Mom’s console TV becomes flat screen TV cabinet | retro modern makeover

My mom loved her Zenith TV console. Me, not so much. When she died it became mine and, even though I thought it was an eyesore, I kept using it because it still worked. And for the most part I don’t like to get rid of things that are still useful. And that’s another thing I inherited from her.

zenith tv console
My mom’s old Zenith console TV

Anyway, one fine day the old Zenith finally pooped out and I was able to get a new 32 inch flat screen TV.

I was sure someone on Craigslist would love to take this precious relic off my hands for the bargain price of $10. A month later I officially gave up that dream and considered my options.

Option 1: smash it into little bits and throw it out, or
Option 2: convert it into a cabinet for my new flat screen

While Option 1 was very tempting, I still needed a cabinet for my new TV and didn’t want to spend $100 to $200, so I chose Option 2.

And so the transformation began.

Important: Wait before disconnecting the TV tube

It turned out to be a good thing I didn’t attempt this project sooner because I discovered that you need to let the electricity drain out to avoid electrocution or, at the very least, a nasty shock. But if you’re in a hurry, here’s a short YouTube video showing how to safely discharge the tube.

How to safely discharge a TV

Dismantling the old TV cabinet

I’m not gonna lie. If I had known upfront what I was in for, I might have gone for Option 1. There were so many things that were screwed into things, that were screwed into other things that were bolted here, there and everywhere…it just seemed endless. But I decided this thing was not going to defeat me so I kept on.

back of console tv
TV console back
inside console tv
Inside the TV cabinet. So many wires!

Then it came time to disconnect and remove the TV tube.

tv tube plug
TV tube plug

I braced myself and pulled the plug. I did not get shocked. But I did get some weird red stuff on me.

tv tube plug underneath
TV tube plug removed
red fluid under tv tube plug
Weird red stuff that got all over me

I don’t want to know what it was.

Then I took it down to Best Buy for recycling. That was an adventure in itself because a 25 pound roundish TV tube is not easy to maneuver. I put it in a box and made it safely down there.

Customizing my new flat screen TV cabinet

When I was done removing all the innards and taking off the fake plastic molding from the front, it was just a plain old wooden box.

plastic tv cabinet molding
Fake plastic molding
empty tv cabinet
Inside the empty TV cabinet
dismantling tv cabinet
Cabinet upside down to remove casters

My plan was to put in a shelf to hold the new TV with enough room underneath to place my satellite receiver, DVD player and CDs/DVDs.

And I wanted to add chrome legs to the bottom to make it taller and metal trim on the front to make it go with my retro modern coffee table.

Being a resourceful DIYer and not a carpenter, I made do with the few tools I have. I used my jigsaw to cut the metal trim and wood for the shelves. And then smoothed the rough edges with my mouse sander.

jigsaw cutting wood
Cutting wood with my jigsaw
cabinet bottom
Cabinet bottom after TV tube removed
gluing wood to cabinet bottom
Gluing wood to cabinet bottom

Tricking out the new cabinet

I put wood veneer edging on the outside edge of the shelf and at the bottom of the cabinet where I had added a piece of wood for reinforcement.

wood veneer and metal edging
Wood veneer and metal trim (Everbilt 3/4 x 1/2 x 1/16 x 48 in)

I spray painted the shelves, back and inside cabinet black with Rustoleum gloss protective enamel.

black spray paint
Rustoleum black gloss protective enamel
spray painting tv cabinet
Spray painting TV cabinet

On the bottom front of the cabinet I did some faux finishing.

before faux finishing
Before faux finishing, three strips of veneer with space in between

I mixed up some acrylic paint (black, brown, red and wine) to match the dark wood stain and painted the three wood veneer strips. For the spaces in between I used metallic silver acrylic paint.

faux finishing paint
Faux finishing supplies
faux finishing
Faux finishing, silver stripes

Then I coated everything with satin varnish.

I added the legs, glued on the metal trim and voila! My new cabinet was done! And it only cost me about $30 in supplies.

And here is the final result. I love my TV cabinet!

tv cabinet transformation after photo
Retro modern flat screen TV cabinet

DIY modern starburst mirror

I love starbursts, sunbursts and atomic art decor and recently became obsessed with getting a starburst mirror for my living room. When I saw how expensive they were to buy, I decided to see if I could make one. And this is the result: a fantastic work of art that only cost $13 to make!

There are many pictures and tutorials on the web, so I picked out my favorite style, one that uses simple supplies like craft mirrors and wooden dowels. There was also a great YouTube video to go along with it (featured near the end). I added my own unique touches and tips, different from the video, which I’ll point out as I go along.

Supplies used to make this starburst mirror

mirrors and dowels for starburst mirror

Mirrors and dowels for starburst mirror

I found all the mirrors at Michaels for a total of $11, and the dowels and skewers at Walmart for $1 apiece.

The finished mirror measures about 26″ across, with the center mirror being only 5″. It’s scaled down from the one demonstrated in the video.

Supply list

  • 5″ round mirror
  • 4 packages of 25 pc assorted round craft mirrors (measuring 1″, 3/4″ and 1/2″). You need a minimum of 80 mirrors as follows:
    16 large (1″)
    32 medium (3/4″)
    32 small (1/2″)
  • 16 dowels, 12″ long and 3/8″ in diameter
  • 16 bamboo skewers, 9″ long
  • 22 gauge wire
  • wire cutter or craft scissors
  • needlenose pliers
  • compass
  • cardboard and paper
  • hot glue and tacky glue
  • paintbrush and your choice of paint

Use a compass to make a circle on cardboard

draw circle on cardboard for starburst mirror

Draw circle on cardboard for starburst mirror

If you don’t have a compass you can make one using a string tied around a thumbtack. Just be sure to make the circle slightly smaller than your mirror.

Mine was 5″ across so the circle I made was 4¾” across.

Cut out the circle

cut out circle for starburst mirror

Cut out circle for starburst mirror with X-acto knife

I used an X-acto knife but scissors will work just as well.

Cut a circle out of paper, a step I added which is not in the video

Fold the circle into 16 equal sections

make a paper circle divided into 16 sections for starburst mirror

Make a paper circle divided into 16 sections for starburst mirror

Here’s an easy and accurate way to divide the circle into sections.

Make a paper circle smaller than the cardboard circle you just made. Fold it in half, then open it up and fold it half going the other way. Repeat until you have 16 folded sections on the paper. This will be used to mark the placement of the dowels on the cardboard.

Use the paper circle to mark sections on the cardboard circle

mark cardboard backing for starburst mirror

Mark cardboard backing for starburst mirror

Pin the paper to the cardboard at the center point, then transfer the markings to the cardboard.

You could use a protractor but this is easier.

Connect the dots

draw placement lines on cardboard

Draw placement lines on cardboard

Draw lines on the cardboard from one side to the other, being sure to intersect the center point.

The marked cardboard circle

cardboard circle marked and ready for gluing

Cardboard circle marked and ready for gluing

After all the lines are drawn, make a 1″ circle in the middle. The dowels will start at this point.

Glue dowels to cardboard

glue dowels to cardboard for starburst mirror

Glue dowels to cardboard for starburst mirror

Attach dowels on top of the drawn lines with hot glue.

Add skewers in between the dowels

glue skewers in between dowels for starburst mirror

Glue skewers in between dowels for starburst mirror

Make a wire hanger

make wire hanger from 22 gauge wire

Make wire hanger from 22 gauge wire

Cut two 4″ pieces of 22 gauge wire and twist them together using needlenose pliers.

Insert wire into cardboard

insert wire into cardboard

Insert wire into cardboard

Make two small holes inside the center circle and push the ends of the wire through.

Glue wire hanger in place, a step I added which is not in the video

glue wire hanger in place

Glue wire hanger in place

On the other side of the cardboard, twist the ends of the wire together, press them flat against the cardboard and fill in the circle with hot glue. This will keep the hanger from pulling through the cardboard over time.

Add more glue to the wire hanger

add glue to wire hanger

Add glue to wire hanger

Put a couple of dots of hot glue over the holes. Notice that the hanger is bent slightly away from the cardboard to make it easier to hang.

Choose a paint color

paint for starburst mirror

Paint for starburst mirror

Use any color you want to paint the dowels. Gold and silver metallic paints are popular choices because they make the finished product look more like metal. Of course you can select any color you think will fit in with your decor.

I chose black because I wanted it to stand out against the aqua walls. Black is also a color I’ve used to accessorize with throughout the house.

The paint I selected is Folk Art enamel in Licorice. I used this because it’s shiny and doesn’t need a sealer on top. One coat of this paint was enough.

Paint the cardboard and dowels

paint the starburst mirror

Paint the starburst mirror

Elevate the piece to make it easier to paint. I put mine on top of a paint can. After one side is dry, flip it over and paint the other side. Make sure to paint the edge of the cardboard.

When the whole thing is dry, it’s time for the really fun part, gluing on the mirrors!

Diagram of mirror placement on dowels and skewers

guide to making starburst mirror

Guide to making starburst mirror

The dowels get three mirrors (a large, medium and small), spaced out at 3″ and 3½”. The skewers only get two (medium and small), 3″ apart.

Use hot glue to attach mirrors

glue mirrors to dowels using a ruler for spacing

Glue mirrors to dowels using a ruler for spacing

Hot glue a large mirror to the end of each dowel, holding each one in place for a few seconds. The trick here is to make sure it ends up being fairly level.

Then glue a medium one to the end of each skewer. Glue the rest of the mirrors spacing them out with a ruler for accuracy.

I placed my ruler underneath the piece rather than marking the wood directly.

Secure the back with more glue, a step I added which is not in the video

add more glue to back of mirrors

Add more glue to back of mirrors

This is a step I added because one of the small mirrors popped off of a skewer as I was handling the piece. The skewers in particular are so narrow they don’t hold a lot of glue.

When all the assorted mirrors are glued on, flip the piece over and put more hot glue on each one. This makes the glue base larger, more secure and less likely for things to come off. It looks a bit messy but no one will be able to see it once it’s hanging on the wall.

Glue the center mirror with tacky glue, a step I added which is not in the video

Glue the center mirror with tacky glue

Glue the center mirror with tacky glue

This also was an addition not in the video I used as a precaution against the center mirror coming off.

Put a whole bunch of tacky glue in the center, then place the 5″ mirror on top.

With tacky glue you have the advantage of being able to reposition that you don’t have when using hot glue. Nothing would be worse than a focal point being off center. At least, that would drive me crazy! Tacky glue will also hold it forever.

Hot glue is great for instant gratification but it doesn’t always hold up depending on the type of surface being glued and extreme fluctuations in temperature.

Leave the piece to dry on a flat surface for about 24 hours.

Fill in the spaces with more hot glue

put hot glue in between dowels on starburst mirror

Put hot glue in between dowels on starburst mirror

Put a bead of hot glue in between each dowel and skewer. It should also connect with the center mirror. Getting in there can be a little tricky.

Hot glue tip!

When you’re all done with the hot glue, use your blow dryer to melt any stray glue strings (and there will be many). Glue strings are not attractive and will make your beautiful work of art look cheap, and that’s no good.

The finished starburst mirror

finished starburst mirror

Finished starburst mirror

This is the result you’ll get by following the referenced video. It looks pretty but I wanted to take it a step further.

Adding embellishments to customize the look

extra mirrors added to starburst mirror

Extra mirrors added to starburst mirror

I had some mirrors left over so I decided to add on a few extra ones. Can you spot them? This makes the pattern look more random and funky which I think is visually more pleasing.

I love how the etched mirror design can be interpreted as heat swirls, and the extra little mirrors appear to be pieces of the star flying out from the center.

A grand statement for a small cost

funky diy starburst mirror

Funky DIY starburst mirror

One of the first things people see when they walk through my front door. Well, this and my hot pink sofa, but that’s a story for another day.

The inspiration video for the making of this starburst mirror. Less than five minutes long.

I loved the style of this mirror although I decided to make a smaller version. The one demonstrated here uses an 8″ central mirror, dowels that measure 16″ long and skewers that are 12″ long. That makes the finished mirror about 34″ across which is quite spectacular but needs a large space for hanging.

This is the mirror featured in the above video

starburst mirror amazonIf you’re going to make a mirror just like the one in the video, you’ll need this 8″ mirror. I really love the scalloped edge. It adds more sparkle and interest.

I bought all my mirrors at Michaels, but for some reason they didn’t have this particular one. I ended up using a smaller one anyway. Here it is for your convenience.