glass case: rescue & repurpose

This will be the first installment of a regular feature here at tidbits & scraps.  We hope to show you some of our best dumpster dives, salvage scores & thrift store transformations. We will include, if possible, where we acquired the item, how much we paid for it, & what we did with it.

We are going to start with this beauty…

found: on the curb side on garbage day

cost: free, dust included

This case intrigued us.  What was it before it was “trash?” Google?  A little help, please.  It was a cabinet built especially for a chemist’s scale.  These scales are very sensitive & fragile & should be kept out of any breeze or external interference.  Some had drawers to store the weights while others, like this one, did not.  Here is an example from Pinterest in all its original glory.

Are you are ready for our plan?  Most people these days have little need to store a chemist’s scale, but what about that treasured collection of small, meaningful, fragile items?  We all have one of those.  Mine is elephants.  What’s yours?  We would love to know.  It was decided…a small curio cabinet.  Once we decided on the new purpose, we had a few decisions to make.

product-image-oil-based-gel-stain-brown-mahogany-2014-general-finishesPaint or stain?  We cut through dust & provided a gentle sanding & found beautiful wood with a warm grain.  We decided to intensify these natural features with a light stain.  We chose a General Finishes Gel Stain, purchased at our local woman-owned paint store, The Purple Painted Lady.  At $16.95, a pint will do several small projects.  We applied the stain & wiped the residual off right away to keep it as natural as possible.



Next question: add a shelf? The display space measures about 11.5 inches high.  I do not have any pieces in my collection that are taller than 6 inches.  What about your collection?  For my elephants, this cabinet needed a shelf.

The shelf: wood or glass? Although wood would match the frame of the case, we chose to make the shelf glass to allow the light to play around with the elephants.  We decided to make it just above half way to accommodate a few larger pieces on the bottom.  After drilling 4 small holes in the frame & inserting 4 short pieces of stained dowel, we had a piece of glass cut to fit, & voilà, a shelf.

The last detail is one that was not necessary as much as aesthetic.  The most recent piece in my collection is the long coveted Swarovski baby elephant.  We simply could not let this little guy go unlit.


Hence, the addition of a small led light in the top of the case.  The lighting system itself was removed from a bar light during a recent salvage job at ReHouse.  Honestly, this part (actually the whole project) was all David.

He attached the lighting to the inside top of the case & ran the wires down the rear leg so that it can be plugged in with a standard adapter.

The end result is a piece I will treasure for ever.

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