I know it can be frustrating sometimes to read a blog and be told that someone made a gorgeous whatever for only $20! Well yeah, it was $20 because they already had paint and stain and sandpaper and all the tools they needed to do the project. BUT. Once you get started refinishing furniture (and especially if you start doing it to sell), you eventually amass a LOT of products and pretty soon you are doing projects for little or next to nothing.
It does take time, patience and consistency to find great deals. Check in at your local thrift store a few times a month, check the Craigslist free section and furniture section every few days. Think outside the box and repurpose items you already have. Buy paint from the “oops” section at Lowe’s or Home Depot. In the last few weeks I’ve found 2 gallons of paint that were originally about $33 for only $3 and $5, and lots of sample-sized paint for 25-50 cents. I also re-use my paint brush and foam roller as many times as I can, placing them in a plastic bag in the fridge between uses.
So. When I tell you I did this project for around $20, that’s why…once you get going with this hobby, you end up doing A LOT of projects for cheap or free (or for profit if you’re selling). If you don’t already have supplies, you need to take that into account when considering your cost.
Something I’ve seen quite a few times on Craigslist is a listing for free old kitchen or laundry cabinets that someone is pulling out so they can install new ones. Usually it’s a kitchen full of cabinets, but this time there were only a couple of cabinets because they were from a laundry room, so I went to go grab them.
I forgot to get a picture before I took the doors off, but here’s the before without the doors. You can see that the top plywood was sagging on the right, and it needed a good vacuum and cleaning.
The sagging plywood on top wasn’t a problem…you can remove it completely since we’ll be building a new top anyways. The sagging on the bottom shelf was a problem, so I attached a few supports using scrap wood.
Add feet (attach blocks of wood in the corners first, then screw feet in) to give it some height. Remove doors, clean and sand, 2 coats of primer then 2 coats of paint. If you need some painting instructions, check out this post.
The only things I spent money on for this whole project (because I already had most of the supplies) was the board of wood for the top and the new handles. I needed a 13″ board for the top, so I had to buy a 16″ board and have them cut it down to 13″ for me (Lowe’s does this for free). This left me with a 3″ board that I used to make this frame. It was also longer than I needed, so I got a few extra pieces of scrap wood to save for future projects.
I placed the board on top to check for fit (make sure you measure before you go buy your board). I added 3″ to the length so it would be longer than the cabinets, and about 1″ for the front to hang out a little.
Sand the board down, apply wood conditioner (<–Amazon link to my favorite wood conditioner), then whatever stain you want. For my 1st coat I used Classic Gray, then Special Walnut for the 2nd coat. You can click on either of those links to see the product on Amazon. Protect with a coat of finishing wax.
Decide if you want your handles in the middle or towards the top, then drill holes and screw into place. To make sure the handles were even, I put the cabinet doors next to each other and marked where to drill for the handles.
The doors were looking really plain to me so I wanted to add something extra to them. I looked around for wood appliqués but couldn’t find anything that would work. I decided to use a stencil that I already had, but only wanted to use a part of it so I taped off the parts I didn’t want to paint. Centering the stencil was the hardest part…make sure you measure to make sure it’s centered and perfectly straight before you start painting.
The stencil still looked like it needed a little something more.
I picked another part of the stencil and added it to the right and left sides.
Put the doors back on. There was still something a little off about the look of it, so I applied a coat of dark wax over all the blue parts.
This tied it in with the brown top, too. Right now I just have the top sitting on top of the base. To attach, you can use L-shaped brackets from underneath or maybe some Liquid Nails.
Don’t want to forget this DIY project?