Wood Locker Makeover

It's been a busy few weeks around here and I'm SO happy to finally be posting a new project!  A couple weeks ago a friend asked me if I was interested in purchasing a cabinet that didn't work in her space.  When I saw the picture on my iPhone I knew I had to have that cabinet!  I've written before about my love of lockers and even wrote a post about another locker-inspired project I did here, Metal Pantry Turned Locker.   My previous locker post was about a metal locker and this new locker was wood.  I knew wood would be a lot easier to transform then metal was!  

I couldn't wait to start transforming the piece once I picked it up!  Here it is before I got started.

I'm guessing this piece had previously been a built-in because of the way it was put together.  It was not in the best shape, like 99% of the projects I work on, but I could see how incredible it could be with a bit of hard work.

I instantly fell in love with the door closure.  

The paint was peeling and the wood was warped in spots.  OH and the cabinet was super filthy.  It was coated in dirt, grime and spider webs.

After a thorough cleaning I got to work sanding.

I did LOTS of sanding before I realized there was no way to get all the crackling paint and age to go away without stripping the finish down to the bare wood.  The piece isn't made with the best lumber so I decided it wasn't worth the time to strip it.   I sanded it as much as I thought it needed and went with it.  

The sides needed to be secured so I added some nails and wood glue.  I put a few clamps on overnight while the glue dried and the next day it was sturdy and all the warping was gone.  

There were lots of spots that needed some wood filler.  I gave those spots a few layers of wood filler and sanded them once they were dry.  

Now it was time to paint!  If you follow me via Facebook you might have seen a post where I asked what paint lines everyone is interested in trying.   I've decided it's time to try some new paint lines.  There are LOTS of paint lines out there so I thought it was important to see what I thought of them.  I did some research and picked a few paint lines to try over the next few months.  

The first paint line I tried was CeCe Caldwell"s Paints.   This paint is a non-toxic mineral based paint that goes on without priming or sanding. I painted two coats of Omaha Ochre on the entire cabinet.  Since I hadn't tried this line before I didn't know what to expect.  I read a lot of reviews online before I purchased the paint, but I was still surprised with the consistency and coverage.  The paint was a lot more watery than I had thought it would be.   I figured out after two coats that I wasn't getting enough coverage so I switched over to  Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan in Old White.  The color was a bit lighter, but since this wasn't my final color it was fine.  

This is how the door looked with two coats of the CeCe Caldwell's in Omaha Ochre and two coats of Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan in Old white.

Somehow I missed taking pictures of the inside of the cabinet before I painted.  The inside was a high gloss red, but someone had attached contact paper on the shelf and the bottom of the cabinet.  It was a disaster!  It took lots of cleaning and scraping to get all the paper off before I could start painting the inside.  
This is how the inside looked with two coats of the CeCe Caldwell's Paint in Omaha Ochre.  

I had originally wanted the inside of the cabinet to be the Omaha Ochre, but I didn't have enough paint to do three coats .  I switched over to Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan in French Linen.   I gave the inside two more coats of paint to finish it all off.

  Once I got the outside of the cabinet covered in the Old White and the inside in French Linen I got too engrossed in what I was doing and forgot to stop and take pictures!

For my final color, I went with another paint new-to-me paint line, American Paint Company.  This   paint that doesn't require priming or sanding before painting like the CeCe Caldwell's and the Chalk Paint™ By Annie Sloan.  It's a mineral, chalk and clay based paint.  I was shocked when I opened the can and saw how thick the paint was!  I had heard it was thick, but didn't believe it until I saw it for myself.  I bought the paint from Jill at Weathered Pieces.  I have to say Jill is extremely  patient.  I asked her about a million questions before I bought a can of paint from her and even more questions after I got it in the mail.  Jill  had advised me to add some water to the paint and I'm glad she did!  At first I was hesitant and a bit skeptical, but WOW this paint went on like a dream.  The coverage was phenomenal and the depth of color was beautiful.  I love navy blue and the American Paint Company has a GORGEOUS navy blue called Born On the 4th.  It's most definitely one of my all-time favorite colors from any paint line!   I will be buying more of this paint for future projects.  It was a big hit in my book!

I went with stripes on the cabinet door.  I'm a stripe lover!  I taped off the parts I wanted to stay the Old White with Frog Tape and then painted everything else the dreamy Born On the 4th.  After one coat of the navy blue I was surprised to see that the only spots that needed another coat were the parts I missed with my brush the first time around.  There were very few spots.  This paint has amazing coverage.   I added a bit more paint where needed and the piece was ready for wax!  

For wax I went with yet another paint line (except this one wasn't new to me) Miss Mustardseed's Milk Paint Furniture Wax.  It's my favorite clear wax to work with right now.  It goes on like butter and there's not a long wait for drying time.  Also, buffing is a breeze!  I applied two coats of wax, giving drying time in-between coats.  Then I gave the whole cabinet a good sanding.  I wanted to embrace the age of the piece since I couldn't get rid of all the cracking and texture.  

Once I was done I thought it was missing something......a number!  Every locker needs a number, right?  Since my plan was to keep the locker for Hunter to use I went with his favorite number...3.  I printed a 3 on MS Word, using a big font and printed it on regular paper.   I had to figure out how to get my shape on the cabinet door.  At first I tried tracing the number with carbon paper....epic fail.  Then I tried my white chalk trick...I scuffed chalk on the back of the paper and then traced....another fail.  Finally I cut out the number and traced around the number with a pencil.  After I had it all traced on the door, I took some black chalkboard paint I had on hand and an artist's brush and filled it in.  I gave it a couple of coats, then added in some Old White to give it some dimension.  I waxed the number and distressed it to help it look old and worn.  

Here's the finished locker.

The color is beautiful!  I'm loving this navy blue!

Remember the before picture of the door closure and the hinges???  Well, after lots of work boiling them in water on the stove, scrubbing them with a toothbrush, salt and baking soda, I was able to get all the paint layers off.  I adore how they they look now!

The hinges and the door closure show their age, but I love how they're original and go with the look of the entire piece.  They still work really well too!

Here's the inside of the cabinet.  On the door I 'washed' the inside with a couple layers of French Linen.  I wanted it too look aged like the outside of the door.

The inside already had the shelf.  All it needed were some metal baskets that luckily I had on hand, but didn't have a place for.  They fit perfectly.

The hook was a challenge.  The piece had hooks in it previously, but they were flimsy and couldn't support much weight.  The wood wasn't thick enough to hold them in place.  I knew I wanted at least one hook for Hunter to hang his coat on,  or in this case his skateboard helmet.  I went with a Command Strip from 3M in a nickel finish.  This hook holds up to 5 pounds and was easy to attach.  It's easy to remove and won't damage the surface either.  I highly recommend them!  

It really warms my heart how excited Hunter gets about my projects.  He had no idea I was working on this for him until I asked him if he thought a 3 would look good on the front.  He really falls in love with the projects like I do and wants me to keep them all.  He was so happy when I told him I was doing this one for him.  The cabinet is going in the mud room for Hunter to put his coat, backpack and shoes in when he gets home.  I'm hoping this will make it more fun to put his stuff away (insert huge smiley face here!).  What 8 year old boy wouldn't want to put his stuff away in a cool locker?  Now I'm hoping the cool factor doesn't wear off!  

Thank you for taking the time to read this!  


  1. Well, how cool is that , Melody?!?!!! I really love the way it turned out. I have never heard of that paint from American. Sounds like another great product. xo Diana

  2. The locker is so cool! I am definitely a navy lover and that color is a perfect navy!
    For the hardware--next time try soaking them in ammonia. Susan from Uniquely Your or Mine blog recommended it (and she's been painting furniture for 20 years) and it works like a charm. It literally melts paint off! I soak overnight and then rinse with water and buff with a green scrubby sponge.

  3. What a great and fun piece, awesome re-do job. :-)

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