I recently did a massive spring clean in the studio, rearranging furniture, emptying cabinets and reorganising the storage setup. It was a little chaotic but the results were so worth it!
One project I decided to tackle in the process was the restoration of a vintage school cabinet. What inspired me about this piece was the shelves on the inside and how perfect they would be for paint storage! At the time, my paint cans lived in various locations around the studio and it was starting to feel a bit messy. I was faced with the decision to either restore the wood or paint the piece entirely. Because the wood wasn’t in the best of condition, I decided to paint it!
When deciding how I wanted to paint it and what colour I wanted to go with, I went back and forth between a few different ideas, should I do blue? Maybe a bright yellow? I ended up landing on the idea of covering the front in all of my favourite, go to paint colours to make my DIY life so much easier!
Whenever I have to compare paint colours, I usually will paint them onto A4 pieces of paper and hang them up on a blank wall to see what they all look like together. I used to use pieces of wood but the paper has been easier because I can just keep them afterwards. They always look so pretty hanging up, but they do tend to take up a lot of wall space. I figured having them on the cabinet would be a very useful and pretty alternative!
This project wasn’t too difficult, even though doing the paint swatches themselves took longer than I expected. Here’s the process I followed to create this.
- First I cleaned the cabinet, because it was SO dirty. It even had a few wasps nests in it!
- I then sanded the outside of the cabinet. This isn’t something I usually do when I am painting a piece of furniture, but at that point I wasn’t sure what I was going to do and wanted to see how the wood turned out after a sand down. It didn’t look that nice and the cabinet had lots of damaged parts, so in the end painting it seemed the best option.
- I painted it with 3 coats of simple white primer paint.
- I then drew a grid on the front using a level, I used pencil to do this.
- The next step was to decide on the best way to lay out the colours, initially I was thinking a mixed random approach, but then decided to group the colours in a line and then go from darkest to lightest.
- I painted the colours using a small brush, which I had to change/clean between each swatch so the colours didn’t blend.
- Once the paint was dry, I used a Sharpie to add colour names below.
- To finish the cabinet, I painted the original handle white and put it back on.
At first I really wasn’t sure how this would turn out, it’s so different from other projects I’ve done in the past, it could turn out really cool or just be awful. But something I found a lot of comfort in while doing it, was the fact that even if it did turn out to be the most ugly/random looking project ever, it would still be extremely useful!
It’s quite freeing to not have to care that much about how something will look or whether it will fit the *aesthetic*. I mean, that didn’t stop me spending hours trying to work out how to make the grid work, or practicing over and over exactly how the swatches would look when I applied them. But the overall feeling of knowing the practicality of this piece would be worth it no matter how it looked in the end was what made this project one of my favourites!
I’m just so happy with how it turned out and it’s already proven to be one of the handiest projects I’ve ever done!
If you liked this post, then you should checkout some of my other projects!
How To Paint Furniture (And Why You Should)
How To Make A Kids Arched Desk