Introduction: 1965 Sylvania Stereo Make-Over

Hello Again World!

This is a follow up to a previous instructable I wrote on how to restore the electronic components inside of a vintage stereo console set. This instructable shows our journey of re-purposing it into our new entertainment stand. When finished, it holds our cable box (Dish Network), modem/router (TP-Link), network switch (D-Link), Xbox, One Connect Box (Samsung), and surge protector power strip.

I hope this inspires all of you to create something unique and special for your home that someone previously enjoyed in theirs.

Tools Needed:


Putty Knife


Drill bits of various sizes and shapes

Staple Gun

Sanding Square (Optional)

Paint Brush

Painters Tape

Floor Cover (optional if painting on carpet)

I apologize for the lack of "in-progress" photos. I lost my phone shortly after this project and was unable to upload the photos. The photos added are about a year from the finishing of this project. We have been using it ever since and love the finished project; it makes our living room complete!

Step 1: Plan!

So the first step, like most of my instructables, is to plan! You need to make a plan and research if you are going to have a successful project. Since I wanted to change the color and overall design of my unit I figured out the type of paint I would need as well as the over all construct of my unit.

Once again, I apologize for not having photos of the tear down.

Step 2: Tear Down

Once again, the unit needs to be taken apart. During this phase I did not take many pictures as I did not see it necessary. I have added some showing the areas that came off and how they did. It all came apart with screws except for the side panel. The side panel was adhered to the wood frame with 1965 adhesive technology. Let me tell you, gorilla glue has nothing on what ever this stuff was.

After consulting with my father, a well rounded craftsman, he advised me to use a putty knife to get in the cracks and slowly loosen the adhesive. THIS WORKED PERFECTLY! I recommend going slow and trusting your feelings. You will know the difference between making progress and damaging your well built piece of furniture.

All in all I took the front arc panel off, the side panel, and the top door. This gave the most access to be able to paint and add new fabric.

Step 3: Fabric

Your unit might not have a fabric cover, so if it doesn't ignore this step, or customize it and make it your own!

My unit had this awful burlap type stuff affixed to the face to cover the speakers and make the front ascetic. I assume this was ascetic in 1965, because now- not so much. The fabric we chose was from Joann's fabric store and happened to be half off the day we bought it. We chose it because it matched our window valances, my girlfriend made, in our living room.

This was a very easy step. Once the face of the unit was off (about 10-20 screws, from the inside), and lucky for us it was all one piece, all we had to do was rip of the old and attach the new. The old fabric was held on with staples, we removed them with the fabric. When attaching the new fabric we used staples as well to affix it to the board.

*Note: If you use any type of pattern make sure to make it straight, this seems like a no brainier but if you forget you will always notice it.

Step 4: Paint

So, I will first say that I hate painting! I am not a painter and never will be. My girlfriend painted this whole thing top to bottom and I watched so please be advised not everything here might be the best way to paint but it is how we (she) did.

First, you have to buy paint! It silly but it needs done, we chose a grey color to match our furniture, and the fabric. She was really enthusiastic about using chalk paint (a type of paint with a matte finish). She said there are different brands of already made chalk paint that you can buy, but doing it this way is cheaper and you aren't limited on the colors you can use as chalk paint! She researched on pinterest for a way to do this and here are the instructions she followed:

  • 2 cups latex paint
  • 5 Tbsp. plaster of paris
  • 3 Tbsp. of water
  • Mix ingredients together, and paint your piece!

Mind you we did not sand any of this! Not even a small corner! I am sure an expert out there swears by sanding, priming, and whatever else, however that's the beauty of chalk paint! When using chalk paint you never have to sand or prime your projects! This is another reason we chose to use chalk paint: because we live in an apartment and this piece was too heavy to try to take outside to sand it!

Before applying paint she mixed it following the instructions above, then added a second coat after it had dried. There are a few different options for sealing your chalk painted furniture: wax or polycrylic. Using wax leaves you with a velvety luster looking finish on your pieces, but it is very time and labor intensive, and not a permanent fix! Waxed pieces need to be re-waxed frequently to maintain the finish. Using a polycrylic to seal your pieces is cheaper, easier to apply, and permanent. When choosing which type of seal you want to use on your pieces, you should consider the end look you're going for, how much time/effort you want to put in, and if you want to continue to seal your piece every few months. After doing the research, she decided to use a polycrylic. I recommend using a semi-expensive brush to apply the poly. This will ensure that you get a good looking finish on your piece. We did have to apply two coats of the poly to make sure the whole piece was evenly covered.

Step 5: Building Custom Shelves

Before building the custom insert shelves I had to figure out where I was going to have enough room to put everything inside. I began measuring all of the hardware boxes to go inside and then the box cavity itself. After doing so I took a picture and made a rough sketch as to what I was thinking. I then extrapolated this into a 3D model. You do not have to do this but I like to when making shelves, boxes, and such to make sure they seem possible. I then bought everything (I thought) from Home Depot, such as wood, sliders, hinges, screws, rods, and dowel screws.

I then began cutting all of the wood into the right sizes. Since living in an apartment it is very difficult to cut things properly, because of this some rods were not perfectly level, and I was okay with this. When cutting I suggest measuring along the way to make sure everything will fit properly when constructed. After all the pieces were cut I then began to build.

When building I started by mounting the sliders into the cabinet. Then, attached the other end of the sliders to the shelves to make sure they aligned properly. I then began attaching posts and building the levels of the shelves. To attach to rods I drilled pilot holes for the dowel screws. After 3 shelves I was complete.

Step 6: Finish Line!

Now that the paint is dry and the shelving unit constructed: add your components. My original plan was to have only three wires going into the unit: power, cable, and my Samsung One Connect Cable for my tv. A Samsung One Connect Cable is a cable that connects the TV monitor to the Samsung One Connect Box which has the brain of the TV and all inputs. This allows for a more wire-friendly set up. Like I said before this was my plan, as the one connect cable was about 2 feet short of making the connection inside the unit.

Due to this I mounted the one connect box on the outside on my stereo, with custom L brackets that include hot glue for a snug and scratch free fit. Because this was outside my unit I how had to run all of the cables outside as well such as HDMI, Ethernet, and more. If possible, avoid this! It makes it harder to close up your cabinet and hide it away. With proper cable management you can make it work as I have.

Also, as you can see from the one photo I added two cooling fans, I did this simply to allow heat inside the cabinet to escape. I highly recommend doing this if you are putting anything inside as they can over heat and stop working altogether, especially cable boxes. I used these fans from amazon, probably a little more pricey but they look very nice and worked great. They even have an option to buy a temperature control unit for the fans, I currently do not have one.

I have added after shots that will help you visualize the unit shelf and hide away I am talking about. I hope you are able to make your once loved, then hated, and re-loved unit a center piece for your house as well!