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?

Continue reading “Makeover | Giving a dark, dated curio cabinet a new look”

The art of procrastination

I had the day off of work last Friday and just one thing I wanted to accomplish: (finally) hang some art on the empty wall in our upstairs hallway.

oil painting

All of the photos in this post are of thrift store paintings, kids’ art and mementos of our travels that I’ve collected and (sadly) stored in closets or propped in corners (with vague plans to hang somewhere at sometime).

flowers in vase
So Friday was the day I was finally going to get everything hung.

oil painting
First thing in the morning, I rounded up all the scattered paintings and drawings to see what I had and what would fit on the empty wall.

painting of flowers

Then I checked my email. Just to make sure I didn’t have anything pressing to attend to before I got bogged down with the work of hanging the art.

still life

My friends at Netflix had sent me a (third) reminder that the credit card associated with my account was close to expiring and asking me to update my user information with a new card number.

That seemed pressing. So I opened Netflix and looked for a tab to click on to update my account information. I couldn’t find one. What I did find was a recommendation to watch “The Borgias,” the soapy Showtime drama set in Renaissance-era Rome.

 fish painting

I’ve had that show on my “To Watch” list for almost as long as I’ve had hanging art in my upstairs hallway on my “To Do” list. And since I had the whole day off with nothing to do but hang art, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to watch one episode — just to see if it was any good — before getting to work.

painting of Wisconsin capitol
Eight hours later…

… my hallway wall was still empty…

pencil sketch of barn
… and my credit card information still needed updating.

oil painting of church
But I’d watched the entire first season of “The Borgias.”

So at least I was able to cross that off of my list.