Record Player Stand DIY

Growing up a baby boomer, I distinctly remember my mom painting this MCM record player stand DIY bright sunshine yellow. She was an avid DIYer and I know that sparked my own love of DIY. 

You might want to shield your eyes when you look at the before. I guess this was fashionable in the 60s!

When I opened the door, I saw that it had been converted form a record player stand to storage with the addition of a shelf. Great potential!

After finding the record cabinet hiding in Mom’s basement over a decade ago, she let me strip the sunshine back to bare wood again. Using a heat gun, I got most of the yellow paint finish off. However, those last vestiges of yellow paint on the doors?

record player stand DIY partly stripped in a corner of the basement

It was much more challenging to remove the paint from the grooves in the panel doors than stripping the whole thing so I gave up. Then life got busy and it sat until after my mom passed away (more about that later).

Do It Over Designers

Today we’re taking part in the Do It Over Designers blog Hop hosted by Ann at The Apple Street Cottage.

We’re a group of bloggers who take something old and/or unused and ‘do it over’ into something new. These items can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it! Check out the other projects at the bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Record Player Stand DIY Supplies

Embrace the Imperfections

Now that we’re clearing out my mom’s house, I didn’t have the heart to let this mid century modern piece go. Even though it’s quirky, and there are some gaps where the doors meet the sides, it has sentimental value. So we’re going to give this record player cabinet DIY another shot.

We’ll make it over so we can sell it and donate the money to fund Alzheimer’s research. After all, that’s what we’re all about here at Birdz of a Feather! All the proceeds from our blog fund our Alzheimer mission. You can read more about this year’s donation in this trash to treasure post.

Do you ever make over a piece for sentimental reasons? It’s far from perfect, but we’re embracing the imperfections!

Watch Record Player Stand DIY!

Watch this video to see the transformation. You’ll learn how to apply no pain gel stain, the magnolia transfer and learn what not to do when using Slick Stick primer.

Record Player Stand DIY

Hubs gets to work washing off the vestiges of finish with lacquer thinner (wear proper protective equipment; gloves, googles, mask). hand holding container and cleaning record player stand DIY

I’m envisioning a white pickling stain on the piece as he washes away.washing down side of record player stand DIY

Don’t forget about the legs.

record player stand DIY on its side showing removed legs

They are easy to remove; they just unscrew.

Two wooden legs

After cleaning, the legs get a scuff sand.

Hand sanding a wooden leg

While Hubs cleans, it’s time to tackle the remaining paint from those grooves.

Grey melamine panel doors with grooves

No easy task; no wonder I procrastinated this step 10 years ago! But eventually a heat gun, scraper and patience removes the bulk of it. Then we sand smooth using the edge of a sanding block to get into the ‘V’ shape.

Heat gun removing paint in grooves

Repair with Wood Filler

Fill any gaps with wood filler. We know it will show through the stain, but again it’s going to be perfectly imperfect!

Side of crack taped ready to fill with wood filler

Before filling, we always use painters tape to protect surrounding wood, then peel the tape away.

Hands applying wood filler to record player stand DIY and smoothing

However, we leave a piece of green tape beside the repair so we can remember where to sand once dry! Wood filler can be easy to miss.

Green tape beside wood filler repair on record player stand DIY


Scuff sand the cabinet and smooth the wood filler repairs.

Scuff sanding record player stand DIY

Then remove the dust. We like using a barely damp old cotton sock for this. Or use a silicone free tack cloth.

Hand removing sanding dust with cotton sock before staining record player stand diy

Staining the Record Player Stand DIY

Next, we’re using an applicator pad to apply No Pain Gel Stain.

Dixie Belle applicator pad for staining

Tip: If you have a serger, like we do, you can cut these in half and serge the raw edge to economize.

Serging a cut-in-half applicator pad

Safety First

You can’t reuse the pad when using an oil based stain like this Picklin’ White. To safely toss it after use, place it in a metal container filled with water for disposal. NEVER ball up rags or pads like this and toss them in the garbage; they can easily combust and start a fire.

Can of No Pain Gel Stain with can opener, applicator pad, stir stick and cotton rags

First, don some gloves and mix the product well.

When using a product for the first time, like we are with No Pain Gel Stain, try it out on something small like these legs to get used to it.

raw wood legs with no pain gel stain and applicator pad

Dip the applicator into the metal container to pick up a small amount of stain. Working in sections, apply the stain in long strokes – with the grain. Go back and use the back of the pad to remove excess stain (or we also like to use cotton t-shirt rags). Be sure to wipe back as you go; once the solvents evaporate it will get sticky and you won’t be able to remove the excess!

The best way to let them dry is to punch holes into a box. Then pop the screws through the holes.

This is one side before gel stain.

Side of record player stand DIY before stain

Here is the other side after one coat. You’ll see how to apply it by watching the video.

Side of record player stand DIY after one coat of stain The beauty of gel stain is that you can apply multiple coats (with about 6 hours of dry time in between). This gives you the ability to have transparent or more solid coverage.

Again, apply with the grain (and try not to ‘swoosh’ the strokes or you’ll you see arches instead of smooth blending).

Applying a third coat of no pain gel stain to top of record player stand DIY

We end up wiping on three coats. You can still see the woodgrain.

Top of record player stand DIY after 3 coats of stain

We’ll wait another 72 hours between before spraying on a few coats of clear satin topcoat.

MCM Record Cabinet Doors

Now for the doors. Back when this piece was originally stripped I didn’t take the time to put the doors back in correctly, so they look pretty wonky here in mom’s basement:

We shuffle them around in different configurations on the front and back tracks to make sure we’ve got them fitting better into the record cabinet.

Before continuing, place painters tape on the back of the doors and mark the left and right sides. Also place an arrow so you know which way is up and exactly how they should go back in!

The door pulls are dinged so the plan is to replace them. Remove them for painting.

Because the heat gun was too high, you can see there are some scorch marks on the doors. So always start with the lowest setting that will do the job – and keep that gun moving!

Primer will fix that up!

Prime the Doors

A slick surface, like these melamine doors, needs a gripper primer, like Slick Stick, so the paint will bond. In this case, we’re applying with a foam roller.

Sometimes I get ahead of myself! I forget to brush the grooves first and then roll the paint!  You’ll get a smoother finish that way.

If you watch the video you’ll see I made a miscalculation that almost derailed the doors. Time will tell, but we think it will be ok!

Paint Doors

Green is my favourite colour, yet this is the first time we’re using it on furniture!

After drying 2 – 3 hours, spray Silk all-in-one Mineral paint in a colour called Cactus. Hubs showed me how to paint using a spray gun last year. So I love that I get to practice spray painting on the door!

The drawback to painting outside is that anything can land in the wet paint, like this big piece of lint!

After lifting away the lint, it leaves a noticeable mark. But there’s a way to hide it!

Embellish Doors of Record Player Stand DIY

You can use a fine touch up brush to hide marks after removing lint that lands in your paint. Or you can apply a transfer instead! We’re using the Magnolia Garden Transfer, which you can also see on this pretty hand painted sewing box.

We’re only using a few transfers for this record player stand DIY. But if you want to make the best creative use of the Magnolia Garden transfer, see this magnolia garden dresser makeover by our friend Denise at Salvaged Inspirations. It’ll wow you!

How to Apply a Transfer

  1. Configure the design

Before applying the transfer, note the direction of the doors and lay them out on a table. Nothing worse than finding out they are upside down after they’re on!

Cut and tape sections of the transfer together and play with it on the doors until happy with the layout.

2. Tape into Position

Use low tack tape to position your design on the door.

3. Apply transfer

You can peel the backing completely and apply. However, I prefer to bend back a corner and stick it down first to get it exactly where I want it.

Then I lift and pull the backing as I lay down the transfer. Be sure to smooth from the centre out as you go to avoid air bubbles.

Lifting the transfer to remove the backing and stick into place

4. Burnish transfer

Take the stick provided in the package and burnish well. Then lift a corner to see if it will release. Use a push and pull technique to apply pressure as you are also lifting.

Pull up an edge and removing the backing as the transfer is burnished

Keep burnishing as you lift the transfer. If you notice any part of the image still sticking to the clear sheet, lay it back down and burnish until it releases.

Lifting the clear backing of the transfer as it's applied

5. Burnish edges to mimimize ghosting

I did run into issue with the transfer because of the primer (as you’ll see in the video). But the flowers are flourishing on the doors. It must have something to do with the original sunshine yellow – or my mom is looking over me 😉.

For a final touch, I add a butterfly. We also wanted to add these new pulls, but unfortunately they were too big! The old ones are fine for now.

New finger pulls for record player stand diy beside a door

Put a piece of t-shirt cotton on your finger and rub the edges to help eliminate the ghosting around the edges.

The transfer is subtle; the colour of the magnolias are pretty with the cactus green!

Right door with magnolia transfer for record player stand diy

How to Spray Clear Coat

Transfers have to be sealed. We usually wait overnight to clear coat over a transfer.

Applying clear coat to sliding door panel

Before giving the credenza another coat, we very lightly scuff sand it. That’s because we waited a few days between coats. For subsequent coats, you can spray again right away after an hour of dry time (up to three coats).

Spraying clear coat on credenza

Again, instead of brushing, we’re spraying Dixie Belle’s clear satin. Because the clear coat doubles as a decoupage medium, and we’re using an open jar, we find It’s too thick to spray. So we water it down slightly.

clear coat on doors drying side by side on table top

Another coat goes onto the legs too.
clear coating legs for record player stand diy

Old record cabinet doors are notorious for sticking. So the last step before reassembling is to add Big Mama’s Butta into the rails where the doors will slide. Hand holding jar of big mamas butta

Wrap a popsicle stick with t-shirt fabric to apply it.

Rails of record player stand diy

Record Player Stand DIY Reveal

Maybe in another 50 years, someone will once again come across this record player stand, embrace its flaws and put their own spin on it!

side view of record player stand diy with yoga frog on top and clock hanging above

Until then, we’ll enjoy it until we sell it and I’ll remember how my mom sparked my love of all things DIY!

record player stand diy with yoga frog on top and clock hanging above

By the way, that clock above the record cabinet is actually also a planter for air plants! We removed them to change the batteries and didn’t get a chance to put them back up again. See  this wooden wall art DIY if you’re curious to see how it looks with greenery!

Browse here for more paint techniques.

UPDATE: the record cabinet sold to a lovely family with a 16 year old daughter. I hope she love this piece as much as I do!

Pin Record Player Stand DIY

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated.

Pinnable image for record player stand diy

Do It Over Designers

Our talented blogger friends have some amazing and inspiring DIYs for you! Don’t forget to visit these posts for more upcycled do-it-over transformations!

  1. Sum of Their Stories
  2. Tea and Forget-Me-Nots
  3. The Apple Street Cottage
  4. Birdz of a Feather
  5. Exquisitely Unremarkable
  6. Purple Hues & Me
  7. Southern Sunflowers

Record Player Stand DIY FAQs

1. Do you need to seal no pain gel stain?

No, because no pain gel stain is oil based, you don’t have to seal it. However, for added durability we recommend at least two coats of a water based finish like Dixie Belle’s clear coat satin.

2. How long does no pain gel stain take to dry?

Between coats of stain wait at least six hours. Wait 72 hours before brushing, rolling or spraying a clear coat finish.

3. Does a second coat of gel stain make it darker?

No pain gel stain is highly pigmented. Adding additional layers will deepen the colour so add as much or as little as you like. Even with 3 coats, you’ll still see some of the richness of the wood beneath.

4. Should you sand between coats of gel stain?

With no pain gel stain, an oil based product, it’s not necessary to sand between coats. However, if you forgot to sand smooth the wood underneath, a scuff sand can smooth out some of the roughness before applying the last coat.

5. Why is my gel stain still tacky?

Gel stain will remain tacky until the solvents evaporate. The rate of evaporation can change depending on humidity and temperature. Be sure to wipe back excess product before letting it dry. Too thick an application will slow down dry time.

6. Why don’t my transfer stick to the paint?

Paint has to be totally dry before a transfer can be applied to the surface. Allow at least 24 hours dry time before applying a transfer.

If you primed, you also must allow adequate dry time between the primer and paint because that can also affect the moisture content of the top layer of paint.

7. How do you burnish a transfer?

After applying the transfer to the surface, rub all over with the burnishing stick from the middle out toward the edges. Lift one corner. Continue to burnish with a push and pull motion: push the transfer with the stick and you pull up on the plastic backing. The transfer should come away from the backing as you continue to burnish. Keep an eye on the backing as you lift. If some of the transfer remains on the backing, set it back down and burnish until it sticks.

Once the transfer is on, rub with a finger to burnish over the transfer. Then take a finished pad, or a cotton rag over your finger, and burning the edges to remove any ‘ghosting’.

Lastly, seal your transfer with a top coat to protect it.

26 thoughts on “Record Player Stand DIY

  1. Very pretty, Sara! I love the color combo and the transfers. They make such a difference.

    • Thanks Kim! Funnily enough, I only used the transfer to cover up a mark in the paint after a huge piece of fluff landed in it and I didn’t notice until it was already setting. A happy little accident I guess lol!

  2. Beautiful update, Sara. I love the contrast of the white magnolias against Cactus.

    • Thanks Rachel; I do love how the combo turned out too!

  3. You gave this record player stand a completely new look, Sara. It’s beautiful and now you have a piece in your home that brings back wonderful memories!

  4. Beautiful project, Sara! You did an amazing job of restoring your mom’s record player! I’m sure you have a ‘feel good’ and happy moment every time you look at it! Thanks for sharing your labor of love and great work!

    • Thanks so much Gail! It’s nice to have something to remember her by.

  5. This is stunning, I love that you saved this piece and that you have sentimental attachment to it. I’m sure your mum would have been thrilled to see it transformed like this. Thank you for all the great tips for upcycling furniture too.

    • Thank you Julie! I so glad to have it and all the memories it holds 🙂

  6. What a beautiful makeover, Sara, and talk about a drab to fab makeover! I love the colour combination and the placement of the pretty magnolia transfers. I used gel stain for the first time last year and I’m hooked.

    • Thanks Marie! I’m so hooked on gel stain too; I had no idea it was so good! Will definitely use it again.

  7. Oh my goodness! It turned out so super cute, I absolutely love the transformation! It was work, but it was so worth it now it’s just the most fabulous cabinet! Make over a piece for sentimental reasons, yes definitely! Sometimes that’s the only reason I’ve made over a piece 😄 Again, this turned out so fabulously!

    • Thanks Dee! It’s work but always fun in the process lol!

  8. She looks so lovely now with her magnolias and that gorgeous sage green. I bet your Mom is smiling from ear to ear and showing all the other angels what a super star her daughter is.

    • Thanks Rosemary! We do have some old vinyl records, but no longer have a record player.

  9. Sara- I always love your furniture makeovers. You have a very distinct finger print – when I come across a piece you have worked on, I can almost immediately tell you were the artist. Thank you for such a great tutorial. Your step by step instructions are always awesome.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment Anna!

      I had no idea our makeovers were recognizable and it really makes me happy to hear our instructions are so useful. I often wonder if it’s too much information lol.

  10. What a wonderful makeover – funny how it evolved with the fluff disguise/magnolia transfer actually enhancing it so much!

    • Thanks Audrey; guess it was a happy little accident lol!

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