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Recycle An Old Wood Drawer

There are all kinds of ways to recycle an old wood drawer. You can go all out with the DIY or you can make a simple tabletop tray with sisal rope handles like I did.

Add Inexpensive Sisal Rope Handles To Anything

Recycle An Old Wood Drawer

Now some of you would ask why I didn’t paint the drawer. That would have been super easy but it would have taken away the character.

Recycle An Old Wood Drawer

The drawer has been hanging out in our shed (not the workshop) for as long as I can remember. It may have even been in the shed when we purchased our house in 1988.

I’ve been storing wood spindles, bits and pieces of reclaimed wood, odds and ends, etc. I emptied all that stuff into a cardboard box and started working on the wood drawer.

sanding chippy paint Petticoat Junktion

The chippy paint was nice so I just sanded it to remove the loose paint. I think this drawer is pretty darn old and it’s obviously been painted more than once. It’s heavy and solid. I bet it was a kitchen cabinet drawer in a past life. 

cleaning paint with Simple Green Petticoat Junktion

After I removed the loose paint I cleaned the drawer with Simple Green. It was really grungy.

Recycle An Old Wood Drawer Petticoat Junktion

One end of the wood had holes where there was a drawer handle in the past. I drilled those holes a little  larger then drilled two holes in the opposite end of the drawer.

sisal rope handles Petticoat Junktion

T0 make the sisal rope handles I pulled the rope through the hole from the inside of the drawer and knotted it. Then I decided how long I wanted the handle to be and I knotted the rope before I pulled it through the second hole.

recycle an old drawer

Last thing to do is knot both sides of the rope from the inside of the drawer. I left the ends of the rope long so they were easy to knot. Then I cut off the excess rope.

The sisal rope was left over from my seashell basket project. I also used the rope to make handles for a nautical style chest

Annie Sloan Wax Petticoat Junktion project

The last detail for the project was wax which keeps the rest of that paint from chipping off and also adds a little patina. I used Annie Sloan clear wax because that’s what I had on hand. I like Howard’s wax too and it’s a lot cheaper.

recycle an old drawer

I added magazines and my latest turquoise find to the tray and set it on the coffee table which is actually a World War II footlocker on wheels. I prefer using unconventional things as coffee tables. They have more character and make great conversation pieces.

wood tray with sisal rope handles Petticoat Junktion

The inside of the drawer was only half painted and I almost painted the whole inside of the drawer. I was afraid the new paint would take away from the character of the wood drawer….so no new paint.

wood tray with sisal rope handles Petticoat Junktion diy project

Check out another of my recycled old drawers (ha) here…..Hang Onto Your Drawers | Thrift Store Decor

This was a really simple project. I see small drawers and trays at thrift stores all the time. They would be prime candidates for a similar project. Are you working on any projects? You should be.

recycle an old drawer

Thank you for the lovely comments on the black sewing machine cabinet. You guys are the best. As always thanks for being here, Kathy

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. Kathy, you are a ray of sunshine in these troubling times. When l read “You should be” after you asked “Are you working on projects” l was caught unawares and chuckled out loud. And to answer your question…yes, I’m blessed to have many vintage projects that I’ve been working on since complying with the “stay at home” order.
    Great instructions for rope handles, thanks.
    Stay safe.

  2. I really like this look. I love using old drawers for all kinds of things too! They make great storage for any room in the house. I also love using them for my plants. I really like how you add the sisal rope handles!

  3. This would look awesome on my coffee table! Great project!

    Thanks so much for sharing your creativity at the The DIY Collective this week! Please come back next week to show off your latest project!

    Have an awesome week!
    ~ Ashley

  4. Cathy, what do you recommend before painting a round dining table that has been in a smoker’s home? Trying to remove the sticky.

  5. This is great looking and super easy! The best of both ideas! I have several I’m going to work on now for a beachy look..thanks Kathy!