My Pretty Little DIY Card Catalog

My second favorite place to go to has always been the library (you know thrift stores are #1…..). I was a book worm. I guess while there I developed this affection for card catalogs. All those drawers and little cubbies….Once cleaned out, they’re the perfect place to hide your crafting trinkets and supplies…..


So imagine my luck when I was walking through the thrift store on a–no kidding you–50% off day and saw this amazingly beautiful piece sitting there, pristine! I felt like I had just struck gold!!
The “before” wasn’t totally ugly (it was in perfect condition!). A friend of mine had even suggested I keep it “as is.” Um…..why would I do that??
I wanted a pretty little card catalog!! And to create that, I was going to have to make some changes.



DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving 2


DIY Card Catalog from Thrift Diving
 New paint……and card catalog handles like these….and I would finally have my crafting card catalog that I have been drooling for!
I picked up these card catalog handles on eBay for a mere $7.00, plus $5.00 shipping. They were perfect for turning this into a card catalog.
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 1
I didn’t care for the brassy color, so I spray painted them with Black Rust-Oleum “Hammered” Paint & Primer in One, about $8.00.
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 3
I wasn’t too impressed with the Hammered look, but sometimes you just accept it and move on!
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 8
The little itty-bitty knobs needed to come off. It was pretty simple to remove them.
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 5
But to get the new card catalog handles to fit, I had to drill new holes. The existing hole didn’t match up.
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 9
DIY Card Catalog
 After drilling holes for the card catalog pulls, I was left with the big original hole in the center.
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving -10
Whenever you have a little hole that needs filled up and covered, wood filler is the perfect solution. Just put a clump of it on, let it dry, and then sand it smooth so it’s even with the surface.

The Truth About Chalk Paint

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – Pure White. It was my first time using chalk paint and I really didn’t know what to expect. One lesson I learned is that with chalk paint, the longer it sits out, the more it thickens up. And when it thickens up, you see more of the brush strokes, which sometimes is the look you’re going for.
I thought it would dry really gunky, too, but it didn’t.
If you’re getting this texture, just add a little bit of water to the paint to thin it up again. And if you get lots of unintended texture, you can smooth it out with Fine sandpaper.
DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 7
Once I was done, it looked amazing!

DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving - 11





DIY Card catalog from Thrift Diving_AFTER
For just under $50, I totally got what I wanted: a card catalog! 🙂
  • $18.00 card catalog from my favorite thrift store
  • $12.00 card catalog handles via eBay
  • $8.00 hammered spray paint for handles
  • $3.00 screws
  • Annie Sloan paint (already owned, but if I had to price it, I would say I used about $5 worth of  the paint)
GRAND TOTAL = about $46.

My Thrifted Craft Room

I still haven’t added labels to them (I’m awful), but I’ve use the card catalog in my thrifted craft room!

Vintage Drafting Table

Now I’ve got it in my pretty little basement home office!
Thrifty Basement and Home Office Makeover Thrift Diving Blog2681
Thrifty Basement and Home Office Makeover Thrift Diving Blog2706
I love this piece so much. It fits in well with my DIY craft room 🙂
So what do you think?! 🙂 Are you obsessed with card catalogs, too?




About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (29)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Carole says:

    I love this! I don’t know if I would have painted the whole thing…maybe left the top and sides original wood and just paint the drawers….in any case I came out awesome! I’d be over the moon if i found a piece like this.!

  2. LuAnn Summers says:

    This is amazing. You are an inspiration for us all.

  3. Julie Hockley says:

    Hi, did you sand the piece before you painted, or notice as it was in such good condition?

  4. Tara E says:

    so pretty! WANT!!

  5. becky pries says:

    I love it. I have one that my hubby added wheels to. He won’t paint it for me and I can’t paint for the life of me

    • ALICE A. CRAWFORD says:

      Now honestly, how many times have you tried? That defeatist attitude will literally get you no where.

      • Alice, some people just need a boost in confidence! 🙂 That’s what I’m finding–is that people tell themselves they aren’t very good or WON’T be very good, but it’s really their fear of not succeeding (or having had a previous bad experience) that stops them. I hope that Becky will be willing to give it another try! 🙂

  6. DIANA DEJANE says:

    this is absolutely gorgeous! Honestly I like both ways!

  7. I love it!! OMG – our husbands must be brothers! I want to paint and he hates it – loves the “beauty” of the natural wood………..blah, blah, blah…:)

    • Hey Kelli! Seriously, I think this is ALL men!! Maybe they still have something in their genes from centuries and centuries ago when they had to go to the forest to cut the wood with their homemade axes, and then make furniture from hand to decorate their caves. HA! They can’t see “ruining” that wood, even after all these years. HAHHAAH

  8. Very cool! I have to admit that I kinda like the original just fine, though. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for a piece like that!

    — Laura @ Frugal Follies

  9. Kathy says:

    I LOVE the card catalog!! And the drawer pulls. I LOVE the hammered spray paints and have used them alot – they hide alot of imperfections. I usually do at least 2 coats, though – then you won;t get the speckles you didn’t like.

    Love the look of your room!! Its great!!

  10. Beatnik Barn says:

    Love this! Such a unique piece!

  11. Wendy says:

    I wish I would find pieces like that for such a great price! You did a beautiful job!

  12. Mandy says:

    Hi Serena! I love your card catalog and your desk!!! Beautiful!!! If you’d like to share them at a party I have going on at Project Queen, I would love it!
    Thanks for stopping by Project Queen today!

  13. Lolly Jane says:

    PS: Tried to email you back but you are a no-reply blogger… 🙁


  14. Lolly Jane says:

    For real! Steal of a deal girlfriend!!! Love it!!! 🙂

  15. This is the coolest!! I want one!
    Thank you so very much for sharing this at the “Cowgirl Up!” linky party. I appreciate your participation.

  16. Serena says:

    Deny, seriously, if you can find something like this, you’ll love it! I mean, a place to organize all your crafting stuff!! I am tired of shoving stuff in boxes.

    Krisen, thankfully, yes!! Annie Sloan is great for coverage if you use 2 coats on a non-sanded surface. But that first coat is a bit yucky, like thick primer. It does dry nice and smooth, though.

  17. Kristen says:

    In the end did the Annie Sloan paint work out to your satisfaction? I t looks fab in the photos!

  18. Deny says:

    How awesome is that! I think I need something like that for my office, to keep all my stuff (crap) organized! Great job!

Leave a Reply

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

Sign up to my newsletter!