Display Cabinet Update

Hi Everyone,

Back for round 2, I have done so many things in the past that it will be difficult to know where to start telling you bout all of them. This will be a learning curve for me as I carry on with this journey and I hope that you all can join me on it.

I sometimes go out and just buy things on a whim, not always a great idea, but I think if I see something and I like it then somehow it is worth it.

I went to a local Charity shop a few months ago and was looking for something specific and after searching on places like eBay  and all over the internet, and just not finding what I wanted, this was sort of a last resort.

And wow, was I happy I went there. Maybe people dismiss shops like that because the idea of buying other peoples old stuff just seems a bit old, and in a world where everything has to be new and shiny I think a lot of really nice solid pieces go to waste and are left forgotten.

As luck may have it I found exactly what I was looking for and also something I was not, but just had to have.

This blog will be about the unwanted piece…

The first thing that attracted me to the piece was the price, because lets be honest, who doesn’t like a bargain. It was hidden underneath and behind a lot of really nice furniture, but I saw the £10 price tag and had to see what it looked like.

So I managed to convince the store clerk to help me uncover the £10 item and to my amazement it was a very nice unusual glass fronted and sided cabinet. Now don’t ask me the age of it,as your guess is as good as mine, and in all honesty it was a little battered and mistreated. But for £10 even if I used it for fire wood it would still be a good buy. So obviously I did.

OK lets move on the the important stuff, you must be bursting by now to see what the cabinet looks like…


As you can see whoever owned it before had removed the veneer and also in the process damaged the wood quite a bit, but this didn’t really bother me as I knew I could fill it.

I started by taking the cabinet apart, removing the door and all the glass panels in the main part, this did make the cabinet seem very flimsy and very light, as with the glass out there is not much left to the cabinet. The glass in the door I left in, as it was very solid, and I also didn’t want to make more work than was needed.


The glass panels in the main cabinet were only tacked in with thin wooden strips and some pins. So had no trouble removing them.

As you could tell in the photo above the veneer around the base had also been removed,but just around the door area, I then removed it all the way around as there was no way of saving what was left. After that removal I sanded it so give it a nice smooth finish.

I knew I was going to make some chalk paint from the start of the project, so went out and got a nice deep red paint. I was lucky enough to find a litre for £4, it was some sort of feature wall paint so very bright and punchy.

Now you might wonder why I went for a red? I had started a painting for my front room and this was a colour I had both there and in my wool floor rug. So it went perfectly with that. You will see a bit of the painting in some of the photos.

Sorry for going off of subject so fast…haha

Anyway I mixed my paint and painted the whole cabinet.


Pre painting I had filled all the holes and gouges in the door front, waited for that to dry and then sanded it to get it as smooth as possible. I had also removed the original door lock in the cabinet and filled the key hole as well, as I didn’t want to put a lock on it again and I had no keys for the existing lock. I have to admit I was a bit impatient waiting for the filler to dry, but learn from my experience and don’t rush it. I had to go back a few times and add some more filler because I sanded away too much as it wasn’t 100% dry yet.


I did a couple of coats to make sure everything was well covered.

I thought at this stage that the paint colour was a little bit too light and bright and I wanted more of a burgundy red, but didn’t want to spend more money on more paint, and frankly I don’t think I could have found anything much darker unless I had it mixed at a supplier. And this would obviously been at a great cost.

I then waxed the whole cabinet. The wax made the colour darker and I was much happier with it that way.

Now take your time with the waxing, because the more time you spend the nicer the finish and shine will be. I spent ages buffing and the result was/is truly amazing.

The waxing is also probably the hardest work you will have to do in any project.

Before I put the glass panels back into the unit I decides to add a little bit of interest, I didn’t just want to paint the wooden strips that hold the glass, so opted for a nice print.

Now don’t laugh, but I had some left over Christmas wrapping paper, it was some red stags heads printed on brown paper. I covered the wood strips in PVA glue and wrapped the strips with the paper. Kind of the same thing you would do when you decoupage.

After the strips dried I replaced the glass and tacked the strips back into place, I think it came out really well and is something completely different.


I think the door painting was quite tricky as I didn’t want to spend loads of time taping everything off, so I just painted it and scraped the paint off the glass once it was dried with a Stanley blade. Be sure to always use a new blade with every project as they go blunt and sometimes even rust and this could scratch glass and leave you with an unsightly mess.

To finish the cabinet off I added a knob, which I might add it never had before ( how do you open a door with no handle). I went for a clear glass ball knob as I went for this knob on all my pieces in the front room and I like all my pieces to match.

Once you are at this stage it’s all fun, you can like me add a tassel or just leave it as is and decide where you wish to display it and what to put in it.


I like to move my furniture about constantly so the pieces don’t always end up where I initially intended them to be.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, I would love to hear more from you guys and any comments would be appreciated.

Till next time, Cheerio 😉


1950’s School Desk Up-cycle

1950’s School Desk Up-cycle

Right, let me begin at the beginning, I have been doing up-cycling for some time now and have been wanting to do a step by step thing for a while. Though I have thought about it I have never actually done it.

So bare with me as this is the first of hopefully many Step by Step up-cycle projects.

Back to the desk. I was fortunate enough to have the chance of getting my hands on a couple of 1950’s school desks from a local up-cycle shop. They had too many to know what to do with and thought I would be a good bet to hand them to, to do something a little different.

I wanted to do something a little out of the norm but wasn’t quite sure in what direction I wanted to go. After a while of thinking I knew I wanted to do something that incorporated black and white checker board.

So that became the starting point of my design.

Like I mentioned before I bought 2 of the desks and upon delivery I noticed that the one desk seemed to be in a much worse state than the other, I chose this one to be my first venture.

Unfortunately I was so eager to get started I completely forgot to take a picture of what the desk looked like right at the start, so my first shot is of the desk after I had already sanded the base. I didn’t do the lid at this stage as I left it till the end.


Desk at start after sanding


Desk at start

As you might also be able to see,the lid was actually the wrong way up initially which suited me well as the underneath of the lid was in much better condition. The bit you can see in the photo ended up being on the inside.

After sanding I painted the whole base white, this gave me a clean slate to start my design on. I did my design in pencil with a 3 sided ruler and also used the ruler as my guide and square width and height.

I then painted the black squares by hand as I didn’t want things to be too perfect. I feel that if it is too perfect you lose some of the character.

IMG_20160305_171743I didn’t want the whole design to look exactly the same over the whole desk so changed things up as I went along. I suppose some people like to know what they are going to do throughout the whole design, but I like to mix things up as and when the mood grabs me.IMG_20160305_171724

Now at this stage I feel I need to mention that this is quite a time consuming thing to take up and if you are like me and want results fast then maybe this might not be the thing for you, or like in my case it will help you to work on having more patience.

I had to do more then a couple of coats the get a nice even tone on the paint. So keep that in mind too.

After this step it was time to add some colour. Now I knew from the word go I wanted to use red and purple within the design. And maybe that was a good thing, knowing what colours you want to use within your design will help you visualise what your piece might look like once completed.

I was initially going to paint the inkwell and pencil/pen holder red, (as the shape that I drew out reminded me of a thermostat, you know like in the cartoons), but I knew a lot of the desk would be red, so I opted for the purple instead.


At this stage I was getting rather excited at what possibilities this desk held in store.

I then moved to the front of the desk, and again I did some checker board, I didn’t want to do the whole front in that as I wanted to create some interest. So I came up with the idea to do some sort of plaque.

Initially the the checker board was meant to go all the way down the front legd, but decided against that and added some yellow and more of the purple here, as there wasn’t a lot of places left to incorporate it on the desk.


In the end the yellow just didn’t work for me as it made the desk look a little cheap and that was not really the look I was going for. I opted to add a bit of glitz to the design and found this gold leaf paint and that did a perfect job.

I was originally going to make the rest of the desk red, but saw the opportunity to add a bit more checker board and the back panel seemed the perfect spot.

One thing to learn/note here is that no design is perfect from the word go and sometimes you just have to stand back and look at what you have done. Does it flow, does it all work and is what you see appealing to your eye?

I really liked the red as it was punchy and really rich, so I added this on the inside of the storage as well as the underside of the desk. I paint everything,even the bits you don’t see, as I think it finishes things off nicely and as  I wasn’t planning to keep this for myself, that way the finish was as good as I could get it.


(Apologies for the bad shot,but didn’t notice when I took it.)

Next was filling the plaque at the front. I decided to stick to my geometric design, but wanted to add some more colour. Saying that though I didn’t want to make the desk too colourful but wanted something quite punchy and in total contrast to what I had already used on the desk.

I had some teal paint left from another job so knew I would use that and then just got something lighter to accent and accentuate it.

I have to admit when it comes to measurements, I am not always all that aware and sometimes just wing it. I did however make sure I started my measurement in the centre of the plaque.

This was quite an important step as it enabled me to continue the design on the top of the lid as well and made everything match up quite nicely. Again I used gold leaf paint here to make the plaque pop a bit.


I finished off the inside by creating a division between that and the outer rim of the desk by using a different colour, again my trusty purple came to the rescue.

Next I moved on the lid and this turned out to be the most important stage of all. I started by sanding it like I did with the base. I knew I wanted to leave some part of it in its original state to pay homage to where the desk came from and show a little bit of it’s history.

I painted the lid white, as I did with the base, leaving a bit on the underside unpainted. I left this quite crude. I then matched up the checker board pattern from the base to the top section of the desk. I wanted the lines to match up as well as they could. ( I am a bit of a perfectionist and if they didn’t match  up I think it would have driven me insane)

I decided to mirror the plaque detail on top as it was on the front, I really loved the teal colours. I matched up the pattern again stating from the centre of the desk top. I painted the lighter colour first,  then I pencilled in my design and opted to this time to tape all the edges where I needed to pain with masking tape. This was a huge mistake and made my job twice as long.

When I peeled the masking tape off after doing the darker colour, it didn’t just rip off my first shade but I had a huge amount of bleeding. I had to then go back and re paint all the lighter bits and square off the darker bits too. But as they say “You live and learn”.

All I can say is that in some cases you just have to trust your instincts and do what you think is best, because sometimes you are totally right and you might even save yourself some time and a lot of effort.


I was now nearing the final steps, and even though I was very pleased at this stage I just wanted to add a last pop of red. Who would have thought that a little red edge would make such a difference, but it did.( My thinking on that was it would be an area that would have a lot of touching so white would have just gotten dirty)

After the painting was done, all that was left was the waxing of the desk, this took some time, but once the shine appeared it finished the desk off perfectly and with the wax picking up some of the other paint colours it just added to the charm.

The last few shots show the completed desk design.


Before completely finishing with the waxing I signed and dated the piece so that it could hopefully remain there for the rest of it’s life. I also sanded and resprayed the hinges a nice gloss black and that just gave a bit of sparkle.

I got asked to put the desk forward for a vintage furniture event at a local shop and it was one of the first items that got sold. Like anything in life you start doing you are continuously learning from the experiences. Though this was a very fun project, it was very time consuming and somewhat messy, not something I would like to do on a daily basis,but as a one off project it was super rewarding.

Now to finish off I would just like to mention that I mixed all my own chalk paint and I know you can find many recipes out there, but I think you just need to get your hands dirty and see what you can come up with. I personally like mixing my own as I can use any colour my heart desires and it is also a lot cheaper then buying Annie Sloan paint. Mostly I just use tester pots and that works perfectly for me.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog and I would love to hear from you all with your ideas and any comments you might have. Feedback is always welcomed.

Hope to see you all on the next one. Cheerio 😉