The tale of two cabinets.
Once upon a time I fell in love with a cabinet… and because I asked nicely (and because the people who owned it were living out of state and had placed my friend in charge of clearing out their belongings) it was given to me.
We had the cabinet for many months and were really enjoying it in our dining room, but then my friend wrote me with an anguished plea. She had absatively been given specific permission to pass the cabinet along to me, but one spouse had forgotten this (which happens with altzheimers and/or selective memories) and was now obsessing over its absence. She felt terrible and ridiculous, but could we please, please, please return the cabinet?
And then painted red.
The next step was to create a pattern with some parchment paper….
….and to get started painting!
I bought a quart of the red and a sample of the yellow at Home Depot. My selection was pretty close, but I still mixed my purchased paints with what we had on hand to get things just right. The crackle background, on the other hand, was something of a learning experience. I started with Martha Stewart crackle finish in Oat… but that didn’t work at all, as in… it was total crud that I had to sand off, paint over, and start from square one. After not being able to find another type of crackle medium in the paint aisle, a self-defined “DIY Country Boy Painter” suggested I try a mineral oil rub and a top coat cut with denatured alcohol. The mineral oil would create a slick and slow drying surface, while the denatured alcohol, which evaporates quickly, would cause the top coat the dry, shrink, and crack. I figured I’d give it a go… I already had mineral oil at home and the denatured alcohol was just $6 for a sizable container. And you know what? Thank heavens for DIY Country Boys, because that did the trick!
Once the panels were mounted back onto the unit, I gave the entire thing a good sanding around the edges and corners and brushed the whole thing with a watered down stain to “antique” it further and to sober the red, which was still a bit to “Happy Fire Engine” instead of “Antique Love.”
If you have a superhuman eye for detail, there are five differences between the two units: 1) the top piece of trim on the original (on the right) uses cove molding instead of quarter round; 2) our cabinet is 1″ deeper; 3) the leaves of the plant on the original are more blue-green and less brown-green; 4) the hinges on ours are a bit different, and 5) the vase on the left hand door of our reproduction was bugging me, so after taking this picture I fattened it a bit to match the right door…. so our copy’s got fatter vases.
Here’s a close up of the handles, where you can really see the “wear” I put on it with the sanding and the stain.
And another picture of the the handles that shows the crackle finish. I’m so in love….!
I’m going to rub the whole thingdown with a coat of polyurethane to protect the finish and shine it up a bit, but it’s 99.9% done and I am so proud. This has been one of those projects where we knew we could do it… but we had no idea it would be so… perfect. I’m more than happy to send the original cabinet back now because we have this beautiful piece of furniture that we lovingly made together, something with much more sentimental value.
Cost of project: $80 for wood, hardware, and paint. That price tag includes some of the mistakes we made, so if we were to make more we could probably pare it down to about $50-60, especially since we’ve got plenty of leftover paint.