Refurbished Printer Drawer

How To Varnish and Refurbish A Printer Drawer

I’m having so much fun cleaning and painting this old letterpress printer drawer! Sort of makes me feel old now that printshops are getting rid of them as technology has moved beyond a need for as many of them. I’m seeing them for sale all over the place … But that’s great for me! Cause it looks adorable on my studio wall 🙂

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Refurbished Printer Drawer Steps

(I did a blog post on cleaning and prepping for painting here.)

Here’s a sneak peek at the finished product…

How to Clean a Printer tray
Printer Drawer hanging in my home office.

Now that it’s all clean, it’s time to start the fun part. Let’s get painting!

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Supplies I Used:

  • Varathane Gel Stain – Dark Walnut
  • Dry brush 1″ size
  • Paint: Anne Sloan old white
  • Cotton Rag (I used cotton and made sure it was clean)
  • Vintage Style Handle (I used a new one from Hobby Lobby)

Here’s how I varnished the printer drawer

I used a 1-inch dry brush and simply brushed on the gel varnish in all the little nooks and crannies.

Make sure you only use a small amount, brushing it into the wood and smoothing it out. I barely used much and also used this can for a couple other projects and it’s only a 1/4 of the way gone!

can of stain on top of a drawer with slots

I mostly went along the grain. In some smaller spots that were difficult to reach I just dug in there – Either way, make sure the varnish is smooth. Do a few sections at a time before going back and wiping off the extra gel varnish. That lets the varnish set in a little bit before removing the excess and be sure to work it in to make it look smooth.

I then wiped it smooth with the rag removing any extra varnish and touching up any spots I missed.

It wasn’t a big project but it took a little extra time to get all those little sections. The smell of this varnish wasn’t too bad so I worked on it while watching TV in the evenings. It probably took me a few hours total. I let this dry for a few days then tackled the painting.

Painting my Vintage Printer Drawer

Printer Tray Annie Sloan Brush
Printer Drawer with Annie Sloan Paint

I love chalk painting!! Mostly cause chalk painting steps are always the same 3 or 4 simple steps with great results …

Chalk Paint Simple Steps

  1. Clean piece with a damp rag and let dry
  2. Chalk paint 2 coats (first coat usually always looks awful, but keep going!)
  3. {*optional step} Distress (I sanded some spots for a distressed look)
  4. Seal with a chalk paint wax (I used a little Annie Sloan dark and some of her clear wax to get that old look)
Printer Tray
Painting the Printer Drawer in my Kitchen

Wha-laaaa! All Done. Add the hardware and hang that puppy up. I actually used one nail and then hot glued it since I was simply for decoration. I added some old printing dies I got with it and my old logo embossing.

For the handle, I actually used one nail and then hot glued it since I was simply for decoration. I didn’t want the nail to show on the inside, this seemed to be the fasted solution.

Now to decorate this little gem!

printer tray opened with stamp in

I added some old printing dies I got with it and my old logo embossing die I had for some decor. For a creative feel, I added some rubber stamps I use on a regular basis when crafting.

To finish off the decorating part, I added some metal words I picked up at a garage sale years ago. I thought about cutting some paper and adding some splashes of color to the back for a couple of squares. I might add a few flowers in the squares it too. (Mostly cause I have umpteen-million of them in jars in my studio.

Printer Drawer Finished
Printer Drawer Finished

Happy Crafting!

We Can Make That!
How to Clean a Printer tray
How to Clean a Printer tray










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    1. I used 2 “D-Ring Picture Hangers with Screws” on each side on the top. It was easy to add it and simple to hang.

  1. Did you varnish your printer drawer over the old ink or did you clean off the ink before you varnished?