French Printer Cabinet Conversion

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Hi Friends!  Today’s project is a personal favorite of mine, and I’m really excited to share it with you!  My client (see a couple of previous projects for her here and here), gave me free reign to design this one.  My creative brain was like a puppy dog running in circles when she told me that!

radio cabinet before

Suzanne works from home, and her employer provides her with a printer. She wanted a furniture piece to hide the rather sizeable printer in, and obviously, still be able to use it daily.  She found an antique Earl radio cabinet on Facebook for a pretty good deal, and the radio parts had already been removed. Can you imagine having a big piece of furniture for a radio?!

My hubby did all the work of converting it to a printer cabinet.  As you can see in the before picture, behind the doors was a panel with radio knobs and speakers.  He needed to remove the panel to make a cavity large enough for the printer.  It was sitting in a groove, so it had to be slid out the top to avoid damaging it.  Suzanne was hoping to salvage the panel, and use it as wall art.  So he hammered the top up and off, slid the panel out, and put the top back on.  He also glued and clamped the legs to make them sturdier.

radio cabinet in process

I did a tiny bit of puttying, but overall, there weren’t many dings and dents in this old piece.  I gave it a thorough cleaning with White Lightning, and a rinse with clean water, and it was ready for paint.  If I was using lighter colors, I definitely would have primed.  But since my colors were purple and red, I just started painting.

Blending Paint

I chose Reclaimed Barn and Aubergine because Suzanne loves color, and she loves all things French.  I wasn’t sure how they would blend, but I got up my courage and just went for it. Using a different brush for each color, I painted the main body of the piece red, and added purple around the mouldings and in the center of the doors. 

Working in smaller sections, I blended the wet red and purple together with long strokes of the brush, making sure there were no harsh lines.  I also used a water bottle mister to mist it with water as needed when the paint seemed too thick to blend well.  My goal was that the colors blur and blend perfectly into each other.  The last blending step is to take a dry brush (I prefer the Oval Medium for this), and lightly blend over the whole surface in every direction.  I think this last step is the secret to good blending. 

radio cabinet paint blending

I did 2 coats, both with this blending technique, and sanded in between and after both coats.

Raised Stencil

Now for the fun part!  It’s actually all the fun part to me, but I really love doing the final embellishment steps that take a piece from good to great.  When the cabinet was dry, I added a raised stencil using the Dixie Belle “Paris” stencil.  Using painter’s tape, I secured the fleur de lis in the middle of the medallion on each door.  With DB mud in black, I took my putty knife and lightly applied the mud over the stencil.  It is a very thin application, so I try to smooth it out without taking too much away.  Then lift the stencil off right away and allow the mud to dry.  I also did this with the word “Paris” in the bottom center. 

After painting the raised stencils purple and allowing them to dry, I used my finger to add Bronze gilding wax over them.  I also added it to the mouldings on the doors and a little on the edges of the “Paris” accent, and on the original hardware.

paris raised stencil

Sealing

This piece was the perfect candidate for spray wax because it’s not going to see heavy use like a table top, and it’s got fluted legs that would be a pain to brush with a liquid sealer.  I shook my bottle of Easy Peasy spray wax well, and sprayed it on a small area.  I immediately buffed it out with a clean dry rag.  And that was it!  It may sound like a lot of steps, and to be honest, it was a bit time-consuming, but it wasn’t difficult.  Anyone can do it!

radio cabinet after

Here are the products I used for this project:

Resource list

(These are affiliate links, for which I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.)

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