Wood cabinet upcycle: DIY

When I moved from Assam to Gurgaon, some of my luggage came in wooden trunks. These trunks were originally packing containers, so it was a no-brainer to recycle them and put them to the same purpose, using them haul my stuff from one side of the country to the other.

Once they were here, in my flat in Gurgaon, though, they were an eyesore. Made from beat up, scarred wood in a horribly unflattering colour (reminding me of hospital furniture), the only thing I could do was cover it up under old blankets and tablecloths.

I eventually found a carpenter who was able to convert a plain trunk into a cabinet by nailing the lid of the trunk to the box, cutting out one wall and converting it into a door.

Wood cabinet upcycle: DIY

Here it is, in all its ‘glory’.

Fast forward to some months later, when I was idly perusing Pinterest, and I saw this beautiful DIY upgrade of a wooden cabinet. And that was when the idea bit – what if I upcycled my own cabinet?

First off, I did my own research on Pinterest – which is always fun – and collated all these tips and ideas for the eventual design on my own cabinet.

Follow SS Kuruganti’s board Cabinet DIY on Pinterest.

You can see the inspiration for my cabinet here – border design, door design, etc.

I wanted to give my cabinet a kitschy Indian feel – all bright colours and typical Indian design. I think I succeeded!
Wood cabinet upgrade DIY

I use it to store my odds and ends, and its surface is a convenient place to keep my jam jars and bottles of ketchup and pickles.

DIY wood cabinet upcycle

Read on to find out how I did it.

DIY Wood cabinet upcycle

You will need:

DIY wood cabinet upcycle

  • Sandpaper – a few sheets. There is a special kind of sandpaper meant for wood and paint, do be sure to use only this version.
  • Paint – again, there is a specific kind of paint meant for wood. I wanted to go for the weathered wood-bright colours-kitschy look, so I chose bright, high contrast colours like sunshine yellow and royal blue. I also used some assorted colours like white, black, and red for the design on the door. The rest I made by mixing colours (red + yellow + white created orange, for example. Blue + yellow + white for green, etc. Unused pink nail polish for the flower in the middle.)
  • A paint brush or two – I used at least three, of varying sizes.
  • Gloves
  • A rubber band – this is a tip I picked up from Pinterest. Stretch a rubber band lengthwise over your paint tin, and you get a surface you can use to let excess paint run off your paintbrush so you don’t get any drips. This is very important, as you will see later!
  • Paint thinner – when the paint thickens up or you need to get rid of any smudges or mistakes

DIY wood cabinet upcycle

I started out by thoroughly cleaning and sanding the surface of my cabinet, making sure the surface where I wanted my paint to go was smooth.

I also taped copious amounts of newspaper to the inside of the cabinet, since I wasn’t interested in painting the inside – see how my laziness shines through – I only wanted to work on the parts that are immediately visible to visitors to my home!

Wood cabinet DIY upcycle
The raw canvas.

The painting starts

I forgot to take a picture after the first coat, so you’ll have to make do with this one, which shows the bottom half of the cabinet after one coat, and the top half after two.

Wood cabinet DIY upcycle
First coat.

Following three coats of yellow, the cabinet was finally a colour that looked good.

diy wood cabinet upcycle

The door still needs another coat, but I wasn’t too heavy with the yellow, since I wanted the cabinet to have a weathered wood kind of effect, and the hint of the original colour peeping through the yellow fits just right.

More in the second part!

[mood| diy wood cabinet upcycle yay!]
[music| Walk the Moon: Shut up and dance!]

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