In this post: Using any small set of drawers you can make an inexpensive DIY card catalog that looks just like the vintage versions that are hard to find!

Wanna turn a plain-jane set of drawers into an inexpensive DIY card catalog that can be used as a jewelry box, craft storage or junk drawers?

By the way, I’m not just talking about the discontinued Ikea Moppe drawers I happened to use either – you could do it to any little set of drawers! I’ve seen some at Micheal’s, Amazon and even the dollar store…you just have to think outside the box a bit!


Look at all that chippy goodness you can add to boring old craft wood boxes!

Originally I was going to use card catalog pulls. But all the ones I liked were too expensive – and I didn’t want to spend much on this project.

Enter some creativity on my hubby’s part; why not combine a label holder and a drawer pull to make a card catalog pull look-alike? And the bonus is that YOU can save yourself some dough by doing the pulls this way too!



1. Paint each drawer front and the main unit with a thin coat of black paint. Let dry. You just want enough to show through when you distress the drawers. (If you happen to be using the Moppe drawers just turn them around backwards to hide the little finger cut out.)

2. Randomly paint with the burnt umber. Let dry. This just adds some interest to the distressing.

3. Using a large brush with large sweeping motions brush the crackle medium all over. Let dry.

4. Now paint over the crackle with the grey paint. Let dry.


5. Distress. Using a metal ruler or scraper, roughly chip off paint where desired. Using sandpaper, sand edges.

6. Using a clean rag randomly rub dark wax in a few places. Then using the natural wax, wax the entire piece. (Now Shown)

7. Drill holes and screw a handle to each drawer.

8. Remove adhesive backing and attach bookplates to each drawer. Add labels – and voila!

An easy and inexpensive way to get the look of a vintage card catalog!

What do you think of our little card catalog-looking jewelry box? Can you think of a piece to turn into a card catalog look alike?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

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  1. That looks AMAZING Shannon, wow, so impressed! Incredible project, thanks so much for joining in on the Pinterest fun!

  2. Love it – I have two of these sets all plain and begging for an up style – only problem is mine has the little cut out pulls at the top. Did you fill or cover yours or did they come without the finger pull holes?

    1. Mine has the pulls on front and back of drawers ๐Ÿ™
      Will solve this dilemma somehow….

    2. Well duh – just discovered mine is the ‘crappy’ fira drawers and not the moppe – oh well, I am still giving them a makeover! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Looks great! I love your spin on it. I too have that card catalog pinned with no plan in place to accomplish it! Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. I love it! It looks amazing and oh so useful. I have an old metal card catalogue that was left in our garage when we moved in. It’s in rough shape and we’ve started to use it to store tools and painting supplies and things, but I have a vague dream to fix it up and put it in my office one day when I have such a room. Only problem? It probably weighs about 300 pounds and is impossible to move. Perhaps I should set my sights on something a little smaller? Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. A small set of drawers is a great place to start!!! (But your metal card catalog sounds FAB!)

  5. I pinned that card catalog hack, too! Both projects are gorgeous!

    I haven’t been to Ikea in a while since the closest one to me is in Burlington. Do you know approximately how much these cost?

    After making painted signs from your tutorial, I’ve given the crackle medium some time off because I’ve been letting my palm sander do the distressing. It’s definitely time to break it out again!

    Thanks for sharing another awesome tutorial!

    1. I have had our Moppe drawers for probably ten years – so no, I don’t even know which stores carry them anymore.

      I ignored the crackle medium for ages too…made me think of those cheap looking antique knockoffs at Walmart. BUT if you use a large brush and big sweeping motions it looks fab!

  6. Looks great. How awesome to have your jewelry organized so you can find it when you need it!

  7. Wow! Love that chippy goodness. I would have thought it had always been like that. Love it! Pinning this one! x

  8. This is gorgeous! How do you get rid of the “finger” holes on the front of the drawers like in the picture?

    1. I’d say a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. It may have been shorter if I’d used the blow dryer for the paint as I often do. But I was doing other things while each coat of paint dried.

    2. was the crackle paint easy to work with? It has the effect as the crackle nail polish…. I’ve never used this type of paint before and im really curious to try now. Did you just buy it from Home depot/michaels?

    3. It is easy. Just use a large brush and long sweeping motions. Work quickly and don’t go back over what you’ve already done. You can buy it at Michael’s with the craft paints.

  9. i LOVE it!! i, too, have pinned Kristine’s version and you have inspired me to jump on this project (as soon as i can make a trip to Ikea to purchase it)!!

  10. I just died from amazing overload! Seriously, I’m in love with your project. I have that same inspiration picture pinned, but haven’t done anything with it yet. Now I really want to get on it and make one after seeing how good yours look. Oh, and your whole blog is pretty amazing…where have I been that I’ve never been by before?!

    1. Lol. You just made me snort! Thank you for the very sweet (and enthusiastic) compliments!

  11. I LOVE this project! The crackle paint and distressing made it look amazing, and I love what you did for the hardware! Great job!

  12. Love it, Shannon! The head librarian lives across the street from us….and they just re-did the library….oooooooo, I’m hoping for the old card catalogs! Say a prayer for me……

  13. I love the card catalog look; I’ll have to keep this in mind! Great job, and congrats on the CG feature!


  14. Hi!
    I went to and cannot find this item.
    Could someone lead me to it, if they still carry them?

  15. Wow I just found the original post about these drawers, looked them up and promptly put them on my Ikea shopping list despite them being fugly in their original, un-hacked form. I’m currently re-designing my student room so I have a more usable space with a lot more storage. I’m hoping to replace a huge chair with an old wooden thrifted one (just to put clothing on) which I was thinking of crackling…..I was wondering what to do with the drawers if I got them and totally lacking inspiration. So your idea matches the two together!! Brilliant. Now I just have to get the drawers and chair and actually make them look pretty…… One day!!

  16. Saw this hack and absolutely love it!

    Ikea no longer carries the Moppe or Fira lines in Canada but does anyone know of a good place to find a good substitute? I’ve looked everywhere I can think of and haven’t been able to come up with anything that will work for this project!

  17. OH MAN… perfect timing on this post, also great comments by your followers, it did not dawn on me to turn the drawers around until I read the other comments. This project is getting moved up to the top of my list. Great site!

  18. I pinned your box ages ago and I keep coming back to it! I love it so much. I am finally getting ready to make one of my own and can’t thank you enough for the inspiration!

  19. Fantastic idea. This one is for me far the best hack I saw on ยจikea hackersยจ . I am thinking for years how I can give my Moppe drawers a better look and I got no further than to paint it white. Now I am happy I have not done yet, because this idea is so much better. Thanks a lot.
    (Unfortunately I have the one with the little cut out pulls at the top at both sides of each draw, but I will find a solution for this little problem)

  20. This piece is LOVELY! Really great job! And so clever with the pulls and labels! I was just thinking about trying to find something that had the look of a card catalog pull without the price–and now I don’t have to think anymore, because you already found a great alternative! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  21. Wow, y’all! I clicked over from East Coast Creative’s CWTS contest, and this is beautiful! I love it! Job well done :). Hope y’all get a spot in the top 12 so I can see more of your creativity!

  22. What a great idea! Ikea stuff is great but its all very similar in style. This is a great way to change it up. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Hi there,
    Your Moppe hack was the inspiration for me to do something to mine. I’m doing each drawer in a different colour. Anyway, when it comes to the step where you scrape using a device like a metal scraper or ruler, nothing happens for me. I tried a dinner knife and a screwdriver and the paint won’t chip off without going right back to the wood ? Same with sandpaper – fine grade did nothing and nor did coarse without some effort and it doesn’t reveal the black underneath, it just goes back to the wood with sanding too . Help !

  24. It looks gorgeous!! I love the crackle and you’re right the handles and the labels were genius! Great project!