On what proved to be the coldest day of the winter so far (windchills of more than 30 degrees below zero), my friend Meggan and I decided to do some thrifting. I believe we officially qualify for ‘die hard’ status now, don’t you? But our local thrift store was having a 50% off preview day for members only (we are members), so we had to check it out. This piece proved to be the ‘find of the day’.
Can you see the giant flaw? Lower right corner? A huge chunk of trim was ripped off.
But the price on this was really right at a mere $15. And I could just picture using the same label cup pulls that I used on the book page dresser on it. Most of all, I knew that my handyman neighbor Ken was up for the challenge of repairing that trim.
Sure enough, I sent it home with Ken and a few days later he sent it back over with this patch job …
Super impressive, right? Honestly, this kind of repair just boggles my mind. I don’t know how he does it, and I can’t even begin to explain it. Let’s just reiterate how very lucky I am to have Ken living next door and leave it at that.
Once that repair was done, next I removed all of the knobs and filled the holes with wood filler. The fill didn’t have to be perfect because the holes are behind the new label holder cup pulls. With a ‘label’ in place, you can’t even see them, but if you take the book page paper labels out you can. So I filled them. I then sanded the whole piece. The existing finish was a little shiny and I wasn’t sure how milk paint would react with it, so when in doubt I tend to sand.
Next came a simple paint job using two coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter. I sanded to distress and added a top coat of hemp oil.
Here is how that front repaired section looks after the paint job.
If you didn’t know it was there, I don’t think you would really notice it. But it does stand out a little in so far as it isn’t as distressed as the rest of the piece. Had I been really meticulous I should have stained the new wood first, then painted over it.
Once the paint job was finished it was time to attach the new label holder cup pulls.
Ken taught me a little trick to making sure they all lined up properly using a combination square. Do you have one of these? I bought mine at a garage sale for a couple of bucks, of course. It looks like this …
Basically you loosen up the tightening thingie which allows the slide-y part to move along the ruler part (I’m so technical!). In my case, I then decided exactly how far down from the top of the drawer I wanted to place the pulls. Once you have that measurement, you tighten it back up. Now it’s easy to measure for the placement of each pull …
Just rest the flat edge of the slide-y part along the top of your drawer, then butt your label pull up to the bottom of the ruler part. You can slide the square along making sure that the pull is straight all the way across. Does that make sense? I then used a pencil to mark the holes for the screws, pre-drilled small holes, and then screwed the pulls on.
This worked great for the top to bottom placement, as for the side to side placement, I just eye-balled it. That could probably have backfired for me, but I did it carefully and was able to keep each pull centered on it’s faux drawer. I think I did a pretty good job keeping them all lined up. When I mentioned this to Ken, he asked me if my arm hurt. I thought he meant from having to attach so many pulls, which wasn’t really that hard, so I said “no, not really” and he said, “oh, I thought it might hurt from all that patting yourself on the back!” Ha! Yes, it’s true, I was overly proud of myself for getting these all on straight.
I used more Swedish bible book pages to fill the slots for labels.
Are you wondering what makes this a ‘faux’ card catalogue? It’s because those aren’t really small drawers. Each set of 4 across is really just one drawer.
So much more functional than lots of small drawers! Although I did once see a real card catalogue turned into a wine cabinet. Each drawer held one bottle of wine. That was pretty cool. But this piece is really just a small dresser. I think it’s the perfect size to use as a bedside table. It would also work great in a foyer or as a TV stand. I also like the idea of using it in your home office with your printer on top and various office supplies inside. There are so many possibilities for a small chest of this size.
How do you like my chalkboard? This was a fun little project of its own! The frame actually belonged to a mirror that came attached to the book page dresser. I took it off the dresser. The size wasn’t the right scale for it. Plus it was poorly attached. I had to wonder if it was even original to the dresser. So, it never went back on. Later I removed the mirror from the frame and replaced it with some hardboard painted with chalkboard paint. Then I added a little brass number plate to the frame (at the bottom). Next I got out the Complete Book of Chalk Lettering that my sister gave me for my birthday and did some more practicing. I love how it turned out!
My chalkboard skills are slowly improving.
These make a great pair, don’t you think?
Both the chalkboard and the
little chest of drawers are available for sale (chest of drawers is SOLD). If interested, leave a comment and I’ll email you with details.