How to easily change up an $8 sewing cabinet into a red side table or writing desk.
Are you sometimes intimidated by what we DIY bloggers do? I know that I love using saws and such, but occasionally I like to take it easy with a quick and easy repurposed furniture project. That’s why I’m sharing this former sewing cabinet into a red side table with you today. It's something you can do using only a screwdriver, or no tools at all, if that’s your choice.
I shared this sewing machine cabinet with you last week. It was a great deal, and I think it was priced cheap because the machine was already removed. Little did the seller know, that I was happy to get this good deal on a cabinet sans machine! I do not like removing vintage sewing machines from their cabinets.
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Dismantle the sewing cabinet
I started removing the hinges—I always remove two on each hinge, then raise the lid a little in order to safely remove the last screw in each of the hinges.
TIP Save the hinges and the screws for a future project. These are very strong hinges.
The lid is slightly cut out where the hinges were, if you’re really particular you can fill the holes and the indention. I did not. This was intended to be a “quickie” project.
This is the underside of the sewing cabinet. There were only six screws holding the frame (that held the machine) in place. I removed those six screws.
The frame was so easy to remove, and it’s going to make a huge difference in the way this cabinet looks when it’s done.
Replace the top of the sewing cabinet
I placed the cabinet on the underneath side of the original lid, and attached it with the screws that I removed.
I used my hem guide to make sure that there was equal distance all the way around on the top (lid).
There ya go! Now, if you want to skip that step and make it extremely easy on yourself, go for it! On one sewing machine cabinet I did, I glued down the lid.
Make tweaks to the cabinet
I decided to leave the small plastic drawer piece attached to the inside of the door. I thought it would make a nice little hiding place for keys, phones, chargers, etc. However, I thought that the little spool pins would be in the way. I simply snapped them off with my pliers.
Paint the New Red Side Table
I removed the handle and used a cheap chip brush to paint one light coat of Reclaim Paint in Poppy. This jar of paint is going so far. A little bit of paint goes a long way. I love painting furniture black, then giving it a dry brush effect with red to make it look glazed. This time I chose to do a very light coat of the red to see if I could achieve the same look.
Because the inside of this cabinet was in such great shape, I didn’t paint it.
I ended up having to do two coats of paint on the small plastic drawer, but one light coat on the rest of the piece.
Furniture Wax Options
These are the items I used on this cabinet makeover.
- Reclaim Beyond Paint (Poppy)
- Heirloom Traditions Paint clear wax (for the cabinet) dark umber wax (on the little plastic drawer)
- carwash sponge to apply wax
- paper towel (to wipe off excess wax)
- brown craft paper (to buff the wax after it dried)
TIP I dampen the sponge slightly before applying the wax.
I wiped off the excess wax with the paper towel a couple of hours after waxing it. The next morning I used the brown craft paper to buff the finish to a beautiful sheen and feel.
I reattached the original handle without doing anything to it.
Easy Red Side Table
I love the legs on this new red side table. Also, I think it looks better without the original frame that held the machine in place. I enjoy building and sawing, but this project really makes me smile.
What color would you have painted this side table?
I found a $5 chair, painted it and gave it a new seat. For some reason I can't find a before picture of the chair... or update pictures of me painting the chair. BUT! I do have pictures of it completed.
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Hi, there! I’m Gail, the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. I’m obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believe that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again—myself included! I hope you’ll enjoy the journey and pick up a few tools along the way… literally!
I recently saw one of these sewing tables that had a drawer inside the door. It was just a pain box that had drawer slides on either side so it slide so nicely. My sewing table is still serving drinks on the back porch, with a busier bucket in the hold for ice and drinks, and the opened top holds appetizers, or condiments.
Excellent use, in my opinion. I picked up one for free, in great shape, and like how the top opens up to the side. I picture it extending over a lower chair like an umm hospital table extension. Anyway, I love how you’ve used yours.
Thank you! That's an awesome idea Diane!
Car wash sax? Ive never heard of this-please explain. Thank you!
Tami @ Curb Alert!
Love the new life that you gave to this precious table. Red is always a favorite of mine 🙂
I just love the new blog layout! And you did an amazing job on the table. 🙂
About the new layout, thanks!
The table... it was so fun and easy--the best projects ever! Something anyone can do.
You created a beautiful piece of furniture Very professional in appearance. I like the color, but doesn't work with my interior. What do you think about a Shabby Chic whitewash look? My mothers sewing machine case is longer with drawers going down the right side, I think there are three. Not sure how that would look.
Thanks for the tutorial. Very helpful!
Shabby was my second choice, but the red was easier and I think it will sell just as quickly. I'm really into red these days.
thanks for stopping by Kathy!
I love how the little cabinet looks finished. The color you used is exactly what I am wanting to use on a shelf I am going to update. Thanks for the neat project.
I just can't get enough of red projects lately! To get the same look you can use a black basecoat and any red you may have on hand.
Julie @ follow your heart woodworking
Very nice, and as you said, a quick project for you. I can't believe you have more snow that we do! LOL
I think it turned out really cute, but is the handle upside down?
I don't know Roberta... I wondered the same thing. I thought I put it back just like it was in the "before" picture. 🙂
Looks great! I have a sewing cabinet sans machine from my husband's grandmother. (I took the machine out years ago intending to put a better machine in its place, but never did). It's a long cabinet and I thought about dropping a sink in it when we were redoing a bathroom, but it was too low to comfortably use. It's just been sitting in storage, but now you've given me ideas. I've never heard of Reclaim paint.
Happy to inspire you Kate, that's why I do what I do. 🙂 I was lucky enough to win the Reclaim paint from a blogger, it lasts forever!
love the color! (noticed a few new things going on with your blog; love that it auto-fills in my name and email addy) maybe i can find one of these tables in my treks to thrift stores this spring. i really like the one re-purposed into a small liquor cabinet, too!
awesome Nova! I love when blogs "know" me and I don't have to input my information. Happy mine is now doing that for you! Good luck with your hunt. Don't forget to look at your ReStore!
I really like what you did here! Very nice color!
Gail, How beautiful. I have an old cabinet machine that was my mothers. Can't bring myself to get rid of it, so this is a wonderful option. Thanks for the tip about using a sponge and brown paper. I had almost given up using wax because the brush and rag thing wasn't working for me.
I live over in Murray and enjoy following you and your adventures.
Thank you for your comment Vicki! The sponge (for me) is a game changer! So easy. I've only used the brown paper for buffing wax a few times, but it's really working great.
Well, we're almost neighbors, eh?
Christina in FL
Gail, the sewing cabinet turned table is magnificent. I adore the color. That said, you have inspired me to get past my hesitation to re-purpose a sewing cabinet. Being a sewer.... I hold my breath when I think of doing anything to a cabinet... and could not paint a treadle cabinet... haven't gotten that far in my sewing cabinet recovery. lol
sewing cabinet recovery.... very funny Chirstina! It's all about baby steps, right?
What a great makeover, and I think the poppy red was the perfect choice for the little cabinet. With reasonable care she is good now for years to come.
You do such beautiful work, I really look forward to your posts and your excellent tutorials.
Serena @ Thrift Diving
This is really fun, Gail! 🙂 You've inspired me to try the Poppy color. I've used the RECLAIM Beyond Paint in several projects, like my china cabinet and bedroom dresser (and outdoor table!) and it works well. I'll be sharing this and adding it to my RECLAIM posts. 🙂
Thanks for sharing my post! 🙂 I really like the Reclaim paint.
This is a beautiful transformation! And you have this beautiful piece of furniture for a steal! Great job! Thanks for sharing.
What a marvelous make-over. Very tasteful! Great job, thanks for sharing.
cassie @ primitive & proper
looks fab! your styling is great! 🙂