Cabinet Upgrade

I was looking for a new cabinet to go in my dining room and found a piece I felt was perfect. The price, however, was not. Especially since I would need two of the said cabinets to fill the space. I contemplated what to do since at this point I was set on the look of the piece, nothing else would do. Thus, I decided to alter cabinets I already had in another room and draw a similar design as the inspiration piece I wanted onto these cabinets. By taking on this project myself, I ended up saving around $600. I was also able to add my personality to the finished look. I am a huge fan of taking two very different styles and combining them in a way that works. The inspiration piece had a chunkier, old wood look and black handles (pictured below). Although the cabinets I already had were a slightly different color and style, I maintained the soft flowing hand-painted lines and metallic color of the design on the inspiration piece.



What you will need…

I liked the look of the dark wood, and luckily the cabinets I had were a similar color. As I mentioned earlier, I love mixing styles, and the modern nickel finished hardware I had previously installed worked flawlessly (measure the distance between the holes of the existing cabinet before purchasing replacement hardware). You will need oil-based paint markers in silver and gold. You will also need rubbing alcohol, paper towels, cotton pads, and Q-tips to clean up mistakes (see section below Step 8 for how to fix an oops). An optional item is a stencil of choice (I decided to forego the stencil).

Let’s get started…

Step 1

Prepare your workspace by ensuring proper ventilation and that your flooring is protected. Once your cabinet is assembled (if necessary), remove hardware and clean by wiping all surfaces with a paper towel containing rubbing alcohol. This is to remove all oils from the surface to ensure paint adheres. Keep the screws from the hardware near-by so you can open the cabinet doors if necessary. I left my hardware in place since they matched my paint.



Step 2

Follow directions on the paint marker before using.


Step 3

In creating the pattern on the cabinets, I chose to use a freehand technique, but stencil(s) can be used. I didn’t want the look to be perfect because the cabinets already have a sharp angular look. Plus this creates a more hand-painted feel of the inspiration piece.

Begin by drawing a line to create the outside border approximately 1/4 inch in from the cabinet door edge, all the way around the door. When finished, paint the space between the edge and the border just drawn.



Step 4

Crate four leafed pattern in each of the four corners of each door.


Step 5

Fill the space between each leaf pattern, repeating the pattern. You can use a ruler to determine the spacing that will work on your piece. With the cabinet I chose, eight leaf patterns filled the horizontal space, and twenty-one filled the vertical space. Again, I wanted a very freehand painted feeling, so I did not space my design entirely evenly.



Step 6

Draw curved lines to look like vines from the bottom of the cabinet towards the top. I varied my design from the inspiration piece to create a more delicate look. I created smaller curved lines off the main line. I wanted the look to appear almost vine-like.


Step 7

Create small leaves off of the vine. This is done similarly as the leaf pattern, just create little ovals and fill.


Step 8

This is where the real charm comes in. Using the gold marker, create little accent marks on the four-leaf patterns, the vine, and the leaves on the vine. This creates the subtle aged look of the inspiration piece.



How to fix a mistake

Take a paper towel, cotton pad, or Q-tip (depending on the size of the oopsie), and dab into rubbing alcohol. Just wipe the paint away, using a clean section to repeat if necessary. Allow to dry, and redraw.




Step 9

The finished look.


If you are feeling as adventurous as my son, you can create a design for the top and sides of the cabinet too.




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