Easy Apothecary Cabinet Style Makeover!!!

9 Materials
10 Hours

I was recently gifted this dresser from a neighbor who said if I didn’t want it she was taking it to the dump. I posted a notice of gratitude and one comment on that post was from a good friend asking when I would be making and selling another apothecary cabinet, and my response was “why not now ;)”

easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
This dresser had a thin laminate veneer on it
and it was cracked and missing in some places. But underneath it was WOOD, like, real glorious wood!!! So I used 100 grit sand paper, and started about the process of revealing it! I also used small wooden dowels to fill each of the holes where the handles had been. Then used a wood filler to cement them in place. Once the entire dresser had been sanded, the original holes were invisable.
easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
Onced finished with the 100 grit, I then used a 220 grit to smooth out the grain. And when it felt smooth to the touch, I washed it down, and stained it a dark ‘Kona’ stain. After a couple coats I loved the color!
easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
At this point I decided I would use the original design to create a faux drawer design. I taped off each square and used White chalk paint on them, painting in thin layers, and using a hot hairdryer to dry the paint so that it looks old and cracked a bit. Once they were all painted, I sanded the edges to reveal the darker color underneath.
easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
Next I measured for my apothecary style handles! The screws for these are very small, so I used a tiny drill to make it easy to get started. I always measure and then use tape in s grid pattern to help make sure they are perfectly lined up!
easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
Next I used a crackle medium on the sides and outer edges of the top. Once it was completely dry, I once again used a white chalk paint on those areas.
easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
To finish it off, I used an “Apothecary” stencil on top. I used a sponge method to apply the paint, which I had never tried before. I found it very hard to get coverage, and even though I tried to do a mostly dry-brush type of application, I still had some bleeding. So next time I will go with my tried and true stencil brush. Since I was going to be sanding it a bit on top to make it look older, it wasn’t too bad to fix, once all the painting was finished, I used a clear wax. I had planned to use a brown wax to make it appear aged, but I really loved the stark contrast in color with the white and dark kona stain.
easy apothecary cabinet style makeover
I am often asked to do apothecary style makeovers, and there are so many ways to do them. And I find that each piece I’ve done, is nothing like any of the others. At some point I was really tired of making them, and had decided I would never do another one. But, this was for someone special, and I find that I might just love them again!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Cindy John
    on May 22, 2018

    Where did you get that stencil

  • Norma Jean Brown Huntley
    on May 29, 2018

    So did you remove all of the veneer

  • Nancy Beckwith
    on May 31, 2018

    But why isn't the black part aged a bit too, to ha continuity with the old aged white parts? The finished product is beautiful, but if I did this, I would make it appear like the ENTIRE piece had aged.....make it more " believable '

    • Carol
      on Apr 14, 2019

      Nancy, sometimes less is more. I think to have aged the top would have taken away from the finished look. The stencil would not have shown up or looked as well as it did the way she finished it if the top had been aged. You really wouldn't have been able to used it even.

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