I am so excited to show you my makeover on this vintage sewing cabinet. I didn’t even really transform it—but more like gave it a freshening up. Mostly, I cleaned it up and gave it new paint and gel stain along with a new top.
This is the most I have ever paid for a project to “flip”. yep, this piece set me back $20. But it was so darn cute I couldn’t help myself. It was in the back of the store at Vendors’ Village and it wasn’t until I got it in the light of day that I saw what rough shape it was truly in. That is MILDEW in the lower left image. (correction—I actually paid more for this kitchen hutch)
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I began dismantling the guts and the top of the vintage sewing cabinet. Notice the gap on the left side where the cabinet top mechanism would allow the top to open and rest in place. I’ll show you below how I dealt with that gap.
To tackle the dirt, mold and mildew I used Clorox disinfecting wipes and TSP. I used the wipes first, then I mixed up the solution of TSP and applied it in the cracks and crevices with an old paint brush. Not shown, I used latex gloves while using the TSP.
After cleaning the inside, I decided that I didn’t want to paint all those little cubbies, drawers and doors. Once painted, I knew they wouldn’t work as well. I cut a piece of cardboard to protect the insides from paint.
Other than cleaning, there was very little prep work done before painting. Painting upside down gives easy access to the underside of the feet and legs.
I used my stand-by white paint, Polished Pearl. After painting, this vintage cabinet set for nearly 2 months of hot summer weather. I just couldn’t deal with the high temperatures of July and August.
I think you’ll be amazed at the difference the Minwax Gel Stain makes on the inside of this sewing cabinet.
This is after the gel stain. I used a rag on some spots, and a cheap chip brush in the smaller nooks and crannies.
No need to scroll up and down, here is the before and after of the inside of the cabinet using the Minwax Gel Stain (Mahogany) over the existing finish.
Since I had removed the top—because it was hinged and in two pieces—I needed a new top for the sewing machine cabinet. I dragged this piece of plywood out and set it up on my easy diy sawhorses along with my Rockwell JawStand. I love using the jaw stand because it’s adjustable.
I cut some trim to size on my compound miter saw, and even ripped it on the table saw in order to get it shallow enough to fit the thickness of the plywood. I attached the trim using Gorilla Wood Glue and my Ryobi Airstrike. I did this in order to give it some definition and cover up the edge of the plywood.
Spackling was used to patch, then some quick sanding.
Because I was being lazy, I mixed my chalky paint primer using spackling instead of plaster of paris, and applied it with a chip brush. I did a couple of quick coats on each side of the tabletop.
Because the sewing cabinet had a few issues after I painted it, I felt it was best to give it a dark wax by Heirloom Traditions (use the code MYREPURPOSEDLIFE to save 10%) to give it a vintage look. I love using sponges for waxing, and the chip brush is so handy at getting the wax in the corners.
This is actually the bottom side of the table top. Instead of attaching the top, I made it removable by adding some supports to keep it from sliding around the frame. (another picture later)
Again, because the cabinet had a few issues, I used an emery board to do some distress sanding on the edges. I love using them for distressing, and they come in handy in the shop when I break a nail too!
Are ya still with me?
Here you can see where I added a scrap piece of 1x to fill that gap that was left by the mechanism to allow the original sewing machine cabinet top to open up to become a work surface. This is after I painted it, but before I waxed it with Muddy Pond.
Doesn’t the inside look beautiful now? What a difference! Don’t you agree? I’ll be honest. At one point (before I started on the top) I was wishing I had never seen this $20 sewing cabinet. But now? I LOVE it!
This is how the table top works. It simply lifts off, allowing easy access to the inside of the former sewing cabinet.
This cabinet offers so much storage, it’s perfect for an entryway as a charging station for a busy family’s electronics. The cubbies and drawers will hold glasses, keys, wallets and more!
I’m so happy I figured it all out, because for awhile I really was ready to throw in the towel.
What would you have done with this vintage sewing cabinet? Have you ever seen one like it? It was different than anything I had seen, that’s why I couldn’t pass it up, even if it was $20!