Mid-Century Modern Jewelry Armoire & Standing Mirror
This armoire is made out of solid walnut and finished with the Maker Brand Co. oil and wax "Simple Finish." It features an 18" wide by 65" tall jewelry cabinet and a door with a glass mirror.
The door frame is constructed with bridle joints for plenty of strength to stand up against opening and closing with the weight of the mirror.
On the inside, there are custom earring, necklace, and ring and bracelet storage along with a few shelves. One notable feature is the necklace pegs. I didn't want to resort to store-bought brass hooks, so I fashioned them out of 1/4" brass rod with a Cheerio-shaped walnut piece on the end. I cut these little Cheerios out with a 5/8" hole saw with a 1/4" bit in the middle, which allows them to fit snugly onto the brass rod. After I epoxy them on, I chuck them into my handheld drill and shape them with sandpaper.
The legs are my favorite. They're made of two pieces of solid 1.5" thick walnut. I glue them together oversized, and then refine them on the bandsaw, followed by an MDF router template.
This project came about as a solution to my girlfriend's plastic tupperware bin under our bed, which was full of loose earrings and a giant knot of necklaces. I have since made multiples of this piece, and it was my first Etsy sale, too. I recently made a mirror-only version of this as well, as the design lends itself to being flexible.
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Strategic placement of the mirror is the key when photographing this piece. I can't have a nice piece of furniture with a cluttered shop reflecting in the door!
The side profile: I use a Whiteside router bit to shape the door pull. It's inconspicuous and doesn't take away from the clean lines of the door. There is also a small brass ball catch in there that latches tightly when shut.
Here's a closer look at the side profile. I reinforce the rabbeted top and bottom sections of the cabinet with recessed screws and walnut plugs. I enjoy the process of finding a good grain match in the plugs, and often save off-cuts from work pieces to do just that.
Here's a look at the bridle joint on the door.
Open view: I use 1/4" walnut veneered MDF for the mirror backer and cabinet back. This stuff had some serious curl in it, too.
I generally make my legs out of one eight-foot board of 8/4 walnut. I try not to obsess over grain matching, but I do love how uniform the color is.
This routed with no tear-out. I think the Whiteside up-cut spiral flush trim bit (what a mouthful!) has a lot to do with that.
Up top, you'll see the earring storage. I gang cut the three earring racks by sticking them together with double-sided carpet tape. I cut the slots out on the bandsaw with my miter gauge since the blade produces a small kerf that happens to be perfect for earring studs. The earring racks are just under 1/4" thick so you can store the earrings with their backs on. I asked a lot of people on Instagram what they would want in terms of jewelry storage before I made this. One of the biggest trends was being able to keep earring backs on the earrings instead of having to store them separately.
Due to the fragility of glass, I think it is important to be able to replace the mirror if needed. This kept me from making the door a frame and panel style with the glass mirror encapsulated in the door. Instead, it is rabbeted into the back and held into place with a 1/4" backer, followed by walnut brackets that I make. I use brass screws, all clocked in the same direction, to complement the other brass features of the armoire.
I chose the most figured piece I could find for the necklace storage. The chatoyance was insane!
I use black velvet-lined foam ring storage pieces. I tried making these out of wood first, but the rings would slide around. The velvet grips the rings nicely and keeps them in place (not that the armoire moves around).
Human for scale.
Here is what the legs look like before and after refining them on the bandsaw. In the middle is the over-sized glue up. It's really an easy joint; the bigger part of the leg just has a straight jointed edge, and the smaller back leg has a simple miter. They are joined by a few 10mm dominoes. The notches cut out of the rough legs are where I affix the single clamp that is required for this glue up.
Here are the necklace pegs in the process of being made. I always make a few extras, too.
The bridle joints on the door frame seemed like a strong option, given the glue surface, compared to a reinforced miter. Glass mirrors are surprisingly heavy, even at only 1/8" thick.
Brass 1/4-20 bolts travel through the inside of the cabinet into threaded inserts in the legs.
The finish truly brought out the beauty in this walnut.
Shipping this piece is not easy, but I'm happy to report that the last one I sent out went over three thousand miles from California to Massachusetts without incident!