I was redoing the downstairs bathroom and there was two cabinets in there. They took up way to much room so decided even if I reinstall , I would only do one after the bathroom is done up.
So I was thinking what to do with this cabinet. Although it helped determine the theme for the bathroom project, it certainly didn't go with anything else as is.
Recently I did an Instructable on re purposing an old frame into a dart board frame. So that gave me an idea I could make this into a cabinet to store darts as well as maybe converting into a little work station to replace flights or change out shafts. And I still had flannel left over from that project that I thought I could utilize.
I also did an Instructable on how to do a quick stain and wipe to fix up old scratched up furniture. In that instructable I said it only works on real would not laminated MDF. I still stand by that statement but wanted to see how far I could take it on MDF.
So this is basically just a re purpose a cabinet you can make the cabinet into whatever you want to use it for as this is only to give you ideas. I might link to some of my other Instructables if it is pertinent to the step.
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Step 1: Getting Supplies and Starting a Game Plan
Get your Base Bathroom Cabinet
Tools required for this step:
Allen Head wrench
Small pry bar
Supplies not required but recommended to be on hand:
Small or Medium Clamps
Decide what to do with the base cabinet: I already have determined it will be a dart cabinet. So I don't plan on keeping the slotted doors. The inside back will be covered by the felt. I have to keep the bottom slotted shelf as it acts as support and tightens the sides. I could cut a board and replace the bottom shelf but this is also to utilize as much as possible. I will cut a board the the width of the shelf below the doors to add a fold down extension to the shelf.
Take it apart:
Remove any screws, bolts , cams or other attachment fixtures and put in small baggy for later re assembly
After all the screws are out try pulling apart with hand at first. Be very careful of thin pieces of would always try to grab were the most support is.
Most MDF furniture utilizes dowels as well. Depending on who put it together these are usually glued with Elmers or wood glue. Depending on the age you should still be able to separate it a bit to see where any dowels are located.
After you find the dowels slid a pry bar next to it and pry open.
repeat this process until the whole unit is apart.
Be careful of dowels by corner edges it is very easy for the MDF to break off at the edge by the dowel.
If a piece does break off. Immediately Wood glue the piece back and clamp it till it dries. This will make sure all the pieces are just as they should be when it comes time to reassemble.
If you are working with something that has a lot of pieces you might want to have a camera handy to take pictures as you remove each part, pay close attention to take images of any holes or attachment points. This will make it easier for assembly later on. I personally think it takes some of the fun out of it nut it is an option.
Step 2: Distressing and Staining
In the image it looks like I stained the board that I cut before attaching of to the bottom shelf for a test fit. The reason for this was I wanted to get the board I cut as close as possible to base color of the wood. MDF will not really stain or change color so just as a starter I wanted to get them close.
After I screwed in onto the shelf I removed the screws by hand. This was to put the screws holes prior to distressing or painting.
Lightly sand the whole unit. But don't go down to far as it is just laminated MDF.
Now the fun part. look at all the parts that will be exposed that you would like to distress.
Carefully but randomly hit the edges or thick pieces with hammer, threaded rod, metal ruler, screwdriver,Etc.........
Thin pieces should be hit with metal ruler while sitting on a flat surface.
Take rough sandpaper and hit up random spots as well. This will hopefully get some color in there.
Now you will do the Quick Stain and Wipe technique described in my other Instructable.
This will darken any gouges and hopefully some random spots hit with the sand paper. Overall it wont change the color much , this is why real wood pieces are much better for this process.
Step 3: Pick a Design ( If You Want One ) FIRST TRY
Well its going to be a dart station. Since it's for Darts, IMHO it definitely has to be a British Theme! It's darts and I really only play Cricket and some of it's variants!
Supplies needed for this step:
Paint ( obviously)
Stain (Same as used previously)
Small foam roller or even stencil brush or sponge
Tape (Beige should work, Blue is better, Green is best )
Stencil of your choice
small foam roller
cheap paint brush(s)
foam stencil stamper ( optional )
OK my stenciling isn't the greatest to begin with , but this Instructable is not about stenciling. I am on my learning curve as well. There are probably Instructables on it as well as many articles on the web. Using and Making.
I looked through the stencil's I own and nothing looked like it would work for what I want. I basically wanted either a Crown or a Lion head on both sides of the cabinet. If I were to make my own stencile out of a stock image, the lion head from the 2012 Team GB would be an ideal choice. I love that Logo! If I took that route I may not have distressed the paint job so much as well.
Again the Distressing is just what I like, Do you own thing!
So I taped off the parts I wanted to keep would and left the side panels first shot I gave it a rapid full stroke of the cheapest paint bush I could grab ( dollar store multi pack ) . You want brush streaks as you will be distressing this.
So I did a base coat of white let it dry and the took closest stencil that might work that I owned.
It is a somewhat Celtic Knot-work somewhat Art Deco design IMHO!
I went to all of the craft stores and nobody had a good Lion Head or Crown in either the Stencil or Stamp department.
Either way did that in Blue!
It did not even come close to what I was going for . I even try to sponge a little red in there to keep the Red White and Blue! but it didn't look good.
The beauty of distressing and aging something is it's an easy do over and the more you mess up the more layers to distress the better the final product.
So we will go to Second Try.
Step 4: Second Try!
So took the paint brush got some blue and painted over the whole thing.
Oops! that's light blue, I never cleaned the brush as these a cheap brushes plus I have a septic tank and don't feel right about acrylic paint going down the drain.
Grabbed another brush from the pack after the light blue dried, and painted it a good dark loyalist blue.
After it dried placed stencil on panel taped it down and decided white is the best for stencil.
I lightly to med rolled over it with white that was on a Foam roller I also blotted out any extra paint on a paper towel. I am not an expert or by any means is stenciling. I still had bleed out. Practice and am learning like you if you stencil!
Blue back ground and White stencil was good. Second side better than first but that's OK we will just distress the first side that much more.
The design was still very Celtic. Now my upstairs guest bathroom will be Irish themed as it's the only way to save the bathroom without redoing the tile work. ( Instructable to come for that project ) So I don't want to have the dart board all Celtic looking downstairs. Most of my rooms in the house are themed.
So looked at the final stencil and still wasn't happy, better but not happy. Decided to tape of the stencil and run a red stripe down the middle and side to make the Saint George Cross.
The results were acceptable.
Step 5: Distress the Paint
Optional but recommended:
Multi tool the ones with the triangular head for sanding, these work really well ( I have a Dremel one but I think almost everyone makes them now and I am sure they all work just the same)
Start sanding around the corners of the center insert.
I wanted to keep the design but have it really worn around the edges ( make sure you expose wood on the edges)
Now randomly take away paint where ever you wish. I find it is good to take it done here or there and then really dig in at places to expose the wood.
Optionally you could take a scraper here or there but I just sanded.
Now this is were I fixed the bad bleeding from my poor stenciling skills. I took out the distressing really hard on the bad prints.
After you are done sanding. Vacuum off and wipe down. You could use a wet rag and then let it dry or use a tack cloth.
Use the same stain you originally used and randomly go over it but make sure you hit all spots with exposed wood.
the stain really shouldn't discolor the paint all that much but immediately after applying stain if there is something you want to stick out, wipe it off just leave the exposed wood part to try to take in the stain.
This is one of the reasons why I lightly sand and stain first before doing the painting. I want to know what color I am trying to match. There will be variances and that's a good but it should still be close.
The Last Picture is of both side panels. One is distressed more because of the bleeding issue. The one that came out good was distressed less. If this is an issue again in the painting step just go over and start again. The more layers of Paint the better the distressing looks.
Fold out shelf:
This was done the same way as above but also drilled a hole in the center of a Single Stencil for the handle.
Step 6: Backboard
The back board that was with this cabinet is thin fiberboard that slide into slots on the side panels as well as the top and is affixed with 2 screws on the bottom shelf ( not the very bottom one)
Unfortunately , with any re purposed project. Your base might vary. This was a bathroom cabinet. I would say mid to late 80's so humidity of a bathroom and fiberboard can cause some warping.
To deal with this issue I wood glued the 2 pieces together. They normally are tongue and groove.
After that I took Bass Wood planks from a craft wood bag and placed them around the edges.. I actually cut them in 1/2 to maximize the area around the edges and placed one on the middle seem. These were wood glued and let to set.
After the boards were set. I then flipped over the large board and stapled the pieces in from the other side. with 1/4" - 6mm staples.
Step 7: Cover the Backboard
Staples 6mm / 1/4"
Small wood planks of some sort. Bass wood hobby wood.
Material ( Left over from Dart Board Project )
Place material on the ground
Place backboard on material
Fold over bottom and over bass board plank. It is best to fold over material as well to give staples better anchorage.
After stapling the bottom flip and do the top this time pull tight before each staple.
Repeat on the sides. Please note that unlike reupholstering , you will need to keep these edges thin to go into the slots.
Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of this part but here is a picture of the back attached ( it will be against the wall , no one will see)
You can check out my Dart Board Instructable and maybe there is more pictures on this part of the process.
Step 8: Assembly
Screwdriver, Allen Head Wrench ( depends on what it was put together with )
Staples ( 3/4" - 10mm)
I screwed the fold out shelf onto the bottom shelf the put unit back together.
Use Wood Glue on all Dowels.
Tighten bolts, cams or screws .
I also stapled using 3/8" - 10mm staples the back to the bottom because of the bow in it.
I then attached the knob to fold out shelf.
figured out were I wanted the center shelf and then measured out were I wanted the magnetic catches.
Attaching the catches to the plates made marking easy.
Knob was from Michaels when they were moving 75-90% off of the $1 reduced price tag. Unfortunetly only crown one I got but have like 4 or 5 crosses.
Step 9: Done and Final Assessment
All in all I am content . I saved a MDF piece from garbage or whatever. I got a Dart station out of the deal. Got to attempt more stenciling.
Can the quick stain technique be used on MDF furniture. My answer is still NO! However, I do feel you can paint and distress MDF furniture. This is MHO only.
Since I had 2 units , here is before and after. You decide on your project.
Last photo is of it open up.
Again just to give you ideas nothing really more but did try to be thorough in the Instructable. Links were for added reference.