Friday, January 22, 2016

Gun Cabinet Makeover

As I mentioned in the craft room tour post, the gun cabinet makeover was one of the first projects I completed.  In one of my Pinterest searches I had found these amazing faux specimen drawers over at The Painted Hive.  I was totally and completely in love!  Kristine is amazing and followed her excellent instructions with a few tweaks here and there.  I have been obsessing over card catalogs and furniture with small drawers for a while now (along with the rest of the world I'm sure).  I still haven't found a card catalog I can afford, but this cabinet is a pretty close second.  And at around $80 total cost, it is much more budget friendly.  

So what I really needed to start with was a good base cabinet.  Kristine at The Painted Hive had used a melamine set of drawers to make her cabinet, so I was hoping to find something similar.  One day as I'm strolling through my local thrift store I spotted this little beauty:

She may not be much to look at but she was speaking to me!  I'm pretty sure it was someone's wood shop project.  It just has that "homemade" quality about it that can't be found anywhere else.  The thing that really caught my eye was the size.  It's not too wide or deep, only about 14 inches each way, but it is beautifully tall.  Perfect for my faux drawers.  With a cost of $15, it was meant to be.

I started out by measuring the width of the cabinet door.  This helped me determine the width I would need to cut each drawer.  I did a very slight overhand of the existing door of about 1/8 inch on each side. I then went on a hunt to Home Depot to search out the perfect wood to use for the drawer fronts.  I don't have a table saw, so cutting down a large sheet of thin wood like Kristine did was not an option for me.  I knew that it needed to be as light as possible because for a door this long, I would be adding a lot of weight with the fake drawer fronts and didn't want to bog down the poor hinges too much.  I settled on vinyl boards that were on clearance.  They are actually made for outdoor applications, like patio trim, etc. but they were lighter then wood and on clearance. Bam! Double win.  Since I was building out the door depth wise, I also built out the drawer at the bottom of the unit so that it would all be flush.  I did that with a 1x8 board.  I attached everything with screws driven through the back of the door.  We just laid it all out and then spaced them evenly.

The top and bottom of the cabinet were pretty small and I knew I needed to build them out a bit.  I had a piece of MDF cut down for the top that overhangs by a couple of inches, and then attached a decorative strip cut at 45s to give it a crown molding look.  All the wood was the biggest cost in this project, totaling around $35.  It would have been cheaper if I hadn't cut all the drawers too narrow the first time and had to go back and buy more.  You know that old adage Measure twice, cut once?  It's not just a clever saying!


The bottom base wasn't meaty enough either. It was just a single 1/2 board down there.  So we built a base out of scrap 2x4 by just mitering the edges at 45 degrees and putting them together like a frame.  Then we screwed them into the base.  See that groove?  That's where the old base and the new, thicker base meet.  I'm sure if I was any good at all at caulking I could have filled that in so it looked like one board, but- I'm not!

For the paint I used regular old black chalkboard paint that I had from another project.  After it was dry I rubbed a piece of chalk all over it to age it.  This is where I went a bit wrong.  I was a little heavy-handed with the chalk on the sides of the cabinet and it didn't really wipe off like I thought it would.  If I were doing it all over again, I would apply a little less chalk.

The finishing touch was the gorgeous bronze hardware.  I bought them off Ebay and had to order two sets because I have 18 drawer fronts to cover and they were sold in sets of 10.  That set me back $28 but it definitely makes it complete.  I filled the pulls with labels from The Painted Hive that she has available as a free download. 

I got the casters off another item that I had bought at the thrift store for $3.  I figured it was probably cheaper than buying new ones at the store and I liked that they were close to the same brass color as the pulls.

You may be wondering what I use this cabinet for.  Well, I had planned to add shelves, but I decided that the gun dividers that were already in there would work great for wrapping paper.  So my paper rolls are in the upper cabinet and my ribbons, etc. are in the drawer below.


Thanks for checking out my fabulous gun cabinet makeover!

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