furniture stenciling

A Kitchen Cabinet Re-Make Story!

You would pay a fortune for custom built furniture but why do that when you can get old cabinets on the side of the road and create functional art with stenciling furniture for really cheap!

I’m always on the look-out for old kitchen cabinets being left out for the trash. The top cabinets can be used to make wonderful furniture with lots of extra storage. Plus the old cabinets are nice solid wood and wonderful to work with.

Gems In the Rough

When I spotted these gems in the rough on the side of the road I already knew what to do with them. They would become my new TV Cabinet. Not only did I need something to set the TV on I needed lots of storage to hide my DVDs, CDs, books, cables, etc.

They were in pretty good shape but needed a good cleaning and light sanding. The doors had already been taken off (but luckily they were there).

The real beauty of working with old cabinets (besides the price, right?) is that the work of building is already done. You only need to decorate them and that’s the fun part anyway!

Find out how the furniture pieces below made the transformation from trash to treasure with a few stencils!

Make Over for Old Cabinet

The cabinets were joined side by side and secured with a plank of wood on top and bottom. I have the wood boards flush with the back of the cabinets but extending over 1” on the other three sides. Use screws or nails (your choice). Whatever you use make sure to fill in the holes or depressions with wood putty and sand it smooth before painting.

I used a 1” rope trim to cover the edges of the wood boards at top and bottom (on the front and sides) plus along the center where the cabinets meet with a little wood glue and some finish nails.

I bought some nice carved feet for the front of the cabinet (3) and plain ones for the back (2). The carved ones were expensive so I saved money by putting plain ones in back. The feet came with screws in the top so it was just a matter of drilling a hole in the bottom board where I wanted them and screwing them in.

Painting and Stenciling Furniture (Once Somebody's Kitchen Cabinets)

Then I painted the cabinet and doors. I chose to go bold and went with red (but color is your choice). I wanted to add a unique look so I blended in a little black paint to give the appearance of age. Plus I pushed black paint into the creases of the rope trim and wiped off with a damp cloth to make the rope design stand out.

When the painting was done, I turned to the design I wanted for the doors and found the perfect one at All-About-Stencils. It’s free and you can just print it, cut it and paint! Easy enough!

I bought all new hardware to match my design and Voila! It’s great to custom design a piece like this. When you do it yourself, you have the chance to make it an exact fit to your taste. Isn’t that wonderful!

Oopps! Looks like my hinges are a little off! Oh well!

Cost of the Cabinet Re-Make

Most of all you can’t beat the price. The cabinets were free and the wood, paint and hardware came up to just over $90. Pretty cheap for custom furniture, right?

Here’s a close up of the stencil! If you look close you can see that the color of the design is not just a single paint. I usually add at least two and in the case three different colors: Mustard, light yellow and a moss green. This combination gives it an aged look and you’ll find that multiple colors of any sort will give an image texture.

I mentioned earlier how easy it was to print, cut and paint the stencil but I want to share with you one more quick tip that will save you time and effort. Once I got the stencil to be the right size I needed (you may need to split, print on two different pages and splice them together if you need an image larger than 8-1/2” x 11”), I covered it with a layer of clear shelf liner before cutting out the pattern. This allowed me to use the stencil for each cabinet whereas I would have had to print and cut four patterns out of the paper. Plus you can store and use this stencil again and again.

More Ideas for Old Cabinets

But wait there’s more (sounds like a low budget commercial)! Here’s a picture of my library. I found these three cabinets in the neighbors trash, painted them and then built the shelves on top. Above I can display my books in the open shelves but the cabinets provide storage for papers, binders, magazine and all the other stuff that an office/library needs but you don’t want to be seen.

Best of all this is just a plain white easy do project. It could fit in almost anywhere like around the TV area for CD and DVD storage, or in a kids room for books and toys.

You know this would look great in a kitchen/dining area with some beautiful china on display and the cabinets for keeping pots and cookware. Haha! Well, I just made it full circle from kitchen around the house and back to the kitchen. I better stop before I go any further.

Cabinet Becomes a Nest for the Cat!

By the way, it’s wasn’t my intent to store the cat in the cabinet but she has made it her newest nest! “Build it and they shall come.”

So, now you see that crafting can produce very useful stuff for our homes! I would love to see what variations you can put to this project so send in those pictures.

Take Care and Happy Crafting,