By Savvy Nana
Years ago my grandmother would go out for a walk and come home with all sorts of “treasures” she found dumped on the sidewalk around the neighborhood. We cringed every time she dragged home a broken chair, lamp, nightstand, or whatever and stored it in the basement. No matter how much we begged, bribed, and cajoled we couldn’t get her to stop bringing home “junk”. Her excuse was always the same “someone’s trash is always somebody’s treasure”. She claimed that whatever she brought home would be perfectly fine with just a bit of cleaning and mending, she never did understand why the owners threw them away.
She spent many a day down in the basement scrubbing, fixing, and repainting her new found treasures. Sewed covers for old chairs, polished brass lamps, and painted old tables and boxes turning someone’s junk into some pretty cool looking things. She was recycling and up-cycling before both words entered anyone’s vocabulary! By the time she passed away last year at the age of 101 we’d accumulated a ton of her recycled stuff, mind you she still left the basement and her room filled with projects that she never got around to.
I guess part of my grandmother’s legacy was either teaching us to recycle or perhaps making us all pack rats. Those of us who grew up near her now have our own collection of new found treasures crammed into our garages and closets, mostly stuff we find at garage sales and thrift stores; I don’t think any of us have dragged home any trash left on sidewalks yet.
But seriously, grandma was right, you can breathe new life into old junk with just a bit of time, some elbow grease, and a little imagination. These days thanks to Pinterest everyone’s “up-cycling”, turning junk into treasure has become the popular.
Here’s a recent DIY project my daughter did. She found this old scarred wooden dresser from a local thrift store and turned it into this country chic bar. The project cost her less than $100 and took a week to make. All she needed was the wooden dresser, 2 colors of stain, 1 can of paint, a wooden plank, 2 dresser pulls, and a couple of baskets. All the materials were purchased from the thrift shop, Home Depot, and Home Goods.
1. Remove drawers and cabinet doors from the dresser if they still have them.
2. Measure the interior where your wine rack will be. Measure the diagonal from corner to corner and the depth.
3. Cut wood plank to the correct measurements. You will need 2 pieces for each side or space you will be turning into wine racks.
4. Cut one of the wood pieces in half.
5. Sand any finish off the dresser using rough sandpaper. Sand wood planks and sand ends of the planks you cut in half down so that when you mount them in the cabinet space you can fit them together to form the “X” pictured here. Wipe off dust.
Staining, Painting & Distressing:
1. Stain dresser and wood planks with (Minwax 70012) 1 Quart Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain, Dark Walnut. Allow to dry. This color acts as your primer.
2. Paint dresser and planks with desired color – she used Glidden Mpn5302-01 Promaster Architectural Interior Latex Flat Paint, Antique White Glidden Flat Interior Paint in Hawaiian Teal. Allow to dry completely. You will end up with a brighter hued piece, if you’re happy with the color you can skip step 4 below.
3. “Distress” the dresser by lightly sanding it with medium grain sandpaper. Wipe off all the dust.
4. Working in small sections at a time apply (Minwax 22718) 1/2 Pint Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain, Ebony with a rag and WIPE OFF immediately with a clean rag. This step darkens the color, so you want to apply and wipe off to just give it that bit of tint not over power the base color.
5. Apply a thin coat of (Minwax 63333) Satin Polycrylic Protective Finishes, 1 Quart in Clear Satin. Dry completely.
1. Fit planks into cabinet spaces you want them in to form an “X”. Secure with 18oz Gorilla Wood Glue“.
2. Mount drawer pulls to top drawer.
3. Place rectangular baskets on the shelf rails.