A Very Colourful Cactus Display

2 Materials
4 Hours

I wanted to do something to honour my grandmother who passed a couple years ago, so when I found a small cabinet that she had bought at a church fair a long time ago, but had never gotten around to using, I thought it would be the perfect project.

The Before

The cabinet was painted in a sort of blue wash with yellow trim and coastal-type accents that just did not appeal to me or suit my own decor. Also, once I decided what I was going to do with it, I knew I would have to remove the door.

With a little help from my friend...

With no power tools of my own, and apparently little upper body strength, I wasn't able to remove the door without damaging the wood. So, I turned to a handyman-friend for help. He also pointed out that the bottom of the piece was disintegrating from a previous termite infestation and practically crumbled in his hand. He was then nice enough to replace that piece for me.

With that done, I gathered my supplies and settled for an exciting Friday night of painting.

I needed wood filler for those areas I damaged while trying to remove the door; a white DIY chalk paint for the base; my colour of choice which happened to be a sunny yellow; and a couple gift bags which happened to have the same colours as my flower pots (funny story...it was when I happened to lay these bags on the counter next to the pots after shopping, that I got the idea of how I wanted this piece to look).

Let the painting begin...

After sanding the cabinet all over, I used my DIY white chalk paint to cover the blue. This took about 2 coats of paint.

And still more paint...

I then used this lovely yellow paint that I bought at the hardware store's "half-off pre-mixed" section, and painted the entire piece except for the back of the shelf areas, as this is where I stuck on the piece of gift bag.

Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of this step, but I started by using a spray adhesive, which didn't hold the paper well. I then used a glue wash, both on the back side and on the top, like a seal, and it did OK, but I eventually had to resort to hot glue to secure the corners.

Once that was done, I applied an oil-base top coat to the entire project. I did 2 coats of that.


After everything had dried, I went to my favourite plant supplier (my friend's mom) and got some cacti...which my grandmother loved, and which I thought I would be able to keep alive.

I opted to put some fake Spanish moss in the 2 bottom drawers as I thought any watering of plants in there would lead to wood rot or some other damage.

I love how colourful it is....as my Grannny LOVED colour.

This was a project I truly enjoyed, for all the right reasons.

Resources for this project:

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?


Join the conversation