DIY: a cabinet of curiosities

I am a collector of knick knacks. I like *things*, but mostly things with sentimental value or incline toward my interests. This has been more than a decade in the making since some of the items you are about to see go that far back.

You could say this process was a labor of love cause it took many days to finish. I had this old cabinet that was once used for medicine and toiletires. Ole girl needed a make-over in a big way so I decided to give it to her.

Step 1: Dismantle: remove all hardware, it had a fabric panel in the window that I gutted out as well. I removed it all. I only took photos with my phone so forgive the quality.

Step 2: Primer. I used a flat white primer but didn’t prime it to a solid white cause I wanted some of the grain to strike through. The old hardware was brass/rusty. I don’t like it much, especially not on white so I opted to go silver.

Step 3: Paint! I chose to go with white since A) all the moulding in the house is white and B) it helps showcase/pop the items you are going to display. I used Glidden Trim & Door paint cause I had it lying around, it’s oil based and has really good coverage. Only problem with this stuff it takes a tap to dry and stinks to high hell. Painting it was a 2 day process because of the dimension and the drying time.

Step 4: Reassemble by installing all the hardware. The hinges, knob and roller catch thingy were all acquired at Home Depot and no more than $8

Step 5: Curate! In all honesty this was the best part. Gathering all my little knick knacks, papers, postcards, treats, rearranging, getting it to look the way I want. It took a while but I am really happy with the outcome.

And here she is…

Let’s look inside shall we?

Curious about the goods and their significance? Here are a few details.


Left to right: the quartz I got at a gem fair eons ago, the devil mask belonged to a creepy harlequin clown my sister had in the 80’s, the boxes: the top is filled with bees, middle: cicada wings I have collected, bottom: sea glass & shells I collected on the beach in San Diego, the sugar skull was the first one I ever made.


the cicada was the first one I found when we moved to NJ, I thought that agate slice looked like a Turkish eye when I bought it.


Left to right: Kevin, 9 is my favorite number, the plate in the back is from the order of the Eastern Star – It was the first Mason organization that allowed women. Josh’s grandmother Floye was one from what I was told. The jar of safety pins belonged to her.

And the rest is stuff I like… Halloween, vintage medical and chemistry items, bottles and cool antiques I have picked up over the past year.


To say I am in love with this process is an understatement. Something tells me there will be another one down the road but on a much larger scale.

Author: Ivonne

I have a bio, just haven't gotten around to writing it just yet.


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