Giving an old hardware organizer a makeover

When I was at the thrift store the other day, I happened upon this sad little blue metal hardware organizer for a couple dollars.

It was dirty and greasy, and the plastic drawers had issues. Some of them had dried glue stuck onto the bottom. The backs of some of the others were misshapen, like the plastic had melted.

All the pieces were there, though, and the drawers opened and closed, so I decided I’d take it home and give it a makeover, similar to the one that Katie at Little House of Four had done. (Check out the link; she made hers look like a miniature card catalog. It’s soo stinkin’ cute.)

My first step was to clean the grime off all the pieces. Then I sprayed on some black satin spray paint I had in my basement.

I wanted to make the drawer fronts look like wood, so I bought the thinnest piece of balsa wood that I could find, which was 1/32″. The wood was so thin, I was able to cut through it with a kitchen shears.

I found a can of Minwax golden oak stain in my basement and used that to stain the wood.

Then I measured the drawer fronts and cut the balsa wood into pieces. I needed smaller strips for the tops of the drawers and larger strips for the bottoms.

Once I had all the pieces cut to size, I glued them onto the drawer fronts with Gorilla Glue. (Gorilla Glue dries really fast, which makes it perfect for impatient crafters like me.)

Then I headed to my local JoAnns craft store to see if they had any hardware that I could attach to the front. I wanted the drawers to look card catalog-y or at least have kind of a vintage industrial vibe.

I found these idea-ology brads on clearance for $4.49. The brads were numbered 1 through 31, and I had 15 drawers, so there were more than enough for my project.

I wanted to attach the numbers with glue, which meant I had to cut the pokey parts off the backs, so they’d lay flat. A wire cutters did the trick.

Next I eyeballed where I wanted the numbers to go and glued them on.

All I had to left to do then was fill the drawers. As an avid crafter and collector, I’m always in need of storage for beads, buttons and baubles.

Finally, I slid the drawers back into the cabinet and called this project done. There’s something very satisfying about organizing things and putting them all in one place.

Here’s a look at the new and improved hardware organizer. It’s so pretty I decided to leave it set out on a shelf with some of my other vintage finds instead of hiding it away in my crafts closet.

All told, it cost me under $10: $2 for the organizer itself, $1.99 for the balsa wood and $4.49 for the numbers. Everything else (paint, stain, glue) I already had on hand.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the numbers 16 through 31. If you’ve got any ideas, let me know in the comments below.

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