Antique Card Catalog Makeover

Antique Card Catalog Makeover.

If you are anywhere near my generation, you might remember those old card catalog files in the school and public libraries.

They were these massive cabinets with a zillion drawers that numbered and alphabetized and catalogued all of the books in the library.

As I recall, we even had lessons from the librarian on how to use them to find the books we wanted (or needed) to read or use for research BC (before computers)!

Isn’t it hard to imagine a world without computers and smart phones?  Yet – many of us have lived in such a time – and amazingly survived!

My Dad and I were talking recently about “the good ole’ days.”  We refer to them often as “good,” but there are really things that are made so much better today by computers and smartphones and technology.  Unfortunately, every good and upside thing often has bad and downside typically because of abuse and overuse and addiction…..  but then… that could be a whole different topic for another day.

But – oh – back to this glorious card catalog!   Hubby actually found this beaut at a yard sale we were passing this past summer!

I recall we were driving to dinner, when he took a back road to drive by a sale he had noticed signs for, but didn’t mention to me.  We drove by, and I didn’t really notice anything (likely had my nose in my phone – GAW!).  Then Hubby hit the brakes and backed up.  I asked what happened.

He said, “You’ll see!”

We pulled into the driveway of the yard sale, and there it was…  in all of it’s gloriousness in the middle of the yard!   An antique card catalog unit!

Here is what it looked like.

Does it bring back memories?  Can you smell the wood and the little index cards?

We ended up finding out that the yard sale homeowner had just retired as a shop teacher from a school district I attended and graduated from.  When the library was getting rid of these card catalogues, they apparently threw them in the dumpsters!  Thankfully, this guy rescued one and used it for years in his shop classroom storing saw blades and nails and screws and other supplies.    Upon retirement, he decided to sell it, and I became the lucky new owner!

Hubby knew I’d been searching for one, and we thought this was a steal at $100.  It also carries sentimental value being from my school.

It sat in the garage and basement for months before I finally got around to chalk painting it.

But I finally did a few weeks ago, and I love how it turned out.

The drawers were a bit tedious (hence my procastination!), but oh so worth it in the end!

I had no idea where I was going to put it.  Hubby had his mind made up it was going in my art room to store supplies.  A GREAT idea – don’t get me wrong!  It could definitely serve a worthy purpose there, but guests rarely go to that room, and I kinda wanted to show this beauty off.

I tried it in several spots in the living room and dining room, but it really didn’t work.  It is pretty big, and our first floor is pretty full given that our back wall is all glass and fireplace and one other whole wall is built in bookshelves.

So, up to the art room it went.  And it really is right at home there!  I can’t wait to fill it with supplies, but I also couldn’t wait to share.

At the Annie Sloan chalk paint store near me (the Backdoor Furnishings), they had these adorable knobs that I knew would be perfect, and I do love them.

I used Annie Sloan Old Ochre paint and clear wax to do this project (along with lots of sand paper).

I’m looking forward to filling it up and enjoying it in my special place!

And now on to some more projects.  (Hint – one is a beautiful dressing table from 1935 that was a wedding gift to my cousin Rob’s mom that I am going to paint up for my granddaughters’ bedroom at our house.)

What projects are you working on?

Cheers & Hugs,

57 thoughts on “Antique Card Catalog Makeover

  1. Jodi, whether you believe it or not, my very first thought when I saw this ancient beauty of a library card cabinet was that you would use it for your art supplies. New digital technology has indeed a dark side, but that is true for all man made things past present and future. A knife is a great tool, but can also be used to kill someone. We cannot reject a useful thing, just because some irresponsible people may abuse it. Have a great wonderful day, Jodi!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous job! What a beautiful piece of nostalgia! If you ever decide to sell it, you know where to find me! I’ll be starting a cabinet project with chalk paint. I’m a little daunted right now but I’ll try it in a small area first.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it. Want one for my sewing notions. I have just ordered lots of Annie Sloan chalk paint and waxes as I have a tonne of furniture to restore left by previous owners of the properties we have bought. Can’t wait.


  4. Oh, this does bring back memories for me!! ❤️ What a find! 🙌
    I think this would be FAB in an art room… And I can smell the wood!! ☺️ I imagine this was a labor of love. I love to find treasures like this, don’t go into my basement as I have too many “finds” that I hope to do something with some day… sigh! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love how you found a new use for an old card catalogue file! (And yes, I loved those things when they were used in real libraries, and miss them to this day. A computer screen may be more efficient, but it is not nearly as much fun to use…) Great job, Jodi!


  6. Oh my gosh, this is so very cool!! You are amazing how you transformed it, just having the thought of doing it. I would have seen it and thought oh that would be cool to have but what on earth would I do with it! LOL! Awesome too that it was from your very own school. Great job on it and kudos to your hubby for seeing it and stopping! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Creative Inspiration in Food, Watercolor, Photography, Writing and Life in Between.

  8. Pingback: Antique Card Catalog Makeover — the creative life in between – Rexton digital

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