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Cara's Cabinet of Curiosities - An upcycling project

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

I have been scaling antique shops and markets high and low for a vintage cabinet. So when I spotted this large cabinet at Riverside antiques in Sawbridgeworth, I knew I had to have it.

The cabinet dates back to the 1900's so it had seen better days! First thing was to remove the paper that had been stuck on the back of the unit. I find using furniture polish helps to remove stubborn stickers.


Once I managed to scrape off all the paper, I sanded it down to make sure any excess glue had been removed. After adding masking tape around the glass edging, I then gave the inside of the cabinet it's first coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.

Old White and Graphite are colours from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint range

Generally there is no need to prep with primer etc with Chalk Paint you can paint straight onto the surface. I just had to sand some of surfaces to remove the loose old paint.


As you can see the oil was coming through after the first coat. This is common with old pieces, so I then applied some knotting solution.



I painted the exterior with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite which is a lovely dark grey for impact. I painted two coats for each of the colours to ensure maximum coverage.




The brass handle and catch also needed some TLC. So after scrubbing off the old paint I gave them a good polish with some Bar Keepers Friend Power Cream. They came up really well!


Before (top) and after (bottom) using the Bar Keepers Friend Power Cream.

Once the cabinet was dry I used a cloth to apply the wax very thinly. I would recommend using a waxing brush and then wipe off any excess and buff using a dry lint-free cloth. Work it in one direction to minimise any marks. The wax gives your piece a subtle sheen and also helps protect it.


Here is the end result. I have started to fill it up with memorabilia, keepsakes and gin obviously! Let me know what you think!



Vintage cabinet: Riverside Antique centre, 2nd Floor, The Maltings, Sawbridgeworth CM21 9JX

The dealer stall I purchased it from is WildBate Antiques & Collectables.


Paint & wax: Annie Sloan Chalk paint and Clear wax (See website for Stockists)


Knotting Solution: Colron (B&Q)


Brass cleaner: Bar Keeper Friend (B&Q)

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