Archive for Refinished furniture

Microwave Cabinet – Extreme Makeover!

Posted in Creative Reuse, Tutorials with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2012 by Lax Cat Creations

This ingenious upcycle post is compliments of Tom’s newly wed brother, Jon, and wife Carrie. They did an amazing job transforming this cabinet inside and out using pallets and a creating a butcher block top. I am privileged to share their creation…

before after

“Carrie and I had been looking for a project to do together and we had access to some tools that some friends let us use. We knew that we didn’t want to spend much money on the project and Carrie wanted to try to refurbish a piece of furniture. We looked in the classifieds for a cheap piece of furniture that we thought that we could improve.

I found a microwave stand that someone was selling for just 10 dollars.

First order of business was to disassemble it and see what we were working with under all the paint. Carrie thought of a design that would look good with a butcher block top and rustic look. We needed some material so we spent $7 at the ReStore on some old 2×2’s sitting in a bucket, a drawer, 2×4 that I would cut down for the face, and a nice piece of wood for the face of the drawer. We found some old pallets to use for the inside (free).

After a lot of sanding and some paint stripper we reached a solid wood body that was in great shape to reuse.

Carrie planed the 2×2’s down to size to get a hard edge for the butcher block. Then one by one we glued-and-screwed them together. For the end pieces we counter sunk the screws and capped them with dowels. After assembling the top we clamped it together and let it sit for a few days.We sanded the top from 100 to 320 grit, then we treated it with butcher block oil from Lowe’s ($12).  We applied four coats, scuff sanding with 400 grit between each coat. I’ve heard mineral oil can also work for this.

Once the face frame was cut and assembled, I disassembled the pallets and cut the slats to length.  The slats were installed on the floor of the cabinet and across the back to give it the rustic look.  We added a shelf as well.  Carrie wanted some legs for the cabinet and thought that we could use the left over pallet pieces. So we glued, clamped, and cut them to size.

We eventually found the hardware at Lowe’s ($10), despite looking at the ReStore.

After assembling the cabinet and putting the drawer in it was time for the finish. Using white spray paint, we coated the wood, though it was a hassle and took many coats. We would suggest using a spray gun or a very nice brush as this would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Once dry, we sanded the edges of the cabinet down to bare wood and used some old wood stain to coat the entire piece. Without allowing the stain to dry we wiped it off with an old rag. This not only stained the wood but also stained the white paint and gave it more of a cream color.

When the finish was dry, we attached the door and hardware along with the butcher block top.I tried to reuse every part of the original piece possible, but since we used a different top and left one side open we had some left over material to use for the next project.”

– Jon – Salt Lake City, UT

Click on photos to view gallery

I hope you find their creativity as inspiring as I do!


Jon and Carrie sold this item to a couple remodeling their kitchen, making $100 in profit. They are now on the lookout for their next project. Stay tuned…



Finished Nursery

Posted in Creative Reuse, Upcycled Forest Nursery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2012 by Lax Cat Creations

The nursery is finished!

Well actually it was finished about 4 1/2 months ago, in time for Ansel’s arrival, but I am just now getting around to write about it. I am so pleased with how it turned out. There is a lot going on but that is how I tend to decorate. I get going and want every part of the room to be special. At least I know visual stimulation is NOT something Ansel will lack!

I also like that many elements in this room are appropriate for when he’s older as well. (Where the Wild Things Are, anyone?) This room also works for a child of either gender. Heck, I would put half of this stuff in my own bedroom.

Click picture to see the panorama full size.

Here I am, so glad to be finished with this room and so ready to have the baby. Four months later I have yet to look that well-rested!

Free Desk – What was I thinking bringing this beast home?!

Posted in Creative Reuse, Tutorials with tags , , , , on April 18, 2012 by Lax Cat Creations

While Tom and I were out garage sale hunting a while back, I saw this huge desk with an attached shelving unit. I asked about it and the man said it was junk so we could just have it. I, who had never refinished or sanded anything, saw huge potential in this piece of furniture and fell in love with it. Tom, my practical husband who did have experience refinishing furniture did not share my enthusiasm…

Looking back at these photos I have to admit it was in pretty bad shape and just downright gross!

The back board was pretty hacked up so Tom removed it before sanding and replaced it with new piece of plywood.

Here I am sanding away… You can tell it’s early on in the project because I still have a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm!

Too many days and hours later than I want to remember, we finally got it completely sanded down. A fresh start is a beautiful thing!

We stained it with an oak stain and used black stain for the trim. Beautiful contrast, don’t you think?

Tom added a place for a keyboard…

…and of course, new knobs. These ones almost have an oriental look to me.

Almost $80 for the plywood, sanding pads, stain, keyboard pad hardware, and knobs, as well as many days of sanding later, we now have a beautiful and very useful piece of furniture. As much as I love this desk, however, I can’t say that I am likely to take on a refinishing project of this magnitude anytime soon!

Revamped Nursery Dresser / Changing Table

Posted in Creative Reuse, Tutorials, Upcycled Forest Nursery with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by Lax Cat Creations

I had been looking on Craigslist for several weeks for a cheap dresser for the nursery. Even better than cheap, I eventually found this one for free! It looked nearly perfect on the Craigslist picture so Tom and I rushed across town in the dark and the rain to snatch it.  It turned out to be in worse condition than I had anticipated. The entire backboard was wet and had an old musty smell. It was so wet I could just tear it off with my hands. The front had a nail polish spill that affected 5 of the 10 drawers and several of the drawers were falling apart and needed mechanical repair. Needless to say, Tom was a bit disheartened at this realization and mentioned something about me filling up his mid-thirties with projects…

Here is the dresser before.

Tom replaced the backboard with a new piece of plywood for around $11 at Home Depot. (Tip: they will cut it to size for you if you ask!)

I tried to no avail to gently scrape/pick the nail polish off of the drawers.

I read numerous online tips for removing it without damaging the wood.

All of the techniques I read and tried were very time consuming and didn’t work too well.

I ended up just deciding to lightly sand the drawers and take the risk that the Cherry wood stain I had on hand would match.

This is one of the beautiful things about free furniture, if you totally mess it up,  you really haven’t lost much!


   I had previously picked up two(used) wood stains,Cherry and Red Mahogany at the ReStore for only $0.25 each.

The Cherry was a perfect match!

I also painted the top and the knobs to match the nursery colors…

Here is the finished project! I have to say, it turned out even better than I had expected.

Sustainability tip: If you end up buying new wood, like my plywood, look for the FSC (Forest Sustainability Council) label.