Thursday, August 25, 2011

Antique Ironing Board Cupboard

First off, let me say a big THANK YOU!  This is a screen shot of my blog's stats page:

See That??  1,000 page views!  Hooray!  Thank you all for making me feel special.  Actually, I'm excited that people tend to visit based on content.  I'm glad--I hope that you all learn something with me along the way.  Thank you for your visits and your comments.

Earlier tonight it was actually at 999 visits, and Joe wanted to be the lucky Mr. 1,000, and so he was.  Congratulations, honey, you get a gold star for the day.

And on to why you clicked on this post in the first place!

I found at a garage sale this great old cupboard, originally a built-in ironing board cupboard:

Awww, Cutie!

It's hard to tell in these pictures, but the backing inside the cupboard is the old, legit beadboard--you know, the tongue and groove stuff, not the sheets you buy at the store now.  It was calling my name.  And I said "Okay!"

As you can see, the cupboard was painted white sometime in its life.  I did figure out while I was transforming it that it, once upon a time, belonged in a kitchen similar to this one, seen all over America in older homes:


Oh, Yeah, baby.  How American is that!  Classic.
Well, I decided instead of leaving the cupboard as a hideout for an ironing board, I would give it a new life as a spice rack or similar shelving piece.  (Do you still iron?  I don't, but I'm curious if that's the norm or the exception).  I modeled the shelf placement on a spice rack, but whoever ends up buying it at Now & Again can use it for whatever they dream up!

So first, I took out the ironing board--I'll figure out a new life for it later.
Next, I needed to figure out shelving material.  I wanted to keep the natural wear of the piece, while giving it a new but still worn look.  To go along with natural wear, I decided to use some pieces of pallet wood left over from a table I built.  What's that you say?  I never showed you that project?  Yes, it's on the list.  Patience, my friends.

I love the weathered look of pallet wood.  And the pieces I used happened to be from an old oak pallet--very heavy duty stuff.  More than enough strength to hold your paprika.

Next, I decided to use permanently installed supports for each shelf.  Sorry, not a moveable shelving arrangement.  I just don't like all those holes on the sides of pieces.  

To start, I found some pieces of pine that were about 3/4"x3/4", and cut them into 3 1/8" long pieces using the table saw (Wear safety glasses and watch those fingers!).

I am so proud of my Skilzzzzzz.

After I had them all cut to length I measured out my shelf layout, making identical marks on each side.  I then drew guide lines using what Joe says is a "Framing Square" (I call it a big metal thing shaped like an "L") to draw lines that were perpendicular to the back--hence giving me a line to lay out my pieces and make the shelves straight and level.

Now it's time to glue.

Introducing the glue that Joe uses and swears by: 

This stuff is great.  I'm not paid to say that, but really it's good.

At this point, I am assuming that you all passed kindergarten with flying colors, so I won't go into much detail about the gluing process.

 But here is the process in pictures:

*I interrupt your picture storyboard to bring you this important message:

Oh Yeah, I guess you should know that to get a good seal on wood, you should be able to press until the glue starts oozing out the cracks--that means you have enough glue in there.  Then wipe off the excess with a wet rag.

*I will now return you to your regular programming*
And once all the supports were nailed in place, I simply cut down the pallet wood to fit as shelves.  They just sit on the supports and are really sturdy.  No need to supplement with glue.

And then I noticed a little missing piece.  On one side was this little quarter round trim, which was absent on the other side:
So, feeling powerful with my basement full of hubby's tools, I decided I would find me a scrap, sand it down into a rounded piece, and glue that baby in!

A little time, glue, and a clamp later, here we are!  Let the glue set for 30 minutes and symmetry was back in town.
And now, the paint!  As I said before, I wanted to keep the look it already had intact.  So I settled on a couple thin washes--this adds color without completely covering the age that is already evident on the finish.  Basically, it's painting with muddy water.  When you do this, make sure that you plan on sealing your final piece with a clear finish--I use Minwax Polycrylic water-based polyurethane, generally in the satin finish.  I have just had the best experience with that, as opposed to other clear sealers.

Here is the application of a sage-green wash on the inset panel of the door:
The biggest challenge with this paint technique is keeping straight, even lines and not showing where you stopped and started your brush strokes.  It takes some practice, but keep a light touch on the paint brush, and you'll get the hang of it. Always try to end with an upward sweeping motion instead of stopping your brush and picking it up off the surface.  Movement of your brush is key.

After the green inset, I did a brown wash on the other areas of the cabinet, wiping off most finish on the outside trim to keep it more white than the rest.

I also wiped lightly around the outside of the door to make it contrast against the brown framing.

Almost Done!  Can you tell what's missing??
HARDWARE!  I was all prepared to put on this fancy metal handle, but I found a little old white wooden handle that was just too cute to pass up.  So the wooden handle wins over the metal one.  Doesn't it look like it's been there all along?
And finally I mussed up the finish a bit to make it look a little time-worn and loved.  It helps blend the old nicks that show through the new finish and it gives it a bit of character.

So now our little cupboard is ready for the store...and then someone can take it home and love it for many years.

I did get so excited that I forgot to snap a picture of the shelves once they were installed.  I will try to get that taken, along with pictures of the second finish of the long black table, and make a special "catch up" post soon.

Again, thanks for the 1,000 visits!  Have a great Friday and enjoy your summer while it's still here!

Update!  Here are some pictures of it finished in the store.


  1. the picture of the older kitchen cabinets remind me of what we had in Robins before we redid the kitchen. The spice cabinet looks great you are very talented!

  2. Thanks for sharing the natural tricks to cleaning & polishing your antique art deco furniture. These simple tips make your furniture shiny. If you want to buy Art Deco Furniture at best price then please visit us


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