that the Shadowing is now Softened for Better Effect.  Layering the Glaze Using the Same Technique Increases the Softened Look.
Close Up--Note that the Shadowing is now Softened for Better Effect. Layering the Glaze Using the Same Technique Increases the Softened Look. | Source
Sponge Drawer Fronts at the Same Time so Patterns will Match.  Keep Sponge Damp (not Wet) and Rotate it as You Work to Prevent a Pattern from Developing.
Sponge Drawer Fronts at the Same Time so Patterns will Match. Keep Sponge Damp (not Wet) and Rotate it as You Work to Prevent a Pattern from Developing. | Source
A Look at the Front as it is Drying.  (I will not rush, I will let it dry correctly, I will not rush…)
A Look at the Front as it is Drying. (I will not rush, I will let it dry correctly, I will not rush…) | Source


Using a small corner of a sea sponge with small openings, lightly apply the white glaze and allow it to dry according to the manufacturers instructions.

I used the glaze on all four sides of the cabinet, but it would be fine to do only the front where the painted design will be.



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The First Flowers are in Place.Outline Details are Added, then I Began the Petal's Highlights, Centers, and Stem.Continuing with the Flowers--Note Shadows for Falling Petals Below the Windows.Layering Color and Outline Details on Flowers and Falling Petals. Adding Small Swathes of Blue Sky.Adding Hycinth Stems and Blooms.Smallest Flowers are Added, Falling Petals are Finished.Dark Blue Half Circles at the Top Edge of the Green.Dark Green is Used to Make Full Circles--Offset from the Blue Half Circles. The Detail does not Show Well on Camera, but the Dark Blue is a Shadow Behind the Dark Green.White "Commas" Added to the Dark Green Circles
The First Flowers are in Place.
The First Flowers are in Place. | Source
Outline Details are Added, then I Began the Petal's Highlights, Centers, and Stem.
Outline Details are Added, then I Began the Petal's Highlights, Centers, and Stem. | Source
Continuing with the Flowers--Note Shadows for Falling Petals Below the Windows.
Continuing with the Flowers--Note Shadows for Falling Petals Below the Windows. | Source
Layering Color and Outline Details on Flowers and Falling Petals. Adding Small Swathes of Blue Sky.
Layering Color and Outline Details on Flowers and Falling Petals. Adding Small Swathes of Blue Sky. | Source
Adding Hycinth Stems and Blooms.
Adding Hycinth Stems and Blooms. | Source
Smallest Flowers are Added, Falling Petals are Finished.
Smallest Flowers are Added, Falling Petals are Finished. | Source
Dark Blue Half Circles at the Top Edge of the Green.
Dark Blue Half Circles at the Top Edge of the Green. | Source
Dark Green is Used to Make Full Circles--Offset from the Blue Half Circles.
Dark Green is Used to Make Full Circles--Offset from the Blue Half Circles. | Source
The Detail does not Show Well on Camera, but the Dark Blue is a Shadow Behind the Dark Green.
The Detail does not Show Well on Camera, but the Dark Blue is a Shadow Behind the Dark Green. | Source
White "Commas" Added to the Dark Green Circles
White "Commas" Added to the Dark Green Circles | Source



Draw a basic design or work freehand as I did on this piece.

Whimsy was my goal and I wanted to make even the windows look breezy, but I'm not sure I got the hyacinths "windy" enough.


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Putting the Hardware Back On and Waxing the Drawer Bottoms and Sides Makes this Cabinet Ready for the Last Step.Lots of Room for Craft PapersDrawers will Hold Tiny Pieces that are Still Useable.
Putting the Hardware Back On and Waxing the Drawer Bottoms and Sides Makes this Cabinet Ready for the Last Step.
Putting the Hardware Back On and Waxing the Drawer Bottoms and Sides Makes this Cabinet Ready for the Last Step. | Source
Lots of Room for Craft Papers
Lots of Room for Craft Papers | Source
Drawers will Hold Tiny Pieces that are Still Useable.
Drawers will Hold Tiny Pieces that are Still Useable. | Source


Because these paints are water-based I used a spray-on clear finish. Brushing on the clear coat could cause the colors to run and/or bleed through to the surface. This project needed a hard finish because it will be used in my craft room.

Reinstalled hardware on the the drawers and waxing the bottoms of the drawers so they will operate smoothly meant the felt could be added to the bottom of the cabinet. I'll soon have my craft papers organized.



Decorative Paint for Picture Frames

The Cabinet Is Ready To Use


Now that this cabinet is finished I'm looking forward to organizing my decorative craft papers in this whimsical storage box. I'm also looking forward to my next furniture painting project.

Let this one encourage you to go ahead and do that big or small piece of furniture you've been thinking about. Hope to see it in a hub soon!

Have you ever used decorative painting to renew a piece of furniture?

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What do you think of this painted cabinet project? 20 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Your did such a fantastic job on this cabinet project. I love the green color your chose. Always an interesting read!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Your work is so neat and tidy! Taking time to really do a piece right makes such a difference. The cabinet is adorable!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey Author

teaches12345:

Thanks kindly for checking out this project. Now if I can just get organized… :)

So appreciate your visit and comment!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Great information and so well explained,well done ! Great photos to !

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Your cabinet looks lovely. You're quite an artist, transforming a drab-looking cabinet into a beauty. Thanks for sharing.


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    RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni1,398 Followers
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    Robertatalloni means creativity. Whether in writing, or in more typical art forms, artistry (and a bit of fun) must be part of the work.



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