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Paint A Small Cabinet
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
Beginning the Cabinet Project with a Plan
• 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
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.
Prime insides of cabinet and drawers first, then the outsides, including the bottoms and backs.
Paint the cream colored base coat over the primed surfaces of the interior and top edges.
Put painter's tape in place. Paint all the exterior surfaces below the tape line and the drawers sage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!