Budget project · DIY · Furniture Makeover · Home decor · Storage

Peek-a-Boo Cabinet DIY



I have a really fun project today that I’m quite proud of, so I’m going to get right to it. I am that excited, you won’t have to read through my near-compulsive ramblings first to get to the good stuff! (Hooray for you I know).


I found this cabinet while thrifting a couple months back. I think it used to be a gun case; it had a lock on one of the doors. It was typical 90s-era honey -colored blah, nothing special. But for $5, it was mine. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, I just packed it home and there it sat. I toyed with a couple ideas for a while. I knew I wanted to do something interesting with the doors and I wanted a pretty pattern inside. I really love the open shelving trend too. Then a random trip to Michaels I discovered these:


A light bulb went off. These laser-cut wood pieces are fairly new to my local Michaels, and I want them all. It’s something I really love about Michaels- sometimes I don’t go shopping there for supplies, I go shopping for inspiration. And I always find it.


  • Cabinet
  • 6 wood panels
  • Decorative wood shapes
  • White Spray Paint
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Decorative Paper
  • 2 knobs or handles
  • Wood Trim


I bought 5 panels (I actually end up using 5 1/2), swung into Lowe’s to pick up some trim pieces and zipped home to get to work.


First thing I did was take off all the hinges, remove the doors, and disassemble the lock. Then I gave everything a good sanding and wipe- down. I then removed the thin wooden center panel from the heavier trim around each door. Each panel was attached to the trim with a bazillion staples and I was able to pry them apart with a flathead screwdriver and used needle nose pliers for any stubborn staples. I set those thin panels aside to be used later.


I got out my laser cut panels and trim and played around until I came up with the configuration I liked. I decided to make a picture frame out of the trim pieces to frame up a center panel. Now, the size of your inside picture frame is going to be dependent upon the size of your cabinet doors. I decided to make a frame that was 13 inches by 8 inches along the outside edge. This gave me about two and a half inches wide column on either side and still was big enough to showcase the laser cut pattern on the inside of the frame. The doors were each 13 x 31.5 inches inside the original trim. I used my miter saw set to a 45° angle, made my cuts and used wood glue to afix the pieces together. After my inside frames had dried I  entered them inside my door frame, cut the trim pieces that extend vertically from the inside frame, and begin measuring out my pieces of the decorative panels. I used a straightedge and an exacto knife with a fresh blade and had no problem cutting through. The trick is to use enough pressure the first time you cut to get the blade all the way through the wood. This insures a nice clean edge. When measuring each space for its panel, it’s also important to include enough extra length to securely affix the panel to the back of the door frame. I cut each piece with approximately  1/2 inch extra on all sides, and glued them to the frame with wood glue, then used my industrial stapler for overkill. With that done I needed to plug the hole on the bottom of one of the doors where the lock had been. For a big hole like this- about 3/4 inch in diameter- I don’t waste a ton of wood filler to plug it. First I roll up a paper towel and stuff as much as I can into the hole, then plug the top with wood filler. After it’s dry, I sand it down and Alah-Kazam! It disappeared! 😉


With the doors done, I turned my attention to the cabinet itself. It was a wide-open cavern, 7 inches deep and 32 inches long and 36 inches tall. I wanted to add shelves and decided on 2 shelves plus the bottom. I went with 2 instead of 3 because although this cabinet is for extra storage, it is a serious pet peeve when shelving isn’t tall enough. What’s the point of extra storage if I can’t put what I want in there? So 2 it was.


I broke out some spare 1x2s we had lying around and cut out a frame for the shelves. I placed each shelf approximately 10 1/2 inches from the top and from the bottom. Then I grabbed those thin wooden panels I had set aside from the doors (remember those?), cut them to size and laid them atop the 1×2 frames and nailed them into place. The 1x2s ensure the shelves are sturdy and reusing the door panels cuts down on waste and expense. It’s a win-win!


Next, I primed the cabinet and each door and use Krylon Color Master Semi-gloss White spray paint to paint everything. Using spray paint for this project was a decision based totally on expedience, with all those details on the doors hand painting with a smaller brush would have taken forever.


I went in search of something to decorate the inside, and I found this ahh-mazing project paper by DCWV called Birds and Branches. I just love it. I have used their paper before – the grey wood grain on a grandfather clock makeover – and I just love the quality. And at 120 inches long, one roll took care of this entire project, plus leftovers. (PS: I am not getting paid, reimbursed, free products or anything like that. I really just love their products that much!) But guys, back to this paper, Birds and Branches. Love the color scheme and the pattern is pleasantly busy, keeping your eyes moving without being loud, in-your-face, look-at-me obnoxious. And I love seeing the little birds peeking through the cutouts, like an ornate birdcage. *Swoon*. I cut the paper to size, coated the cabinet with Mod Podge- one section at a time- and smoothed it on, moving from the top to the bottom. This paper is fairly sturdy, so it’s pretty forgiving if you need to pull it up and reposition it. If you smooth it down as you lay it on, you should be able to keep it from forming any air bubbles underneath. If air bubbles do seem to be forming, just prick it with the tip of a craft knife and smooth it back down. After it was pretty dry I added another coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper and allowed everything to dry completely. Now, at this point everything was looking pretty sweet, but it’s still needed something. So back to Michael’s I went- and I scored big-time.


These little laser-cut decorations for $0.59 each and I found these beautiful blue gem cut knobs for $1.50 apiece. I swear, everything was just coming together for this project! Love it when that happens!

I got home and spray-painted the wood decorations and the hinges gold with Rustoleum Metallics Bright Gold spray paint. After they were dry I glued them onto the doors and drill the hole through the center to install the knobs, then reattached the doors with the newly golden hinges. Ta-Dah!!


This cabinet came out so cool. It really doesn’t look anything like the $5 gun locker it started out as. I’m loving the cutouts on the cabinet doors with the pretty bird pattern peeking through. And it’s the best of both worlds, you get the privacy of doors on the cabinet, but you could still see peeks of pretty dishes. I think a colored-glass collection would be phenomenal in a cabinet like this one. And I like that the cabinet is interesting enough on its own, but with keeping the cabinet white it doesn’t compete with whatever pretties you put inside.










This cabinet is meant to be installed on a wall, which is why I didn’t add legs, but since I’m not planning on keeping it myself I didn’t want to put holes in the wall just to photograph it. If I was keeping it, I would also screw in hooks along the bottom to hang pretty mugs or baskets for odds and ends. I think that would look divine! What about you? Have you ever had a project that just came together on its own? What was it?

As always, have fun! Go nuts! Get messy! Amazing things can happen when you do! XO Caroline


P.S. Here are the fun parties I link to!