Furniture Makeover Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,130 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,150 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …

For this week’s Make It Easy/Furniture Makeover Expert Level Merit Badge, I combined my love of daydreaming about furniture upcycling and my love for taking things apart and putting them back together again. And I had just the project in mind …

You see, at one end of my block, there was a yard sale happening.

And at the other end of my block, there was a preschool opening.

You see where I’m going with this?


You obviously don’t waste spend as much time on Pinterest as I do, reimagining my life as a DIY Queen of Recycled and Homemade Furniture.

photo by Jimmyjazz via Wikimedia Commons


Don’t worry about it, chickadees, I’m here to clue you in. My plan was to …

… buy the dreadful and clunky looking old entertainment center from the yard sale, then spend a couple weekends transforming the old girl into a dress-up cabinet for the preschool. Part Three was to check myself into DIY Anonymous Rehab, but we don’t need to dwell on that part.

The entertainment center was bought for a song, literally. No one had bought it at the end of the day and the owners were so distressed over having to haul it back into their living room that they let me have it for free, with nary a backwards glance. Mr. Wonderful and I nearly got ran over trying to get it across the street, but we made it unscathed.

I washed it thoroughly and made sure there were no sticking-out pieces that could impale any small children, or brackets or hinges that could be potentially swallowed by a mischievous whippersnapper. I was on a roll with my whole free streak, and didn’t really want to ruin it by spending a bunch of dough now, so I scoured my attic for things I could use to spruce up my find.

I found several cans of paint (non-toxic as possible of course) that were less than 1/4  full from other projects, and while I usually like to matchy-match things in my life (like my fuzzy slippers to my pjs, or my cup to my saucer), I figured as many colors as I could use would actually be perfect for the bright, cheery look I was going for. Each section got a different hue.

I also had plenty of fabric to choose from, and I installed a small tension rod in one of the open cabinets and used my fabric to make a jaunty little curtain that could be pulled aside for the children to access whatever treasure they wanted to hide behind. Or themselves … it was a large-ish cabinet. Perfect for a Hide-and-Seek hiding spot really!

I replaced the ugly old knobs with some beautiful faux crystal ones that I found in my toolbox (the kids were gonna love the look of those, I just knew it), and then I used a roll of contact paper to line the drawers so they were pretty even when empty.

I wasn’t done yet! What was a dress-up cabinet without dress-up clothes? The neighborhood thrift shop was having a $2 a bag sale, so off I went to stuff as many fedoras, aprons, cowboy boots, tutus, scarves, gloves, fluffy dresses, and costume jewelry as I possibly could into a sack. Grand total for this amazing gem of a cabinet thus far? $4.

I washed all my finds, made sure all the paint was dry on the cabinet, installed a mirror in the back of one of the cupboards, and off Mr. Wonderful and I went to deliver our new beauty.

I think I can safely say I am officially the most popular gal on the block. (I have it on good authority from a 5-year-old boy in a 10-gallon hat, and a 3-year-old girl with a feather boa.)


As for Part Three of my plan? Nah. I don’t need rehab.

I can quit DIY-ing anytime I want to …

I just don’t want to.

Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am always in awe at how people can “see” a new life for old tired furniture. Absolutely don’t go into Rehab! The planet needs more people like you to help refurnish homes and save landfills from waste. There is some show on HGTV that I have seen where they take teams, give them $500 to purchase at tag sales and then sell their wares for a $3000 prize. The clever and useful ideas these teams have to transform outdated stuff is incredible. I am so missing that ability to “see” a new plan and use for old stuff.

  2. Jona says:

    I am a preschool teacher and would love to have a neighbor like you.. I’d like to see the after photo of your fabulous creation or should I say re-creation. Thank you for your ability to bring such joy into the world.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *