Category Archives: Repurposing

A Vintage Hatbox Revived As the Perfect Gift

April is Minwax National Woodworking Month®! To celebrate, Minwax® expert Bruce Johnson has put together some of his favorite tips & tricks for using Minwax® products. Don’t forget to download the Minwax National Woodworking Month® mail-in rebate form, you could save up to $17 on select Minwax® products. 

BeforeFor several years now, Leigh Ann has had this antique Victorian hatbox, with a drawer for gloves, that had been taken from a tall dresser her grandmother once owned. With Leigh Ann’s birthday fast approaching, I decided I could find a new use for it.

Wood Filler The top had a few unsightly nail holes, so I squeezed in some Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler, let it dry, and sanded each one smooth with the wood.

Stain side The original color of the oak hatbox was still attractive, but badly worn, so after a light sanding I applied a fresh coat of Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “English Chestnut” to even out the color.

Base stain I used the same color to stain a new oak base I plan to set it on when it is complete.

Spray Tray At our craft supply store, I picked up four unfinished pine trays and sprayed each one with two coats of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. After the lacquer had dried, I cut a piece of felt to line the bottom of each one, as well as the bottom of the glove drawer. By this time, the English Chestnut stain had dried, so I protected all the wood with three light coats of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer.

ClosedI then installed two plywood shelves inside the box where a Victorian gentleman would have stored his tall hat. Next, I screwed the hatbox to the new oak base, rehung the door and slipped the drawer back into place.

OpenNow instead of a Victorian hatbox she never quite could decide what to do with, Leigh Ann has a new place to store and display her jewelry, as well as a daily memory of her grandmother.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Spice Up Your Kitchen with This Pallet Rack

With some extra clean pallet boards nearby, I decided to construct a simple three-shelf spice rack for our kitchen. If you like the idea, you can start by choosing how high and wide you want your spice rack to be, then lay out the number of boards you’ll need. I attached four together with two shorter pieces on the back, letting the top one protrude enough to use it to support my curved top piece.

I then took another board for my top piece, turned it lengthwise, and cut out a simple, Early American design. I placed it on top of my back boards and secured it with small nails through one of my back support boards shown in the first picture. The shiny nail heads you see here were in the pallet, which I left to give it even more character.

The sides and shelves were easy to cut and nail to the back. Just be sure to have some of your spice jars on hand to determine how wide each shelf needs to be and how much space you’ll need between each shelf. The final piece was this thin bar to keep the spice jars from falling off the shelf.

My favorite finish for pallet projects is Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish. The aerosol can version works great for projects with several pieces. Two fast-drying coats brought out the grain of the wood, provided some sheen to the dry wood, and made my spice rack look even better.

After that it was just a matter of bringing the spice rack into our kitchen, then watching as Leigh Ann began filling it up with jars of her favorite cooking spices.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

A New Display Shelf From an Old Wooden Drawer

As my wife will agree, I hate to throw anything away that I might someday be able to use, including this old drawer from a chest that fell apart years ago.

But last week I decided I could make a unique display box out of it, simply by using up some scraps of wood I already had around.

I started by gluing each shelf support to the inside of the drawer where I wanted each shelf to be.

For small projects like this one, I reach for a tube of the water based Minwax® Express Color™ and squirted out a small drop of “Oak.” As you can see by the sheen, Express Color contains both a stain and a finish for an easy, one-step application.

In just a few minutes time, I had rubbed the Express Color into my two oak shelves, ending with long smooth passes with my cloth to smooth it out and to remove any excess stain.

After that, it was just a matter of deciding where to display my recycled drawer, and, what to put in it, while I waited for Leigh Ann to agree that this old drawer had been worth saving.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Upcycling A Pair of Stained Glass Doors

When my good friend Jim called from a local antiques shop, he really sounded excited. He had found these two arts and crafts stained glass cabinet doors and knew they would look great in our home. After a quick measurement, Leigh Ann and I realized they would fit perfectly in our two narrow bedroom windows.

The cabinet doors were covered with several layers of old white paint, so rather than risk sanding or stripping off any hidden lead paint, I decided to attach thin oak strips to create a new framework around the stained glass.

After nailing the strips of oak to the old frame, I filled the countersunk holes with Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler.

Once it had dried, I gave the new oak and the Stainable Wood Filler a quick sanding with #180-grit sandpaper, then vacuumed off the dust.

Since this was a small project, I reached for a tube of “Oak” Minwax® Express Color™ to stain and finish my new frame in one easy step.

Once the restoration was complete, all that I needed to hang them were four hooks and two lengths of chain. In just a few hours, I transformed two painted cabinet doors into two oak stained glass windows that provide both privacy and artistic color to our bedroom.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by.

Bruce