How to turn a sad little cupboard into much-loved toy storage
We don’t have a lot of thrift stores in South Africa, which makes it difficult to get second-hand furniture. But we have furniture sales at work about 4 times a year. They then sell old redundant furniture on a tender basis. Although this is mostly office furniture, I’ve had a lot of great finds at really good prices.
I always look for pieces with the potential to be more than office furniture, and I do have a soft spot for sad little pieces like this one. I immediately saw its potential for a toy cupboard for my oldest son! The size was perfect and I had a clear plan of what I was going to do with it.
So this little cupboard had a bright future for toy storage when I brought it home. The legs had a bit of water damage at the bottom. But I knew we could easily cut off the damaged ends without any trouble.
- Medium and fine grit sandpaper
- Painters tape
- Plascon Velvaglow water-based paint in white
- Plascon Double Velvet in the colour Windblown. (I would not normally paint furniture with wall paint, but I had a sample pot of this colour on hand from another project)
- Hamilton’s Ensign 38 mm angled brush. (I use this brush for all my furniture projects, it works like a charm and leaves fewer brush strokes than a normal square brush)
We started by using a jigsaw to cut off the parts of the legs that had water damage and sanded the newly cut edges smooth. I removed the lock plate, filled up the holes with wood filler and sanded smooth when it was dry.
After I removed the handles from the doors and drawers, I started sanding first with medium and then with fine grit sandpaper. When using Plascon Velvaglo, you do not need to use a primer on previously painted surfaces, but sanding is a must. So I painted the frame, drawers, sides and back with 3 coats of white paint. I was hoping that 2 coats would be enough, but I was just not happy with the coverage after 2, so I painted an extra coat. The cupboard doors I painted with 3 coats of Plascon Double velvet in Windblown. I would recommend you use one of the Velvaglo products for furniture as it is more chip and scratch resistant. But I had the before mentioned in a sample pot that I used previously in my son’s room, so I went with that.
I wanted to create a geometric pattern on the drawers and decided on herringbone. After determining the angle of the stripes, I taped the middle line and then started taping the top row. I worked with the width of the tape for the stripes, taping one, leaving one open. I wanted the pattern on the 2 drawers to continue into one another, so I taped while the drawers were in the cupboard. Then I took them out and started painting. I painted the top row of stripes with 2 coats and removed the tape before the paint was completely dry, to ensure no paint comes off with the tape. Then I waited a day to be sure the new stripes were completely dry before I taped and painted the bottom row of stripes.
Just for a bit of fun, I painted the inside of the cupboard green, also a sample pot of green Plascon Double Velvet in the colour Maiden Grass I had on hand.
I used the same handles as I liked the slim lines. I just gave them a good cleaning before putting them back.
My son loves his toy cupboard and is very proud of the new addition to his room!
I have plastic crates where his toys go in, they fit perfectly into the cupboard. To minimize clutter in the house the general rule is that he is only allowed to take out one crate at a time, pack up the contents and put away before taking out another one. It does not always happen like that, especially if he had friends over. Then we end up with toys all over the house but at least the toy storage system is in place. I also plan on labelling the crates.
His books go in die drawers.
So what do you think? Have you attempted herringbone patterns before? How do you like the blue and white combo? All comments welcome! I would also love to hear from other South Africans about products we have in SA that you have used.
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Goodbye for now