Vintage Style Apothecary Cabinet Before & After

1 Day
It's cute right? I got this 15 drawer apothecary style cabinet off of Craigslist for $20! You can still buy this cabinet online for about $300. My cabinet remained totally empty for about a year. What a waste! I have a habit of not using something until I know that the project is complete. Somehow the lazy kicks in and I think that it would be a huge pain to load 15 drawers with stuff and empty those 15 drawers when I finally get around to painting it. My logic, is well, a tad askew.
The process was actually pretty simple. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite for the outside of the cabinet.

I used a nice Purdy brush mostly and then I used a small foam craft brush for the front trim around the drawer openings. I know they sell special chalk paint brushes but my brush worked just fine for me.

In my original design I was planning on painting the drawer fronts the same color as the rest of the piece. I painted two drawers and thought it might look better with a stained drawer front.
So what you see here (from left to right) ASCP in Graphite, Early American wood stain, and the original finish. If you couldn't tell from the before photo, the original finish was tres orange. Me not like. I love seeing the difference in those drawers! I actually ended up experimenting with a few different stain colors and wound up using my old faithful, Dark Walnut. All told I painted 2 coats of ASCP in Graphite and then slathered on a coat of clear wax and then dark wax. I have no idea what the right way is to do this so I recommend doing a little online research. I lightly sanded the edges for a very light distressed look and just rubbed that dark stain all over. I love the way the dark stain deepens the Graphite color. The hardest part was sanding 15 drawers! Actually it wasn't hard it just took the most time. I then stained them with 2 coats of Dark Walnut and 1 coat of Gloss Poly.
Before I could load my craft supplies I needed to find affordable label bin pulls for FIFTEEN drawers. Have you priced hardware lately? Yea, pretty hard to find a deal. But I found the best deal I could for the type of pull that I wanted and I must say I have no complaints.

I ordered these label bin pulls from Woodcraft in a dark cooper finish. They are perfect! They aren't thin cheap metal like some of the other inexpensive label pulls I found. And because I had to buy so many I got a bulk discount which came out to $2.69 per pull.
I quickly learned that putting on 15 pulls couldn't be done by eyeballing it. So I used a piece of card stock and cut it to the dimensions of the drawer front and then I measured out where I wanted my new pull and colored in the nail holes to show where I (and when I say "I" I mean Big Daddy) would pre drill holes for the screws.

We used the existing screw from the old knobs to hold the template in place. I didn't bother filling the original hole because the bin pull and label would cover it.
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  3 questions
  • Maureen Allwine Maureen Allwine on Jan 27, 2016
    how has the wax finished held up? I heard if you set a hot coffee/tea cup on it, it can leave a ring.. but I never see online people saying that.

  • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Mar 24, 2016
    It looks great! I think you did the right thing by staining the drawers; I like the contrast How did you get the paint and stain to stick to the old finish. Did you have to sand it or what did you do to prepare the surface?

  • Deb Carr Powers Deb Carr Powers on Nov 11, 2017
    How has this held up over time? I have just purchased the exact cabinet on a swap site and now need to stain/paint mine! I was thinking two different stains but like your paint/stain idea.

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