Library Card Catalogue Drawers

The makeover I'm sharing with you today is probably my favourite to date. I'm so proud of this piece and it now sits in my home.


I bought these drawers on a buy swap sell Facebook page and for 2 reasons, the first being the reasonable price of just $40 and the second being that it had flat face drawers. It was perfect for a project that I had wanted to try for some time.

Library card catalogue drawers are just gorgeous but they don't come with a gorgeous price tag. I understand why, they are a piece of history from a time that I barely remember when we had to go to libraries to research school projects.


For a while I had been buying catalogue tags from eBay and had used them on smaller pieces and even as tray handles but this time I got to truly showcase their beauty.

I started by measuring the draws and deciding how I was going to divide the space into smaller drawers that you associate with library card catalogues. I decided to do 2 drawers on each smaller drawer at the top and 4 drawers on the larger drawers. I needed something thin but thick enough the look like real drawers not ones that had been stuck on.

I bought some thin plywood from Bunnings. The wonderful staff there cut the wood to size for me length ways so all i had to do was make small cuts.


Once I had my wood I used a staple/nail gun to fix each piece to the drawers, a nail in each corner. Then I painted the drawers in a cotton white chalk paint (Dixie Belle's Cotton would do perfectly) that I made myself. I wish I had taken a photo of them all set out before painting, it was a bit time consuming to get them all lined up so they would look straight.I was just so eager to get it painted I forgot to take a progress shot before this. On the left of this photo you can see the original white colour before I started adding wax. I wanted this to be a 2 toned piece with the drawers a different colour from the body of the drawers. I worked my way through each drawer adding clear wax, then dark wax and black (Dixie Belle's Best Dang Wax is perfect for this) to emphasise the nails and the gap between the sheets of wood to make it look more realistic.

Next I added the library card catalogue handles. In this photo I was still trying to decided on the right amount of wax.

On the top two smaller drawers I used lightly different and narrower drawer pulls. This was because I didn't have enough of the same pulls but I think it turned out well and highlights the smaller drawers just enough.

Next, I painted the body of the drawers in the same white but only added clear wax and dark wax to the edges of the drawers to give an aged appearance.

I've had lots of compliments on this piece and quite a lot of offers to buy but I just couldn't bring myself to part with it in the end so now it sits in my home and had wonderful storage.

I would definitely do another piece like this and Im always on the look out for more flat faced drawers.


Since doing this project I have learned of a new technique where instead of wood added to the front a Dremel Rotary tool is used along a straight guide to create indents in the wood to mimic small drawers. This is a great idea if you have drawers thick enough, if not the above method would be best.

Thanks for reading. I hope it's inspired you to give it a go one day!


-Erin



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