Saturday, 30 June 2012

Project: Re-purposed Jewellery Cabinet

I have this old jewellery box. Most of us either have one or know of someone who does. They are horribly twee and dated with old-fashioned fixings and "stained-glass" panels (see first image below). Some of them even have a musical box function. Horrid and hard to get rid of (you'll find about a million of them going nowhere on Ebay at any one time) but sturdy and generally well made...and full of little drawers and hidey-holes for keeping useful stuff. I decided to re-purpose mine into a wall-mountable first aid cabinet and here's how:

I removed the glass, doors and lid (the handles wouldn't budge so I left them) and put masking tape around all the edges where I wanted a neat line and no paint smudges.

I gave everything a coat of primer followed by a couple of coats of good quality interior wood paint (Stone Ochre by Fired Earth). I cut out a panel of fine wire mesh to fit the panel that used to be occupied by the stained glass monstrosity and gave that a dry brushing with the same colour to take away the metallic look and give it an enamelled look.  When dry, I replaced all the doors and drawers and screwed the mesh panel into place in the door.

Next came the fun bit. I designed some stencils for the cabinet using the Copperplate font which seemed the best fit  and cut them out in clear plastic acetate using my heat pen (but a scalpel works just as well). I used a very sheer coating of spray mount glue to fix the stencil in place on the panel. If you spray the glue lightly onto the stencil, it doesn't come off on the surface of the object you are stencilling onto and prevents bleed when you apply the paint.  I laid the white acrylic paint on really thick to give it a nice textured, slightly raised finish.

I then did the same with the next stencil, again creating a textured finish with the paint and finishing off the shape after removing the stencil to avoid leaving gaps.

For the first aid cross on the wire mesh, I used spray glue again to fix the stencil in place and, on the reverse, attached a couple of strips of masking tape before adding the paint. This allowed the paint to go on the porous surface a bit thicker. Once dry, I removed the stencil and the tape.

To give it it's aged, vintage look,  I went back over all of the white stencil work with a coat of the base colour, dry brushing so as not to spread it too thick and allowing the textured surface and a hint of the white to show through. To finish, I used the white acrylic to dry brush the handles to get rid of the nasty brass look. The patterns on the metal, come out beautifully with this technique.

And that's it. Much better and ready to be screwed to the wall and filled with plasters, dressings and antiseptic wipes!