Before and After: A Secondhand Cabinet Gets a Modern Edge with a $24 Pole Wrap DIY

published Oct 6, 2023
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Have you ever seen a secondhand item at the thrift store that seems perfect for your space or your wardrobe, except for one dated detail that gives you pause? Just know that a little bit of DIY can take that find from almost there to just right. Just ask Tracey Varndell (@fray_at_home), who transformed an almost-perfect old cabinet for just £20 (roughly $24) using almost entirely upcycled materials.

While secondhand shopping one day, Tracey came across a display cabinet with eye-catching glass doors, a rectangular shape, and long, slender legs that immediately caught her eye, but she didn’t care for its dated, dark wood color. Tracey, an avid DIYer, decided to take a chance and fix up the cabinet herself.

The DIY started with black paint.

Before starting any furniture flipping project, Tracey cleans her items with degreasing soap and then sands lightly. Once she finished that prep, Tracey got to work painting the cabinet’s exterior using black paint (Frenchic’s Blackjack Al Fresco). 

“I wanted to paint it matte black, but I was unsure about how the glass doors would look,” Tracey says. Ultimately, she wasn’t satisfied with how the glass doors and paint looked together, and she decided to cover the glass with bamboo pole wrap sheets. “I had seen some bamboo doors online and wanted to recreate this look,” she says.

A pole wrap pivot makes the doors pop against the black paint.

“Covering the glass with the pole wrap was quite tricky,” Tracey notes. “I used tape, which did not work due to the weight of the bamboo. In the end, I used some strong adhesive, which did the trick!” 

Now, Tracey’s totally pleased with her black-and-bamboo combo. “The black paint is very slick, and the bamboo gives it a very on-trend feel,” Tracey says. “It makes the space feel very modern, and I’m happy that I have reused an old item.”

Craft supply foam covers the back of the doors.

The one setback of the project, Tracey recalls, is that because the doors were glass, you could still see the glue and the back of the bamboo panels inside once you opened the doors. 

Once again, a secondhand find saved the day. Tracey patched up her cabinet using leftover black foam from a children’s craft box. The lesson learned here: If your existing furniture (or furniture from the thrift store) has problems, why not try putting a DIY spin on it? As Tracey notes, it’s good for you and the planet.

“It’s a lot easier than it looks and is very relaxing,” she says. “Upcycling or painting furniture is a great way to save money and help the environment.”

The second lesson to be learned is that when you make your own upgrades to furniture, sometimes you have to pivot along the way. While Tracey originally loved the glass doors, she decided halfway through that they weren’t meant to be, and that’s OK. The end product she created is still gorgeous!

For more advice for persevering through a thrift flip, read these four tips from seasoned DIYers

Inspired? Submit your own project here.