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Repurposed Card Catalog Reveal

by | DIY, Home

UPDATE:  The card catalogs have found their permanent home here!

Well, this post has been one year in the making, and I finally finally FINALLY get to show off my new and beautiful repurposed card catalog!  Sometime last year, I saw some crazy lovely card catalogs and went on this binge of instant gratification – I WANTED a card catalog.  Now now now!  So I stalked Craigslist for a while and saw one for a reasonable price about 2 hours away from us in Connecticut.  I say reasonable because most of the card catalogs I saw on CL were small and expensive or large and ridiculously expensive, like over $1000 expensive.  The beauty I bought cost $300, but I paid my dues – Drew was grumpy bear having to borrow our friend’s SUV and drive me way out to Connecticut to lug this thing back and store it in the garage.  Grumpy bear continued as the card catalog sat in the garage through the rest of autumn, the cold weather, the morning sickness, the heat of the summer….and back into fall.  But now, after much nagging and procrastinating (I even did a roundup to try to motivate myself!) and lots of hard work on Drew’s part, I have two beautiful pieces for my attic craft room to hold everything my little heart desires.

One Dog Woof: Repurposed and Refinished Card Catalog Craft Storage

One Dog Woof: Refinished Card Catalog

Here’s an idea of what the card catalog looked like originally.  This isn’t ours, but it looked just like it.  The monstrosity had 72 drawers, the 3 drawers that slid out, and a solid base.  It weighed a ton because although the drawer fronts were solid wood, everything else was particle board.

At this point, I stopped taking photos of work in progress, mostly because the progress was at a snail’s pace.  The bottom of the catalog fell off when we transferred it to the garage, and we decided to leave it off.  We also thought about keeping it in one piece, but there was no way it was going to make it up to the attic in one piece, so I had Drew cut it in half.  I did lose the pull out writing surfaces because the cut was right through the middle, but sometimes, you just gotta make the sacrifice.

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog Reveal

We pulled out all the drawers, removed the fronts and all the fixtures.  Every surface was then sanded, primed, sanded, and painted with 2 to 3 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Kendall Charcoal.  The Advance paint is washable like latex paint, but smooths out very nicely like an oil based paint.  It hardens and cures well and I think it worked great for furniture, since I wasn’t in the mood to play with the ever popular chalk paint.

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog Split in Two

All the fixtures were polished one at a time with Brasso Multi Purpose Metal Polish: and an old shirt.  The fixture screws were replaced with steel screws, but we kept the screws that attached the drawer fronts to the drawers.  And in the process, Drew got himself a new toy, a small impact driver, so he didn’t have to do all that unscrewing and screwing back of all the pieces by hand.

Since the card catalog was cut in half, the bottom half needed a new top, so Drew cut a piece of plywood to fit and glued it in place.  The rough edges of cuts were shaved off and sanded, and both pieces were finished with casters at the bottom.  Even when they are completely loaded up, this preggo lady can move it around the room!

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog with casters
I’m now using one of the pieces to hold all of my small craft items, like embroidery floss, tools, jewelry findings, markers, paints, beads, buttons, and any other random tidbit that would fit in a drawer.

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog Renovation Reveal

One Dog Woof: Stamps in a Card CatalogA little OCD?  Maybe.

One Dog Woof: Store embroidery thread in a card catalogYes, I did wind all of my embroidery thread onto those little bobbins just to fit it all in.  But, oh, swoon!

The other piece holds all my sewing doodads, crochet and knitting tools, and a large portion of my yarn stash.

One Dog Woof: Repurposed Card Catalog
card_catalog_12
One Dog Woof: Cotton yarn fits in a card catalog
card_catalog_10
This was a huge project, but I seriously just sit in my craft room and stare at our handiwork and wonder how the heck we ever got around to finishing this thing.  I am so in love with my new furniture and Drew is glad that all those annoying crafty tools are finally moving out of the rest of the house and into organized little compartments out of his sight!

 

73 Comments

  1. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    ChiWei…girrrrrl, this turned out incredibly! I remember you telling me about this project several weeks ago…and here it is all finished to perfection. I absolutely love the paint choice…and you were wise to chop that baby in two and add the wheels. I can tell that a lot of meticulous work went into this, but it was well worth it. The site of that drawer full of embroidery thread makes me want to stalk Craigslist and get a card catalog of my own. BEAUTIFUL!

    Reply
  2. Laura

    Love love love it! So very jealous. Fabulously well done.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Laura!

      Reply
  3. Donna

    Love this, looks stunning!! Did you make the things you wrapped your embroidery flosses round or buy them? Only I’m sorting my stash too and one thing that’s currently sitting waiting is embroidery flosses!!
    Very jealous!
    Donna x

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Hi Donna, thank you for your kind words! I bought the embroidery floss bobbins. I figured maybe a Silhouette could cut them, but I don’t have one of those (alas), so I just bought them. I found mine at Joann’s and I have to say, the DMC brand is better than the generic bobbins, if quality is a consideration – they were thicker and can be reused more easily. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. Kelly

    It’s wonderful! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Lisa @ Wine & Glue

    AHHHHHH! Now I want! Want so much!! I have absolutely no place for that and no money to buy it, but ….. WANT! Nice job, it’s beautiful!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Lisa! Yup, that was me a year ago – want want want! I didn’t have a place for it then either, so we made a place for it. I’ve never decorated a room around furniture before…but doing it now!

      Reply
  6. Kirsten @ One Tough Mother

    This is so incredibly fantastic! You guys did such a great job finishing it. I actually like it cut into two separate pieces. I didn’t realize how HUGE that thing was! LOVE THIS!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      It is ginormous! And super heavy with all that particle board. But I love the size – because I can fit more stuff in them!

      Reply
  7. Marilyn

    OMG ChiWei this is absolutely amazing! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Marilyn!

      Reply
  8. Kara

    I love it!! It looks amazing!

    Reply
  9. Steph @ meet.make.laugh.

    Wow what a big project! It looks great though and I imagine it will definitely help keep you organized!!!!

    Reply
  10. Heather @ French Press

    AMAZING! what a gorgeous project – I would love something like this for my officce

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Something like this would be awesome for an office – can you imagine all the rubberbands and paperclips it can hold?! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  11. Pat F.

    ChiWei,
    That card box is awesome! I remember using those card boxes at the library all those years ago and it is fun to see how they are now recycled into to so many wonderful and clever ideas! Your card box sure holds many items and what a great way to keep organized! Thanks for showing us this nice card box!

    Pat F.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Pat! It does hold sooo many items. I had several plastic bins that have been emptied into these beauties, and now I don’t have to go crawling around in bottomless pits to find what I need!

      Reply
  12. Bethany

    I am so in love with this!

    Reply
  13. Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs

    I love this! I was planning to build a reclaimed wood version of a card catalog for my future craft room. I love how you’re using yours!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Wow, building your own card catalog? Now that’s a project! I agree, these things are so great for a craft room. I wish you all the best in your project – I’d love to see it if you complete it!

      Reply
  14. Ali Burtt

    This is so cute! And so functional! I just love card catalogs. Now I want one too. BTW, I found you via the Overflowing With Creativity link party.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Ali! I think everyone could use one, don’t you? 🙂

      Reply
  15. Corinna Ashley

    If someone would please email me- [email protected] if you find me a card catalog, i will love you forever. This is absolutely amazing and I am completely jealous! A chest of tiny drawers just tickles my heart strings!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      I totally get what you mean! I stalked Craigslist and went pretty far out to see what was available. When I went to pick it up, the lady said someone had called from about 10 hours away to come and get it if it wouldn’t sell!

      Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Leslie!

      Reply
  16. Ann

    This is SO cool!

    Reply
  17. Katie Goldsworthy

    Wowzers! What a find! That is awesome. Thanks for linking up at Monday Funday!

    Reply
  18. Alecia @ Chicken Scratch NY

    This is amazing! I can’t believe how much work you did! You are like pregnant superwoman.

    Reply

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