Television Liquor Cabinet

Vision:

For my up cycle project, I wanted to create something not only visually appealing, but also useful. I have had my eye on an old television set, faux wood and all, collecting dust in my girlfriend’s parent’s basement for a little while. With a little searching through the internet, I was inspired to make the television set into a retro liquor cabinet. Initially, I thought it would be cool to turn it into a fish tank, but quickly realized that the shell was not built in a way that would be conducive to such a modification. Another motivator for turning it into a liquor cabinet was to try and replicate a dark wood, Victorianesque saloon aesthetic. The TV itself has been collecting dust for at least 15 years, not counting the 30ish years that it was in use.

Zenith_space_command

Original Zenith Space Command television set.

I came across a project on imgur that successfully converted an old CRT television set into a liquor bar, which I used to help guide the initial stages of my project. Initially, I was hoping to upcycle old cabinet doors for the interior, but quickly realized that it would be near impossible to find cabinet doors large enough. I intended to keep the control panel untouched from the start.

IMG_20160123_143937

Gutting the television of it’s electronics.

IMG_20160123_165549

Design Process:

My initial plan with this project was to simply gut out the electronics in the TV, and use the entire shell of the television set as the liquor cabinet. After getting another look at the TV, I realized that the entire console was incredibly deep and would take up more room than I would have liked it to. I decided to instead cut off the back of the console, and create a custom wood backing to the unit so that it would be a more desirable size. After doing a little bit of research and reading an instructible or two, I had a fairly good idea of what I had to do to accomplish the project. Old CRT TVs are notorious for keeping their dangerously high voltage charge for months, if not years after it was last unplugged. In order to not get shocked, I placed a screwdriver into the ground (earth ground) and connected it to another screwdriver using jumper cables and used those to discharge the tube. After that, I gutted the TV, leaving all of the wires connecting to the buttons and displays on the control panel in case I choose to add controls at a later date. After gutting the electronics, I took a hand saw to the back of the console which cut the depth to a more manageable length. I decided to use ¼” plywood cut to fit into the opening of the screen. Had this initial idea worked out, I would have been done in half the time that it actually took to make the cabinet.Unfortunately, the entire shell was made of injection molded plastic with various supports, steps, and random pieces getting in the way of a drop in shelf. In order to fix that issue, I took the old fashioned brute force approach and tore off the supports on the inside with a Sawzall, jigsaw, pliers, and various wire cutters. It was far from an eloquent solution, but it was a part of the project that would not be visible in the finished product.

Cutting_plastic

Tearing off the injection moulded supports on the inside of the television.

plastic_demo

One of the corners after tearing away the injection molded plastic.

After successfully getting rid of the injection molded supports, I measured out rough dimensions for the wood of each face of the interior of the cabinet and cut them to size with a circular saw. I had planned on simply using L brackets to keep the shape of the interior, but with the plywood having a depth of only ¼”, it made it hard to put any kind of screw in while keeping the visible interior face free of any blemishes. I still took this approach with plenty of washers and short screws, but there was not enough room in the interior for two sets of brackets on each corner. Only having one bracket made the cabinet incredibly loose, so with another trip to home depot and advice from the employees in lumber, I decided to use Liquid Nails to reinforce the joints which could double as caulk to help get a nice finish.

Wood insert

Wood sleeve attached to the backing, which slides right into the television console.

The final challenge was figuring out how to apply a backing to the console and have the interior rectangle lay flush with it’s backing. Upon discussing with a friend, I decided to use liquid nails to glue little pieces of wood in each corner with a hold that a nut and bolt would fit through. That way, the back stays removable for trying to wire up lights or the control panel if I so choose.

Finished_bare

The finished design.

Design Outcome:

Over all, I was happy with the outcome of the project. Functionally, I accomplished everything I had hoped, with a removable back, a less deep overall unit, and no visible blemishes on visible faces that are visible from the from of the unit. Artistically, I achieved my goal of keeping the entire console reminiscent of the television’s original design and retro aesthetic while making it a functional piece of art. The next step for the television is to hopefully add led light strands to the underside of the cabinet to illuminate the contents and set up the television’s control panel to control the different settings of the lights. Additionally, I would love to stain the wood to match the faux wood on the outside of the console.

finished_stocked

The finalized liquor cabinet in use.

 

, , , , , , , ,
Previous Post
35mm Film Lamp
Next Post
Presentation LED Spiders and firefly

34 Comments. Leave new

  • I’m a big fan of all of your whiskies/scotch! You really got the fit well done, the angles are good and everything is gapless. I’m glad you’re gonna stain it. Have you considered illumination activated by the on switch?

    Reply
  • Ashley Zimmerer
    February 15, 2016 10:29 pm

    Great aesthetic. I like the natural wood along with the plastic. Even though it sounds like it was hard to get a nice flat surface, it turned out great. It might be neat if you could attach lighting to one of the buttons on the side, in case it’s dark and you can’t well see in the back.

    Reply
  • Shawn Sprinkle
    February 14, 2016 7:18 pm

    Looks really good in person!

    Reply
  • Nicholas Flood
    February 13, 2016 2:40 pm

    This is a really neat use for an old TV. I think it would be really cool if you had some sort of lighting inside it, like you might see on the liquor shelves in a fancy bar. Nice job!

    Reply
  • Meridith Richter
    February 12, 2016 12:42 pm

    Stained wood would look really nice and professionally finished on the inside. Great idea and execution though!

    Reply
  • The aesthetic is Mad Men like, very cool. Maybe line, stain, or finish the bottom were the bottles sit so it doesn’t start looking dirty and dinged up.

    Reply
  • Your piece looks really cool. It’s interesting to hear how you wanted to start with a fish tank, but ended up with the liquor cabinet. Would you consider staining your wood darker to match the rest of the wood in the tv? I think the addition of LEDs would really be awesome as well.

    Reply
  • Utilizing this design for a liquor cabinet is way cool. As you mentioned, I don’t think you could go wrong with adding LEDs.

    Reply
  • Do you like the background look of the wood box? If not, do you plan on changing its color with a solid paint or a stain of some kind?

    Reply
  • nice assembly

    Reply
  • Anfal Abdulrahman
    February 12, 2016 12:32 pm

    the final project is really beautiful especially in use. It was great to hear that you were very cauious about it. Interesting project

    Reply
  • This is sweet! I dig that old TV conversion look.

    Reply
  • I think it turned out very well and a great way to make bottle look like art. In the future, it might be interesting if you added finish to the back wall.

    Reply
  • The front came out looking really clean. Did you consider staining the interior wood to match the outside? I also like your idea to light up the inside with LED’s.

    Reply
  • It’s good that you took precautions taking apart the TV. Yes there is a good potential of leaving the wires and adding LED later. I gotta say the TV its self looks classy, adding the wood made it a lot better. I like the contrast between the cabinet wood you bought and the darker colors of the frame of the TV. Great Project. Where will this go?

    Reply
  • It looks nice when the liquor is inside it. I wish you brought empty bottles to class to show what it looks like. Applying the wood helped with the aesthetic a lot. It would be nice of you added a plastic screen door to help with the aesthetic.

    Reply
  • nice job on this project and for taking on the challenge. It turned out well. Great job on your backyard engineering!

    Reply
  • Love the idea, great use of old television, the wooden interior gives a good period look. Would like to see some lighting inside, similar to a bar back, and wish it had the antenna as well. Do you plan to mount it on a wall?

    Reply
  • The upcycle of a vintage tv looks very cool. If you add some lights on the inside controlled by the tv controls it would add a great effect by making the liquor look like a show!

    Reply
  • No! Don’t add LEDs, keep the older retro aesthetic. It works well; invokes the age of liquor.

    Reply
  • Great project! The wooden inside really adds to the aesthetic. It makes me think of a 70’s log cabin type thing. Adding LED’s controlled by the original TV controls is an awesome idea!

    Reply
  • Good stuff, the wood backing really helps the internals look good.

    Reply
  • Samantha Maierhofer
    February 12, 2016 12:30 pm

    I love the look! Still looks cool and great to see it in person. It would be really cool to see some LEDs working on it with the control panel! I also like that you left it accessible to get back inside later if you need. Good work man!

    Reply
  • The liquor cabinet looks great, retro aesthetics are my favorite. It was cool during your presentation to explain the grounding (electrical danger) issues, was an interesting part of your design process.

    Reply
  • Rachel Grosskrueger
    February 12, 2016 12:29 pm

    I really like how you gave yourself room to expand upon your current design. Adding lights and connecting them to the current TV controls would be really amazing! Really great design overall!

    Reply
  • Very creative use of a TV. I could certainly see myself keeping my alcohol in here! You should add some mood lighting inside the cabinet, and maybe have it be controlled by the TV’s control panel somehow.

    Reply
  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    February 12, 2016 12:29 pm

    This is awesome. In the future you should defintely add some LEDs. I also think that this would make an ironic TV stand.

    Reply
  • Joseph Yoshimura
    February 12, 2016 12:29 pm

    I like all these reused old fashioned TVs! The wood looks exceptionally professional. Are you planning on making a door or something for the front? That could be useful!

    Reply
  • Christopher Coffman
    February 12, 2016 12:28 pm

    Looks so clean after you gutted it, you would never know how many electronics used to be in there. Awesome aesthetic, looks very 70’s.

    Reply
  • I really love how you added the wood in the back to make it really clean. It looks really awesome and vintage and can see it in a cool basement bar.

    Reply
  • Pete, I like the look of the finished product. It really does look cool with the old TV and all of the dials. I think that it would be really cool if the dials could hook up to lights, or maybe even an old radio or something of that nature. I think that if you could do something like a door on it, that could be really cool as well. I am imagining something like an old-style roll-top desk cover that rolls up and could be hidden when not in use. You could also put in a metal screen that expands so that it could be locked. I also think that it could be a cool idea to stain the inside of the wood. In that time, wood and stained woods were a symbol of wealth. It would be cool to stain it with an oak or mahogany finish.

    Reply
  • Shawn Sprinkle
    February 7, 2016 10:40 pm

    Well done! Great use of an old TV. It’s both useful and looks cool! I agree it would be cool to add an LED strip to light it. I bought this LED strip and it works great: http://www.lightingever.com/12v-led-strip-4100067-dw-us-nf.html
    If you ever want to make cups out of your old liquor bottles let me know!

    Reply
  • Very cool! I would consider this a true upcycling project. You took something old (a old school TV)and completely transformed it into something completely different. The end product looks great, clean and well assembled. I like that when you realized the dimensions of the TV were too large in the back, you cut the back off. I love the idea of adding LEDs to light up the inside. Perhaps consider adding something on the top to attach shot glasses.

    Reply
  • Samantha Maierhofer
    February 6, 2016 10:34 am

    It looks awesome! You put a lot of time and effort into this project and you can tell. It has a nice finished look and is very clean. I actually think it looks better this way than it would have with a door because it almost has the appearance that the liquor is on a TV channel. Another thing to consider when you do your next round of modifications; how is the cabinet supported on the bottom face? Is it just the plywood? If so you might need to add so kind of support blocks (liquor bottle tend to be kind of heavy when full.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Menu