Upcycled Chest of Drawers Map Cabinet
Posted By
Larissa Haynes
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Materials Needed: 
  • Super Finish Max Extra with Blue Tip
  • Medium Spray Shelter
  • Small chest of drawers
  • Paint of choice
  • Sander/sandpaper
  • Wood filler, if needed
  • Hardware of choice
  • Hairpin legs (optional)
  • Furniture turn table (optional - see post for details)
  • Circular saw/table saw
  • Rip cut jig (if using circular saw)
  • Pocket hole jig (if adding legs)
  • Scrap wood

Project Steps


Do you have a boring chest of drawers that needs updated? Turn it into a vintage style map cabinet! It's easy to do with the right tools and DIY steps. I'm excited to show you what I did with this oldie, but goodie. 

Step 1

Grab Your Old Furniture 

My sons have had this small chest of drawers tucked in their closet for the last few years. I felt it was high time to vindicate this little guy and give it a whole new life.

My vision was to turn it into a vintage style map cabinet with hairpin legs and apothecary bin pulls. We can do it, right?! The chest has much wear and is made of wood, but only pine. You can also watch my full video tutorial here on YouTube or at the bottom of this post.

Step 2

Prep the Bottom

As with any DIY project, the right tools can make a job so much easier. To get started, I removed the drawers and drawer hardware (saving those for later!) and got the base ready to accept the hairpin legs I will be adding. First, I cut two pieces of scrap 1" x 4" wood slats that would span across the bottom of my chest of drawers. In order to attach them, I use my drill and pocket hole jig to add pocket holes to each side. Then, I attach as shown. See the pocket hole joints?

Since I'm going to be spray painting, I save adding the legs until later.

Step 3

Add Faux Drawer Marks

Next, the drawers are going to get a few shallow cuts added to them lengthwise. As a result, this will give a faux effect of having many drawers, like a map cabinet, instead of only the five that are actually there.

To do that you can either run the drawers over your table saw set at a shallow depth, or use a circular saw and rip cut guide as well. My video shows a great demonstration of the process. There's no exact science to the spacing. I divided my drawers into halves or thirds depending on the drawer face dimensions.

Step 4

Fill Holes and Repair

Since we are going to be adding apothecary label pulls to help create the vintage map cabinet feel, we need to fill in the old hardware holes with wood filler. Also, check the rest of the chest of drawers for other damaged spot or holes and fill them in as well. Let the wood filler cure.

Step 5

Sand and Clean

Next, it's time to sand all the wood filler down and all the rough edges so we can have it ready for the fun part...PAINT! I typically use a 150 grit paper on my sander to get the wood filler knocked down as well as give the chest of drawers tooth (something to the paint to stick to). When you are done sanding, wipe the surfaces all down with a lightly dampened cloth.

Step 6

Grab Sprayer and Shelter

Time to bring out some of my favorite HomeRight tools - the Medium Spray Shelter and Super Finish Max Extra Paint Sprayer (you can also use the classic Finish Max). The shelter pops up in seconds and is ready to work. For added benefit, I created this DIY turn table tutorial to make the work even easier.

Step 7

Paint the Furniture

Set up your Super Finish Max Extra paint sprayer with the blue tip and black nozzle. This will give the appropriate finish for a piece of furniture like this. (You can view my other video of how to set it up HERE.) Fill the canister with your paint of choice - I used a basic latex paint thinned per manufacturer instructions. You can adust and practice your flow adjustment on scrap wood or a piece of cardboard. When you are ready to paint, begin spraying off the project, continue over it, and passing off of it. This will allow for smooth, even coverage.

Also, be sure to move with your shoulder and elbow, not your wrist, and keep your spraying distance about 12" from your project.

Step 8

Spray 2 Coats and Clean Sprayer

Now the first coat of paint is done. Yay! Let it cure for about 2 hours and add a second coat, if desired. Be sure to take a minute to clean your sprayer.

Simply put the storage lid on your canister to save your paint for later, and then take apart the sprayer nozzle and tip to flush it out. It only take a few minutes and will keep your sprayer in top notch condition. Typically, you don't want to leave the paint in the sprayer body for more than 20 minutes to prevent caking of paint.

Step 9

Enjoy the New Piece of Furniture! 

Finally, once your paint has cured, you can add your hardware and hairpin legs. So fun! In addition, I painted the drawers in a contrasting color and lined them with fun paper.

You can see this project and more on my blog at Prodigal Pieces. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. I hope you've enjoyed this upcycled chest of drawers makeover and are inspired to try one of your own. Until next time!

How to Remodel an Old Cabinet with Hairpin Legs Using a Paint Sprayer and Spray Shelter

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