Makeover | Giving a dark, dated curio cabinet a new look

I had some leftover milk paint after last week’s jewelry box redo, so I decided to use it on a sad little curio cabinet I had stored away in my basement waiting for inspiration to strike.

curio cabinet before being painted
The cabinet was a thrift store find — although calling it a “find” might be a bit of a stretch.


1970s curio cabinet before being painted
It was dark. It was dingy. It was dated. Literally. There was a stamp on the back that read
“Enesco Imports 1979.

1970s curio cabinet before makeover


And get a load of the felt glued onto the back of some of the cubby holes. Ooo-la-la. 1970s chic.

wall-mounted curio cabinet redo
Fortunately, the roof section was separate from the rest of the cabinet, so the first thing I did was remove it. Then I pulled up all the felt squares and sanded off the glue residue left behind.

replacing curio cabinet handles
I took off the one handle that was still on the cabinet door. The other one had been sheared off previously. I wasn’t able to remove the portion of the metal screw that was still embedded in the wood.

replacing curio cabinet handles

So instead of screwing in new hardware, I had to glue a couple of wooden knobs onto the door. It’s not ideal, but it will do the job. The door isn’t going to get opened real often, and the knobs aren’t going to have a lot of stress on them, so I’m sure the glue will hold.

curio cabinet makeover by
Next I broke out the milk paint. Just like with the jewelry box I redid last week, I didn’t use any primer or bonding agent in hopes that the paint would peel off at least a little, leaving me with a nice chippy (faux aged) finish. But just like with the jewelry box, the paint didn’t chip at all. Maybe I need to invest in better milk paint? Or maybe I’ve just been using it over the wrong kinds of finishes?

curio cabinet makeover by Wisconsin Magpie
Except for the lack of chippy-ness, I have to say I’m happy with how the milk paint looks. It’s got a nice flat finish, and it’s a definite improvement over the original dark stain and felt.

decoupaging newspaper into curio cabinet cubbies
I decided to decoupage newspaper onto the backs of a few of the cubbies, because everything looks better with a little newspaper decoupaged onto it.

curio cabinet makeover
Then I decided the newspaper was too distracting, so I whitewashed it with a quick coat of paint. Now a hint of the type peeks out, but it’s very subtle.

I also screwed hooks into a couple of random cubbies, so I could hang things off of them.

white wall-mounted curio cabinet
Here’s the cabinet with the doors closed, all ready to be put to use.

curio cabinet makeover
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I rounded up some heart-shaped items, like this little frame, to put in a few of the cubbies.

milk-painted curio cabinet
These hearts are metal cookie cutters that I backed with newspaper-lined cardboard (proving once again that everything looks better with a little newspaper decoupaged to it).

milk-painted curio cabinet
I found this sweet heart-shaped lock in the bottom of a thrift store bin a while back.

white milk-painted curio cabinet

I also put a couple of keys in the cubbies. None of them fit in the heart-shaped lock, but they were the right size for the cubbies. I’ve had this rusty old skeleton key forever.

cabinet makeover with milk paint

This one has an old-timey skeleton key look to it, too, although it is definitely not old; it came from Michael’s craft store a couple years ago.

newspaper flower by Wisconsin Magpie

I filled some of the cubbies with newspaper flowers.
milk-painted curio cabinet

I blogged about making the flowers here.

white farmhouse-style curio cabinet
I filled a few of the other cubbies with some random treasures from around my house.

faux pocket watch

You might think this is a vintage pocket watch, but it’s not. It’s actually a lip gloss compact that I bought at Urban Outfitters about 10 years ago.

curio cabinet makeover by Wisconsin Magpie

Anyhoo, here’s the new, improved curio cabinet.
curio cabinet makeover

Anybody else have experience with Folk Art brand milk paint? If you’ve got any advice, leave a comment below. I’d love to know if there’s anything I can do to get it a chippy finish with it. Or what brand would you recommend?

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Makeover | Painting a penny farthing

Mackinac Island
When we visited Mackinac Island, bikes were everywhere — and I’m not just talking about on the streets (where no cars are allowed).

A lot of the shops sell bicycle art and crafts and T-shirts.

Ryba's Fudge Shops
This old-timey penny farthing decoration was in the front window of Ryba’s Fudge Shop.

All the bike art reminded me of a penny farthing wall hanging I bought at a garage sale a couple years ago when I was compiling stuff for a gallery wall. I had over-collected for the gallery wall, and the penny farthing didn’t make the cut. I hung onto it anyway, thinking I might use it somewhere else sometime.

painting with chalk paint
The mottled metal finish always seemed a little sad and tired to me, and the fun, bright-colored bikes and bike art on the island made me think my penny farthing needed an update.

painting with chalk paint
I started by basecoating the whole thing with black chalk paint.

Annie Sloan chalk paint Antibes Green
Then I pulled out the remains of some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Antibes Green that I had stored in my basement.

chalk paint
I decided to paint the body of the bike in the green and leave the wheels black.

chalk paint
It took a couple coats to cover.

makeover with chalk paint
I liked the piece 1,000 percent better once it was green.

makeover with chalk paint
I thought I might like it even better if I added an accent color.

penny farthing wall art makeover
So I dug some Spanish Copper Rub ‘n’ Buff out of my craft supplies.

penny farthing wall art makeover
The Rub ‘n’ Buff goes on flat.

After it dries, you buff it with a soft cloth and it shines like metal.
penny farthing wall decor
I loved the coppery color accents.

chalk paint makeover
They’re subtle, but they definitely add a little dimension.

chalk paint makeover
Here’s the whole penny farthing, all painted.

chalk paint makeover
Once I was done buffing and touching up the paint, I hung it up on my basement door.

chalk art makeover

It didn’t come from Mackinac Island, but every time I walk past it, that’s what I think of.