Make Old Wood Pretty?

How to make old wood pretty. Wouldn’t you love to know how to make old wood look pretty?

Today is also Do It Over Designers, where we take a piece and make it over. Please take the time to visit these talented ladies! The links are at the end of my post.

Before I get into my post, let me give you a bit of a backstory.

First off, when my husband was out doing his morning run, he saw an old radio cabinet out for garbage day. Now finding pieces in our neighborhood like this is very rare. He ran home to get his SUV and threw it in the back and brought the piece home. He said, when he saw, the piece, his first thought, Cindy will love to make this wood piece pretty for her office/craft space.

the old radio cabinet that was found by the curb

When he came home, and he mentioned what he had brought home I was excited. Well, when we went into the garage to take a good look this piece needed too much work. Normally I am all in on working to make a wood piece pretty. However, this piece was beyond anything I have worked on before.

The piece was peeling and needed detail woodwork before I can even begin to think of the wood being pretty. However, there were pieces I knew I would be able to make the old wood pretty. So, we began taking the cabinet apart to save the old wood. It may not look that bad in the picture, but it was very warped and peeling.

Pieces Old Wood We Did Keep

To begin we took the handles off, and I did give these a BIG cleaning to make pretty.

Next, my husband cut the legs off. These are pretty and I have been deciding what I want to do with them. At first, I was thinking candleholders but honestly how many candleholders can I have? So, making my own architectural pieces from them may happen.

Lastly, we did keep the front covering to the speaker. This is the project I am sharing with you today to make old wood pretty again.

How to make old wood new

How To Make Old Wood Pretty?

First of all, I gave the old wood a deep cleaning with warm water and vinegar. Next, because it was so dirty, I did another cleaning with Lysol wipes. Now isn’t the time I want to waste these, but I felt I had no choice.

Now I added a coat of Kilz primer and let it dry. Primer needed to be added because the dark color of this old wood tends to bleed through paint.

picture of the primer in the can
adding primer

My Next Step to Making This Wood Pretty I Glue Appliques to Add A Touch Of Elegance

Next, using glue I add appliques to the old wood piece to add elegance. These also make this old piece more attractive. After placing the appliques where I want, I put some books on top to add pressure to make sure they adhered well.

a picture of the appliques
adding glue to the back of the appliques
getting the corner appliques set

If you have a need for furniture appliques, I recommend this ETSY and this ETSY. Both have great selections and prices. Incidentally, I have purchased from both.

Now I Am Ready to Add Chalk Paint to My Old Wood

I’m painting this how to make old wood pretty with ASCP Old White Chalk paint. Generally, with chalk paint I don’t have to prime. However, as I said above the dark finish will bleed through so priming was necessary. Because I did prime one coat of paint is all I needed.

painting the project old white chalk paint

By the way this project HERE is a fantastic furniture makeover. Please take a look to see this HUGE transformation.

After adding one coat of Old White this old wood was beginning to shine and look pretty again.

the make old wood new after finished being painted with chalk paint

Adding Wax to My Wood Project to Add Character

Next, I begin adding the wax. Here I use two stencil brushes. I begin adding clear wax in small areas. Then using my other brush, I add a bit of dark wax.

adding clear wax to the project
adding dark wax to make old wood pretty
showing the dark wax

After the dark wax is added, using a lint free rag I buff well. This is namely done so the old wood project will not be sticky. If wax is not rubbed well this happens and is not a good result for a project.

rubbing the wax into make old wood pretty

Lastly, to Make the Old Wood Shine I Add Champagne Paint to the Appliques

Lastly, using an artist’s brush I brush the appliques with Rub N Buff in Antique Gold. I love all things French and for the most part, there’s gilding on many pieces adding a lovely touch.

close up of applique

I’m thrilled with the finished product. This how to make old wood look pretty will be going in my office/craft room.

How To Make Old Wood Pretty?

What do you think? Do you enjoy making old pieces new again? I would love to read if you enjoy making old pieces new again.


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Do It Over Designers graphic

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Little Vintage Cottage

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42 thoughts on “Make Old Wood Pretty?

  1. What an exciting find and a pretty addition that will make to your craft room Cindy! Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the rest of the piece too.

  2. What a shame the cabinet was so damaged, but I love what you did with the speaker cover. It sounds like you have a few more pieces that will be great makeovers and I can’t wait to see what you do with them!

  3. You really did make an old wood piece pretty, Cindy! What a transformation! I love the color and trim you chose. They really enhance the wood piece! Would love to see how you’re using it!

  4. Saving what you can of this old cabinet is brilliant. It looks so pretty now. I love that your husband is on it when it comes to spotting things for you when he is out and about.

  5. Turning the fretwork from this cabinet into wall art was a great idea. You will enjoy decorating with this for years to come.

  6. This looks like a completely different piece, Cindy, I can’t get over it! Love the way you take things and give them fresh life. It’s really beautiful and it makes me want to take a second look and the old pieces around my house too! Hugs, CoCo

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