This cabinet upcycle turned into the most amazing jewelry storage DIY because I found a way to keep my bling tarnish free! What’s not to love about tarnish free jewelry?
If we find something in the garbage that inspires us (or even just challenges our common sense to leave it there), we don’t hesitate to try to find another use for it. The worst that can happen is that the project is an epic fail that ends up back in the garage again. But we won’t let that happen on our watch!
Jewelry Storage DIY
When Hubs found this old tool cabinet in the garbage, it was so beat up I thought it may be beyond repair. He thought it might be a good little cabinet to keep my craft stash in, but I had a better idea for it since he assured me there wasn’t anything about it that he couldn’t beautify!
I needed somewhere to store my silver jewelry and wanted to try out an idea I had to keep it from tarnishing before I had a chance to wear it (more about that solution later). Wouldn’t we all love tarnish free jewelry?!
This cabinet provided the perfect home for my bling and purses once we added a shelf. With a lot work, we were able to breathe new life into it and upcycle it for a new (and prettier) purpose. One less thing for the landfill!
In the Beginning…
There was nothing redeeming about this cabinet on both the inside and outside. It took quite a bit of body filler, sanding, some primer and a few coats of paint to transform it – which all goes to prove that you CAN turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse afterall.
Materials for Jewelry Cabinet DIY…
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- 3 long handles (two 9 1/2″ length for the drawers and one 14 1/2″ to act as a grab bar for the side)
- Hinges the same size as the old ones (if still in good working order they don’t need to be replaced)
- Locking mechanism and catch (if still in good working order they don’t need to be replaced if you can order a new key)
- 2 rolling 3″ or 4″ casters (depending on the height of the other legs. You can buy also them with or without a brake)
- 2 Capita metal legs (we got ours at Ikea)
- Sand paper – various grits (we used a range from 180 to 120)
- Paint sprayer if available (or brush and roller)
- Wood filler such as Famowood or body filler like Bondo
- Sheet metal or metal mesh (make sure it’s magnetic)
- Earth magnets, various sizes
- Small and large plastic re-sealable bags (mine are approx. 2 1/2″ x 4″ and 3 1/2″ x 6″ but use the size that suits you best)
For the Shelf:
Start by removing all the drawers, doors and hardware. We removed the wooden knobs, hinges and also the locking mechanism. Give everything a good sand on all surfaces – both inside and out.
Hubs used auto body filler to smooth out all the deep dings and fill them in, but wood filler would probably work too. Use according to directions, then sand the filler absolutely flat and add a coat of primer to all pieces, inside and out. We used an off-white paint we had on hand as a top coat and applied it with a sprayer for a professional finish; hubs did two coats. If you don’t have a sprayer, a brush to get into the corners and a foam roller works well to achieve a smooth finish.
Working a Little Magic With a Lot of Elbow Grease
After the piece was puttied, sanded and painted, we replaced most of the hardware: long metal handles instead of the wood knobs, hinges and also the door locking mechanism so we had a key. The picture below shows a closer look at the detail of the updated handles, legs and and caster wheels added to the drawers.
It’s handy to have a cabinet that can be locked when storing jewelry. When we occasionally have strangers in the house, it’s a bit of added peace of mind. Securing the doors protects items that aren’t necessarily worth a lot but have great sentimental value!
To get the cabinet open, you have to use the key to release the right side of the door. The left side can then be opened by reaching in and squeezing the catch to release it (the picture below shows the door locking mechanism and its components).
We turned the cabinet into a rolling cart of sorts by mounting wheels onto the right side for mobility while legs on the left side help keep it stationary when it’s in place. We also added another handle on the opposite side to act as a grab bar so it could be lifted and re-positioned. The trick to keeping the cart level is in making sure that the legs and wheels are exactly the same height. I like the looked of combining them, but if you can’t find legs and casters that are the same height, you could use four casters or legs instead.
Before and After Transformation of the Exterior
Here’s the before and after transformation of the outside of the cabinet, but there is more to be done on the inside!
Inside Transformation – How to Store Jewelry and Keep It Tarnish Free!
The inside of the two doors is where the transformation really gets smart. Hubs cut metal panels to fit the inside dimension of the doors. Make sure there’s enough space all around so it still closes easily! Spray paint the metal panels with a durable car paint and install them with screws on the inside of each door.
We then added a bunch of high quality earth magnets.
I used resealable plastic pouches in two sizes to organize my jewelry. Large pieces such as necklaces go into the larger plastic bags. Then small pieces, such as earrings, in the smaller ones. For a matching set, double up by inserting the small bag of earrings into the larger. It’s a great option to keep them all together!
For silver jewelry, this resealable bag system is ideal. Who wants to spend time polishing? Not me. If you squeeze the air out of the bag before it’s closed, your silver pieces will stay tarnish free. Just be sure to close the bag tight and they will always look great!
While the beauty of this system is that my jewelry no longer tarnishes between wearings, I can also easily see what I have when I open up the doors. The magnets make it a cinch to keep it all organized. Why settle for a jewelry box when you can have an entire DIY jewelry organizer cabinet?
If you have other silver pieces that need cleaning (not necessarily jewelry), you might just need to read about how to remove tarnish from silver.
Jewelry Storage DIY Shelf
Adding a shelf makes the transformation even more useful; who doesn’t want more storage space? You can buy a pre-made shelf and cut it to fit, but making your own is easy with our instructions. Click here to find out how to do the laminate edging!
Before and After Transformation of the Jewelry Storage DIY
The shelf provides more storage space for anything you like. I initially added some linens and magazines, but then realized it was perfect for my purses and a few shoes stored in boxes!
The before and after is quite dramatic. Especially when you consider the piece was found in the garbage and looked like it should have stayed there!
This is a beauty and the beast transformation! I guess it’s really what’s inside that counts.
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