My First Makeunder: DIY Library Card Catalog

My First Makeunder: DIY Library Card Catalog

Y’all know I love me some spray paint…or any paint, for that matter. And usually when I work on a thrift store piece, it involves ADDING paint- but not this time. 


Video Tutorial


Full Tutorial: DIY Library Card Catalog

On one of my typical thrifting adventures, I found this mini chest of drawers. I didn’t really fancy the painted fruit “still life” that covered it, but I DID fancy the hypothesis that I could undo the paint job and make it more my style.

Small set of drawers at thrift store to get a makeunder by Sadie Seasongoods /

My victim…

And don’t you worry- it wasn’t a quality paint job. The original TJ Maxx pricetag was still on the bottom! So, no guilt whatsoever. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

After bringing it home, I set up shop in our garage- grabbing my orbital sander and coarse grit disks.

Removing paint from small set of drawers for DIY library card catalog makeunder by Sadie Seasongoods /

Let’s get this makeunder going!

I pried off the chintzy drawer pulls and side handles and began sanding. I started with the drawers and was pretty pleased at how easily the paint was removed.

Removing paint from small set of drawers for DIY library card catalog makeunder by Sadie Seasongoods /

Slowly but surely…

Removing paint from small set of drawers for DIY library card catalog makeunder by Sadie Seasongoods /

Progress being made!

I thought for SURE this would take me a couple of days to finish, but I zipped right along! Truthfully, though, I didn’t focus on the sides of the drawers, etc. Just the surfaces that would be visible when everything was closed.

Removing paint from small set of drawers for DIY library card catalog makeunder by Sadie Seasongoods /

Almost done!

After all was said and done, I had a smooth, naked piece to work with! The wood had a decent grain to it and the chest had dovetail joints! Now comes my favorite part of my makeunder – wood stain! I picked out a warm color and was anxious to see how it breathed life into the drawers.

Still-Life be gone!

Oh yeah…OH YEAHHH…isn’t that an improvement? And I’m not even done yet.

Stained set of drawers as part of my makeunder to create a DIY library card catalog by Sadie Seasongoods /

Holy cow!

Two coats of stain and one coat of satin topcoat later, it was ready for the pièces de résistance- small card catalog drawer pulls! I have a feeling my makeunder (re: DIY Library Card Catalog) is going to be amazing when I’m all done, but let’s get these on there first…

DIY library card catalog from a painted set of drawers from thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods /

Begin heavy breathing now…

Can. You. Handle. This? I mean…if I didn’t do all the work myself, I might be in disbelief. But I know for a fact that I danced around my garage on a Friday night, with my sander in one hand and a La Croix in the other, removing the paint. It’s just so…PERFECT. A little library card catalog, just for me.


But ok, ok- let’s finish off this makeunder. I put my drill away (from adding the finger pulls) and printed some mini labels to insert in each pull. NOW it’s done…ready to be filled with craft supply bee-bobs and doo-dads.


I finally have a library card catalog! I could never afford the Real McCoy so a thrifted makeunder was my best bet. And yes, you can bet your bottom dollar that if I see another set of mini drawers on the thrift store shelves, I’ll be doing this as often as I can!

And if you’re looking for more farmhouse inspiration, I hope you’ll check out my other farmhouse style projects here!

Craft on!


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PIN ME!How to upcycle a thrift store mini drawers set into a vintage inspired industrial style library card catalog for organization by Sadie Seasongoods /


  1. Fonda Rush says:

    Personally, I like those chintzy drawer pulls, but I really like what you’ve used in the final piece. I love boxes, especially boxes with drawers. I love this make under!

  2. Christina in FL says:

    Oh Sarah, this little cabinet is a stunning makeover! You really did this little cabinet a favor and made her beautiful. I know it was a lot of work. The new pulls with labels are perfect. 🙂 Thank you for all the details. She really does look authentically vintage. Enjoy and create on!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thank you so much, Christina! It was definitely one of those projects that *I* loved the makeunder, but I was worried that folks would be upset that I removed the grapes painting, LOL. You just never know…but I’m so glad you agree with me that it’s a huge improvement! 😀

  3. Oh wow how cute! You did a great job on the makeunder! I would love to have a mini card catalog, but their to expensive for me too. It looks so much better now, than with the fruit on it. What were they thinking! LOL

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Three words: Made in China. LOL- but I agree, why bother covering with a still life when there is such pretty wood grain underneath??

  4. Absolutely love your new old library drawers!! Great job.

  5. Kimberley A Mason says:

    Loved this! I will be on the look out for these myself!

  6. Turned out great!…I was surprised to see that there was real wood under there.

  7. Beautiful result…but I must admit I liked that still life way too much…

  8. Perfection!!! This is my new favorite project on your blog!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Ohhhh, thank you so much!!! For a second I thought you might say that you had donated this…cuz we both know that has happened before! 😉

  9. Absolutely love this!! Great work!

  10. OMG! Adorable! I’m on the lookout for something similar now!! Too cute.

  11. These drawers look amazing, fantastic make under!

  12. chris aka monkey says:

    oh yeaaa is right, this turned out awesome love it i am jealous xx

  13. Shay Moore says:

    Awesome job!

  14. WOW!! I love it. Great job, it is so much better like this. Wanna sell it? jk

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Hahaha, I thought about it!!! But actually, I’ve decided to give to a dear friend of mine who can use the mini drawers for her jewelry business!

  15. Wow, Sarah, this looks so good! What a great makeUNDER and gives this box such character. Love the new function you’ve assigned to it too. My craft/sewing room could use one of these.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thank you, Marie!! I wasn’t sure if I’d get pushback for removing the “painting” or not…but so far, so good (for the most part!) LOL

  16. Absolutely adore it!

  17. Love it!

  18. Kathy A. says:

    Your makeunder is gorgeous! If it was such a nice wooden box, why did they cover it up that way??? My problem is, being close to a hoarder, that I would fill those tiny drawers up TOO quickly with my bits and bobs! Glad you could see the “good bones” of the box–if I did it, it would probably be cardboard underneath! Awesome job and a great tutorial, too.

  19. christykjames says:

    Who knew that gorgeous piece was under that cheesy paintjob!! This looks amazing! XO

  20. Kaycee F says:

    Wow, wow, wowzers what a transformation! I can’t believe there was wood, and not mdf under that fruity mess. What a beautiful transformation!!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Exactly! I wouldn’t have been surprised had it been MDF…and would have tried this anyway. But it’s SO much better than I could have hoped. 😀

  21. I would have never guessed there could be dovetail drawers and nice wood graining underneath a TJ Maxx piece! Love how this turned out!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Right??? A TJ Maxx piece that became a Goodwill piece that became my card catalog- a long road but worth every mile!

  22. acraftymix says:

    Ah man Sarah that’s just adorable and brilliant. She looks perfect now

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thank you, Michelle! She’s no stacked suitcase dresser, but she’ll do for now. 😉 😉 😉

  23. Oh my gosh… as a librarian who also can’t afford an actual card catalog, I love this SO much. Will definitely be keeping an eye out for one! Beautiful job!

  24. N-I-c-e! I thought “Makeunder”? What in the world? Well, now I know! Bye-bye not so special still life and hello cute card catalog! Hm, I think I may have a little box that needs a makeunder!

  25. Oh my goodness Sarah, you uncovered some gorgeous wood, she is a beauty! You have a great eye I love your brilliant transformation!!

  26. Now, I know a new word: “makeunder”. I love what you did with this little chest. It looks like a great piece to use in a craft room.

  27. Wow. What an amazing makeover. You really took something that was pretty icky and turned it into something so spectacular. Great Job!

  28. I have a little 2 drawer wooden box I should totally do this to! It isn’t nice wood like this but, I think I could still pull off the look. I think 😉 Thank you so much for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday! Pinned & sharing

  29. This turned out beautiful, Sarah! I pinned it & will share on FB! 🙂

  30. helenfern says:

    That is so awesome – so much better than the original! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  31. This project is an OMG gorgeous project. I love it, love it, and ya, love it!!!

  32. houseonwinchester says:

    This is darling!!!

  33. Keep dancing Sarah because once again you nailed it! I have lots of doo-dads waiting on something like this. Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, and I hope your week is going great.

  34. Sarah yet another incredible makeover. You are so talented. Thank you so much for sharing!

  35. You already know how much I love these library card drawers! Now I’m happy to tell you that you’re featured this week at the This is How We Roll Link Party.

  36. eyeloveknots says:

    This is awesome! It looks like the perfect size to sit on a desk and hold all the most used goodies. Will be perfect for your friend to use in her jewelry making 🙂 Pinned for inspiration. I hope I come across one of these!

  37. Thank you so much for sharing this at the Farmhouse Friday link party! Pinned and shared! 🙂

  38. Sharon Warren says:

    This is so adorable! Who knew? Oh right, you did!
    I’ve looked and may have missed it, but where did you get the new label/drawer pulls. I need those!

  39. I want to go thrifting with you! What a great find! And your transformation? So awesome!! Enjoy all that extra storage ! 😀

  40. I love this Sarah! I would love to have this in my home. I’ll be featuring your beautiful card catalogue at this week’s link party. xx

  41. I’m clapping my hands, cause I’m happy and I know it!!! Sooooo doing this! Thanks a bunch!

  42. loriratzke2015 says:

    That is one awesome makeunder!! I love it!! I think your blog is my new obsession!! You are very talented!!

  43. Just amazing. I so enjoy all of your makeovers.

  44. Wow! What a transformation!

  45. Michelle says:


  46. I have this exact same jewelry box, I always thought it slightly cheesy, but it was my Mom’s so I have kept it and used it for my jewelry. Being a furniture up-cycler it is funny that I happened across your pin! I love the idea of the card catalogue and will have to try it :). Better than the painted fruit.

  47. Holy Cow is right!!! I’ve seen that same piece in the thrift store and I’m jumping on it next time! That is an amazing make-under and I love it so much!!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Do it! There’s a gem waiting under that paint…mine had the original TJ Maxx pricetag on the very bottom so they were definitely mass produced!

  48. I would have never seen the finished project if I had looked at those drawers in a thrift store… Thank you for opening my eyes and seeing the possibilities.

  49. Patty Soriano says:

    Love this and gotta have one! So, where do we get those little pulls on the front for the labels ? Hobby Lobby ?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      No, I really don’t shop at Hobby Lobby, actually- I included a link to in my posts to the exact pulls I used! 🙂

  50. MaryElizabeth says:

    Have the same piece. I am going to try this

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      That’s awesome! Did you get it at TJ Maxx? The one I found at Goodwill had a TJ Maxx pricetag on the bottom.

  51. Anita Montgomery says:

    OMG I absolutely love this, may I ask where you got the card catalog drawer pulls, they are past perfect! You are so creative, great work! 🙂

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thank you, Anita! See the bold blue text when I discuss them? That’s an affiliate link to the exact ones I used so that you can buy them, too. I link to as many products as I can- look for those bold blue links (sometimes underlined, sometimes not).


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