Recycled cedar cabinet before

I found this little cedar cabinet at auction and thought it would be useful….  But I’m never that keen on wood that is so strongly coloured.  Cedar is SO red that it can be very dominant in any room, so I thought about toning it down.

Initially I was considering covering the whole piece with silver leaf.  But then I had a play with the leaf, and decided that it would look too shiny.  So I decided to use the silver leaf on the panels and paint the rest white.

Cabinet half way through

I was very careful to mask off all the glass.  As I was painting, I got to the door, and I loved the hinges and the little brass keyhole so much that I thought I’d preserve some of the original wood, and those features.  So I didn’t paint the door.

silver leaf drawer

Silver leafing the panels was another matter.  This was my first attempt on the drawer and I ended up taking it all off and starting again as you can see the left hand side looks rough.  That’s because I put the leaf on when the ‘size’ (special glue to stick down leaf) was still too wet.  I’m telling you this, as taking it off took abuot 3 times as long as putting it on….  Patience is definitely a worthwhile virtue.   So I was more patient next time, and worried less about it drying before I’d got the leaf on, and it went on much more smoothly.

I didn’t want the new and shiny look, so I experimented with raw umber and paynes grey oil colour.  In the end, I put two coats of semi gloss varnish on, to preserve the leaf.  I then rubbed a little undiluted oil colour on, using a soft cloth, until it was the thinned glaze.  I just put it in patches so that it took down the silver newness a notch or two. 

Cabinet after

I gave my lovely paint finish a good hard sand to rough up the edges – fragments of the cedar showing through emphasise its outline and also pick up the untouched door.  Plus I wanted to have a worn and warm look, to reflect its true age.

Antiqued silver leaf panel

You can see below the keyhole I was so keen to preserve – plus you can see that I really did sand it back hard.

Charming keyhole

I really like the patination effect from rubbing the oil colour over.  Raw Umber is brilliant for aging anything.  Except ‘the man’ – I suspect I do a pretty good job at aging him all by myself…

silver leaf

This makes such a perfect drinks cabinet – as you can see all the beautiful bottles and labels.  I had been thinking of using it in my study, but you don’t really want to look at files. 

Silver leaf cabinet after

All that’s missing is a handle for the drawer.  My favourite shop (that really was called Knobs and Knockers) has shut down!  So I’m on the hunt for the right one.  It may take some time but I’ll be sure to show you when it’s done!