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Mini Dresser Vintage Camera Project

Vintage Camera Bureau by Cheltenham RoadRecently a blogger, describing a project that was giving her some difficulty, used the phrase “I enjoy a good challenge.”

That sounded good – character building even – encountering problems and through patience and skill rising above them.

And I suddenly realized something.

I do not, in fact, “enjoy a good challenge.”

No, I prefer to get an idea, know exactly how to do it, execute it quickly and then sit back, eat ice cream and bask in my own cleverness.

(The fact that this never happens is completely beside the point.  It also does not stop me from eating ice cream.)

So, a while ago my sister sent me a picture of a dresser made up to look like an old camera and I was intrigued.

I know what you’re thinking, “old cameras?! David! We never saw this coming! Who knew you liked old cameras?! You have so many layers! You’re just an endlessly mysterious onion of a person”

Any you are correct but you really might have had a just few hints…Vintage Camera CollectionRecycle Pallet Wood Display Shelf Cheltenham Road TutorialVintage Camera Coaster Setvintage camera print gallery wal Cheltenham Roadl

Anyway, the creator of the awesome bureau is very talented (you really should check out her blog) and quite an artist.  She hand-painted the camera graphic which is super cool.

But sounds kinda challenging.

So I had to figure out the easy, cheaty way to make my own version.

I wasn’t totally sure my plan would work so I was pretty happy when I found that Michaels sells little, tiny “starter bureaus.”  Perfect!

I grabbed a vintage camera and got to work.Vintage Camera Dresser Project Cheltenham RoadI snapped a high resolution picture of my camera, resized it to the dimensions of the bureau and printed it out.

I then I cut the little knobs off the bureau.

(I also then lost the little knobs and later had to dig through the trash to find them.  Challenging!)

The only problem was that the drawers had spacers between them and if i just painted them black it would break up the camera graphic too much. So I tried it this way:

I removed the drawers, ran a bead of Mod Podge around all the edges and adhered the photo in place.Michaels mini-burea made into a vintage cameraOnce it had really dried I carefully ran my knife around all the openings so that I had sections that were the size of the drawers. DIY Make a Jewelry Box look like a vintage cameraThen I mod podged those sections into place on the drawer fronts and trimmed away any excess.

Once it was dry I sealed it with more Mod Podge.

After recovering the wayward knobs (and feeling my character build in the process) I “painted” them with a sharpie and stuck them on with some E-6000 glue.

I also painted the sides and back of the bureau black and gave it a light sanding for a slightly distressed look.Little vintage dresser camera projectAnd there you have it.  Not too challenging.  My character remains relatively shallow and I feel that ice-cream is within my grasp!

Bonus:  I have a tiny, little dresser that looks like a camera!Michaels Store Craft - Mini Dresser Vintage Camera Project by Cheltenham Road

So, since that worked now the quest is on for a real-sized piece of furniture to work on.  I don’t know that I want an entire dresser (I also don’t need a new dresser) but perhaps I could replace my sofa end tables?  That would look kinda cool I think.

UPDATE:  I’ve been asked if I could include my picture of the Brownie so that others can make this project.  If you right click on the link below it should give you a high resolution PDF of the front of the camera.  Brownie Camera Graphic


About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

28 responses »

  1. chris aka monkey

    that is cute as all get out, i love brownies and have just one that was a gift, and i can’t wait to see end tables xx

  2. How can I be only the 2nd commenter?! David this is so FREAKIN cute, I can’t stand it. You SO have earned the ice cream.
    P.S. Yes, you are an onion.

  3. I love this so much!!!. You think adorable. I hope you take that as a compliment.:-).

  4. I love your tiny dresser but I really read your blog because you never fail to make me laugh! Thanks!

  5. End tables would be great.

  6. Love it!!!

    You know that treadle sewing machine project you gave me a fabulous idea for–it’s still sitting in my garage. Untouched. Come take it off my hands. I admit I have failed on my attempt to “enjoy a good challenge.”


  7. I now want an entire house full of tiny camera furniture (real-sized furniture would be too much of a commitment!). Pinning now and then I’m off to find a tiny dresser to see what I can do with it.

    • I too am kind of picturing a whole line of furniture that looks like other things. Although it mind end up making me feel like I was a Borrower (books I read as a child about tiny people who lived under the floorboards of a house and used things like thimbles for buckets)

  8. Lol,BFF

    Sent from my iPad

  9. Was that just a happy accident that the knobs ended up in exactly the right spots or did you plan it?

  10. ADORABLE! And another future best-seller…

  11. Isn’t that just the cutest thing! I challenge you to actually paint one… a side table? It would be fabulous. (And I agree with Lyn above, how did those knobs just work out like that?)

  12. Well!! That is just about the most clever thing ever!! Good for you! I love it!

  13. This is awesome! I love vintage cameras (hence my Brownie Ikea Hack), but this is sweet. Great job!

  14. Absolutely inspiring, David. Really really cool. I once somehow ended up with 3 old cameras, and thought they were pretty neat, but then one day I was like “what the heck am I ever going to do with these old, broken relics?” so they went to the thrift store. 😦 But a tiny dresser with little drawers? Infinitely practical, and I want several of them. You selling?

  15. You may not enjoy a good challenge, but this turned out amazing! I hope you’ll link it up at Talk of the Town today! 🙂

  16. I would love to complete this project for myself… would you be willing to share the picture file as I do not have a vintage camera to take a picture of.

  17. alteredartworks

    So so so cute! Wish I still had my original Brownie…

  18. I love this project, awesome job! Thanks for linking up to The Talk of the Town party!

  19. David, This is fantastic! So clever!

    Happy New Year and look forward to seeing more fun tutorials from you!

  20. This is just SO darn cute. I love it! Thanks for sharing at Talk of the Town.

  21. Awesome project! This turned out really great. Thanks for the graphic and instructions. I just may attempt this project.

  22. This project is just awesome. I love old cameras (well, I just love vintage stuff) too, and I would love to do something similar. Thanks for the inspiration and the how-to.


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