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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. kathy baugher

    Gorgeous!! I absolutely love the color choice and beautiful pictures of your organized drawers. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks! My husband wanted white, but I thought the fixtures would stand out more against a darker background, and because my craft room is all white. I love love love this color, for just about anything!

      Reply
  2. Kristin

    Super love! Love it for stamps and floss. YEAH! It’s beautiful and I love all things organized!
    Beautiful post!
    K-

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Kristin! It’s great for all those little things that end up getting in every nook and cranny of every room. Would you believe I actually put things away now that I have a place to put them? 🙂

      Reply
  3. Dria

    So loving this!! I have always loved catalog drawers. Love how you are using yours 🙂

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Dria!

      Reply
  4. Rebecca, Soap Deli News

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I’d love to score a find like this one. Great work and thanks for sharing the results!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you! I count myself lucky to have found one at a good price!

      Reply
  5. PattyM

    This is a great project that turned out incredibly well. Cannot believe how you painstakingly painted each drawer and polished the brass. Most of the card catalogues that I have seen are wooden (almost always oak) and each drawer has a steel rod inserted through the front of the drawer and then through each card inside the drawer. I assume this was so that no one could pull out a card or re-file a card in the wrong spot. The bottom of the drawers are not solid which is why I’ve never bought one to store my craft supplies. If yours is made this way, how do you keep the supplies from falling through the bottom?

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Hi Patty. Actually, mine was advertised as “solid wood”, but it’s really particle board and metal drawers. We had driven too far to not buy it, so we got it anyways. The fronts of all the drawers are solid wood, but the body is metal, and it didn’t come with rods, but it did come with metal dividers which I just left in place. I didn’t realize the wooden ones had open bottoms, I’m thankful now that our drawers were metal! Thank you for your sweet compliment!

      Reply
  6. Alli

    Awesome job! All the beautiful pics makes me want one.

    Reply
  7. Bonnie @ Uncommon Designs

    This turned our soooo coollll!! Love the idea of this as storage. I am old enough to remember using these in school and at our local library! What a great repurpose! 😉 Bonnie @ Uncommon Designs

    Reply
  8. Michelle

    Oh my goodness, totally love your finished project. It’s so attractive yet, functional and would be perfect in virtually any room of the house, especially the craft room or office. Thanks for sharing! Can’t imagine the time you put into it! Pinning and sharing on FB.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Michelle! I think my husband would have liked to put in a little less time, but we both feel it was totally worth it! Especially now that he doesn’t have to see my stuff all over the house 🙂

      Reply
  9. Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

    ChiWei, I am at a loss for words. This card catalog makeover is simply stunning! I love all that organization you have. Nice job.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks so much Brittany! Your words made my day 🙂

      Reply
  10. Emily

    This is awesome! I’m going to start stalking Craig’s list too! I want one!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      It should be a sport – this stalking of Craigslist. You never know what you’re gonna find 🙂

      Reply
  11. Ginger

    Loooooove this! Now I want one, too! 🙂

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Ginger!

      Reply
  12. Patti

    I’ve been looking for one too and this is absolutely beautiful. Well done.

    Reply
  13. amy @ one artsy mama

    WOWIEE! I love the look of it, and I am uber jealous of all that storage space for supplies!!

    Reply
  14. Jocie@OneProjectCloser

    love this!!! i need to find me a card catalog now! Thanks so much for linking up with OPC and Pretty Handy Girl to support Habitat. Sharing on FB later today. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Lorna

    SOOOOOOO in love with this!!!! 😀

    Reply
  16. Jessica@The Junk Nest

    I am in the process of putting my new craft room together. Trying to figure out how to arrange it and what type of storage to have is sooooo much work! But this….wow….this would really help with organizing all the little small stuff. I love it! Pinned it…and thinking about blogging about it over at my blog tonight!

    Reply
  17. Angela @ CreativeBlossoming.com

    Wonderful job! That must have taken a lot of time! Love the nostalgia of the card catalogs… but I’m also thankful they’re now obsolete, LOL. Great find!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      That’s so true Angela! I love the card catalogs, but I also love Google search, where I don’t have to figure out what time the library opens and then flips through cards and then find the books. Remember microfiche? Those were the days! 🙂

      Reply
    • Ellynne

      This looks fantastic and is so perfect. I especially love that you told us about the paint as I can use that info for current projects. You and your husband are a great team and an inspiration to those of us with art materials scattered everywhere!

      Reply
      • ChiWei

        Thank you! I’ll tell him you said that, haha!

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