Today we’re talking all about how we transformed my husband’s old gun cabinet into a farmhouse decor friendly cabinet! Man, there’s nothing like a good farmhouse cabinet makeover!
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Do you remember when woodshop was a typical class in every high school? Back in the day, my husband LOVED going to his woodshop class. He built this gun cabinet there, and now I’ve turned it into a farmhouse cabinet.
So here is what it used to look like. My husband built it out of oak, and then lacquered it. Definitely not the style I want in my home right now, so I had to switch it up a bit.
First I busted out the hammer and a few straight edged tools ( putty knife, flat head screw driver and another type of flat tool that I’m not sure what it’s called ha!) to pry off the racks that held the guns up. Ohhh man that was a pain! He sure knew what glue was when he put it all together! The top two parts of the racks were just nailed in, but the bottom was glued to the base like no one’s business. There was a lot of busting, splitting wood, and major scratches made just trying to get that bottom rack out. The best trick was using my hair dryer to heat up the metal putty knife, and then hammering the putty knife between the pieces of wood. We finally got it though!
Once it was warm outside, I took it out to bondo all of the destruction that I had caused. Here is a great video and written tutorial on how to use bondo to fix furniture. I sanded the rough wood a bit, then applied the bondo. Once it was all dry, I sanded the bondo and wood smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I didn’t fill in any holes or scratches on the outside of the cabinet. I only used it on the inside of the cabinet, because bondo doesn’t take stain well. At all. I knew I had to paint the inside, but I wanted to do something different for the outside.
Once all the bondo and repair work was complete, and the doors and hardware were taken off, I sanded everything, inside and out with 220 grit sandpaper. Since this is a super simple design with no detail, I used my power sander.
Then I vacuumed and wiped all of the dust off. The inside got 3 coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in Linen. I taped all of the edges off so I didn’t get paint anywhere it wasn’t supposed to be. Once the paint was dry, I removed the tape and proceeded to stain the outside with General Finishes Gel Stain in Java.
Here’s the great thing about Gel Stain, if you don’t already know. It is meant to sit on the top of the wood, and not soak in like regular wood stain. Sure, you can use it like regular wood stain, but it can also be used for pieces like this, that already have a finish on them. All you have to do is lightly sand the original finish down a bit so the stain has something to stick to. Then wipe the stain on, let it sit for a minute, and wipe it off with a clean rag.
Gel Stain Tips: Make sure to always wipe with the grain and not against the wood grain. It’s also best to start with a finish that is in good condition, and not something that has large areas where the finish has worn off, while other areas the finish is still intact. This will create uneven staining.
I gave the whole cabinet two coats of stain, and then sealed the new finish with poly.
I really wanted this cabinet to look worn and to show the character of how it was built, and how it was transformed. So there are a few nail holes on each side that are still showing, and the finish on one side is decently splotchy. I love the extra character these elements give this farmhouse cabinet!
See gel stain in action with this tutorial on how to stain wood darker.
Then I cut down a 1″ x 12″ pine board into two shelves (the Home Depot guys are such a great help when I don’t want to cut wood on my own). After sanding and wiping off any dust, I applied two coats of the Java gel stain, and then sealed the finish with more poly.
At first I thought about creating shelves that were nailed down into place, but the more that I thought about it, I knew I wanted to have the pin and hole type shelving. That way I could move the shelves, and even make more shelves in the future if I wanted to.
I soooo dreaded this part. Ohh it was going to be a beast to drill all of the holes in the perfect spot and have them all lined up so the shelves don’t wobble. That was until I found out about this Kreg Shelf Pin Jig. I have the pocket hole Kreg Jig, actually have two of them. So I know that they have good products that make tasks like this sooo much more simple. I also used these shelf pins to hold the shelves up.
So I bought myself a Kreg Shelf Pin Jig. I waited for shipping, and then got to work. All by myself! And I created all of these perfectly spaced holes in less than 30 min. Seriously. So easy!
I laid the farmhouse cabinet down on one side and clamped one of my daughter’s books to the top inside of the cabinet (because I don’t need holes going all the way up to the top of the cabinet). Then I pushed the jig up against the side of the cabinet and the edge of the book. Then I used the provided drill bit to drill the perfect holes into the cabinet. It also comes with a depth guide so you don’t have to guess how far to drill into the wood!
I only drilled every other hole because I don’t think I’ll need holes that close together for this cabinet, and once I reached the end of the jig, I moved it down and used the little holding pin to hold it into the right place for the next holes. I repeated that process on each side of the cabinet to create two lines of holes on each side of the cabinet. But here’s a quick video of the process!
The hardware got a little makeover too!! The originally were polished brass. I picked up some Rust-Oleum Champagne Bronze spray paint, and sprayed the hardware (below pictured as the “before”. I didn’t love the look and wanted it to be a little more antiqued, so I went over the brass with more java gel stain. It created the perfect look and it was super simple!
I also added these wheels to the bottom of the cabinet. Easy peasy, just lined them up and screwed them in.
Now this farmhouse cabinet is ready to be a centerpiece in our home for years to come. Instead of being stuck in the closet collecting dust! I couldn’t wait to fill it up with so many decor goodies! Some of them are thrift store and yard sale finds, like the books, the antlers, and the vintage scale. The signs and olive tree plant were DIY projects, and the rest of the decor, the greenery in the black pot, the black potted succulent, the black bird (sold out), the moss ball, and the chippy white bowl filled with pieces of this Boxwood Garland were found at Target and Hobby Lobby. The white container on the bottom shelf was also thrifted, but it was filled with Green Baby Breath Garland here.
So what do you think? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear from you!
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