I think old army lockers are one of those pieces that have so much potential. You can add wheels to it and make it a rolling coffee table. Upholster the top of it to make an ottoman with storage. This old army locker of my father-in-law’s was destined to be a toy box for my daughter.
By the time I got my hands on this one, it was a mixture of yellow and black. It still had some glue stuck to it from when it sported paisley fabric during my father-in-law’s hippie stage. I sanded it down and scraped off the remaining glue, then gave it a coat of primer.
This toy box was going to be the one used at my in-laws' house. I wanted it to fit in nicely with my mother-in-law’s décor, so I went for a coat of light mint green for the base of the locker. I applied the primer and paint with my paint sprayer. You can just brush and roll it as well; I just prefer the finer finish that the paint sprayer gives.
I added a little “L” to the bottom corner of the locker to add a bit more personalization. You can freehand it, or if you are like me and have terrible handwriting skills in general (needless to say, it multiplies when you are painting), you can create a stencil. I did it with my Silhouette cutting machine, but you can also print out the letter, trace it, then fill it in.
Once all the paint was dry, I went over the piece again with a topcoat of Minwax Polycrylic.
I thought it would be fun to let this piece pull double-duty as a toy box and a drawing center. I gave the top a few coats of chalkboard paint. You want to make sure you paint the chalkboard on last—you do not want to put a protective topcoat over it. That just makes it black paint rather than a chalkboard.
The kid has a fun little play space at her grandparents' now.
Do you have an army locker lying around at home? What can you do with it?
Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk décor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org; or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.