During my mad weekend makeover of our dining room, I kept telling Daniel that I needed something with some oomph to put on the wall. Something that would tone down the girly-ness and not cost too much.
I searched high and low in our house, only to discover that 90% of my vintage “stuff” that I like to swap out from room to room was too small, or just plain impossible to hang on a wall.
That’s when I re-discovered my type drawer. It was a gift from my mother and father back several years ago and I was so excited to get that gift, but I never did anything with it! Finally, it went to use, but first it needed a little TLC of the MacGyver variety.
Here’s how it looked before I got to work:
I took a good look at it and realized 1) there was a LOT of grime on those sections of the drawer, and 2) there wasn’t a way to hang it up on the wall.
I grabbed a couple of old rags, wire cutters, a hammer, a can of Kleen Guard spray, and an old frame I had picked up at a Goodwill store a few years back.
First, I stole the hanging wire from the back of the old frame, cutting it on each side as close to the nails as possible.
I took my cue from the old frame and grabbed a couple of nails from our stash. I figured if they could jerry-rig it that way, I could, too.
I set the wire and nails aside for a few minutes and took up the rags and Kleen Guard spray. I had no idea what I had just signed up to do …
I sprayed all over the tray drawer several times and rubbed hard with the rags for each application. If I was being a little more obsessive compulsive about the process, I probably would have grabbed an old toothbrush or cotton swabs or something to get in the crevices. There were A LOT of partitions to clean.
After about a thirty minutes to an hour of elbow grease later, this is what I had to show for it:
Still, I had to wonder if some of that grime was actually from the time when the drawer had been used. While part of me felt a bit alarmed at the idea of lead touching some of the areas (the graphic design layout term “leading” actually comes from actual use of lead to separate lines of text), the other part felt an odd sort of excitement that I was coming in contact with history. I daydreamed a bit about what kinds of printed matter the type was used to create, and where the drawer could have been from. This is why I love vintage things. You touch the stories behind those things.
My drawer “cleaned up good”, as they say. See?
After cleaning, though, I took up my hammer and nails and tried to figure where was the best point on the back of the drawer to hammer the nails into for support.
I tested the length of the wire to make sure at its fully-extended length when hung on the wall would not extend above the top of the drawer. Then I realized I didn’t have quite enough wire to stretch from the sides to that point. I decided to improvise and found two partition pieces wide enough to support the nails and drove them in there. I then hammered the nails down so that they bent sideways and trapped the wire.
And that’s it!