Upcycled Antique Sewing Machine Top

It’s that time again! Trash to Treasure Tuesday is upon us and I’m excited to have my blogger friends joining me for another month of fun. You’ll see their projects in a bit, but check out what I have for you. It’s been a few years coming, but I’m finally getting to my vision for this upcycled antique sewing machine top. {{happy dance}}

Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Cabinet Top | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Maybe at first when you see this you’re like…um…what is THAT? Well, let me show you a picture for the original antique treadle sewing machine I acquired over 4 years ago.

Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Repurposed with Early 1900's Barn Wood Using Weatherwood Stain by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

If you’ve been hanging with me for that long you deserve an award! I took it apart and made few things with it. One of them is a reclaimed wood table using the base seen HERE.

Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Repurposed with Early 1900's Barn Wood Using Weatherwood Stain by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

The other project was taking the drawers and frames to make my bathroom storage in our remodel HERE.

Budget-Friendly DIY Farmhouse Style Bathroom Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

I have been relentlessly purging my workshop (aka. garage) for the last few weeks and refuse to take on more work until it’s done. I’ve been saving this particular piece to make an upcycled antique sewing machine project for my garden shed makeover. However, since that won’t be happening anytime soon because of the magnitude of junk (detailed in the last few posts) we were served this summer, I’m taking it on now.

Here’s a peek of the inside and what I’m up against to transform this once gem.

Inside Treadle Sewing Machine Table Top | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Skeleton of Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Table Top | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces


Now you can see I have really weathered wood, rust, webs, and oh so much goodness! Yes, I am not normal…but who’s normal? tsk.

First order of business was to take apart what I could. I removed the mounting hardware, and metal sheet at the back of the opening.

Gutted Treadle Machine Top | prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

Then, I used wood glue and my nailer to tighten up joints here and there. I also needed to removed the veneer on the front/top of the table and sand the surface underneath.

Once I had the veneer removed I used a stain to let the wood age naturally to draw out the patina. Since I was aiming to mount this to a wall, I wanted everything to stay where it should. I locked the inside opening in place with screws, and added a few button magnet closures to the top surface and lid with my drill and forstner bit.

Next, in order to support that heavy lid I needed to add support. I pulled out one of my thrifted corbels from my stash. It was a bit too long on one side, so I cut it to length with my jigsaw, and used my sander to mock the routed edges.

Cutting Wood Corbel for DIY Checkerboard | prodigalpieces.com

Then, I sanded the entire corbel and gave it a new stain with a Hickory Gel Stain to age it a bit.


Finally, I finish all my prep for assembly and I can now begin my finish work. Here’s the front of the upcycled antique sewing machine top I’ve prepped.

Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Top Prepped for Game Board | prodigalpieces.com

Next, I am using this graphic I found and enlarged to fill that center space and add typography that I adore.

Antique Sewing Machine Decoupage Art | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

I simply printed it on legal paper and then decoupage it on with a thinned school glue with my 2″ angled brush. Notice it is bubbling a bit…no worries. Those will all lay down as the decoupage dries. Plus, I don’t mind a bit of aged appeal since this entire project is full of stories already.

Applying Decoupage to Vintage Typography Advertisement | prodigalpieces.com


As soon as the decoupaged cured, I begin the process of finishing the interior. I painted two coats of a custom mixed gray to the inside of the top panel. Once that is ready, I tape off a section for the checkerboard I marked and measured.

Taped off chessboard for DIY game fun | prodigalpieces.com

I use an antique white paint to hand-paint in the border and squares. When cured, I apply two coats of a matte poly to seal and protect it.

Last, but not least, I use my hemp oil to nourish the wood and let that gorgeous patina shine. The wood is so parched that it soaks it right up.

Applying Hemp Oil to Antique Treadle Machine Top | prodigalpieces.com

To make this game board wall-mount worthy, I then add keyhole hardware to the back. This will allow it to hang flush and sturdy. You could also use a keyhole jig and router bit too.


Let’s take a peek at my finished work, shall we? I love it!

Repurposed Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Top into Game Board by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #farmhouse #homedecor #rusticchic

Farmhouse Style Chess & Checkerboard Made from Upcycled Parts by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #upcycle #home #farmhouse #toys #homedecor

It came out just as I had envisioned for all these years, so I can definitely say I’m smitten. If you notice, you can see I added a hook to the top for extra closure. The corbel swings out and gives full support to the chess/checkerboard.

Wall-Mounted Chess & Checkerboard created by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #games #diy #home #homedecor

Open Handmade Chessboard from Upcycled Parts by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #games #farmhouse #homedecor

Isn’t it fun?!? I was delighted to find this wooden chess and checkers replacement set online as it totally suits the style I was after. Two of my six kids were more than eager to give my creation a test run. This same duo helped me stage my rocking chair turned horse project too. And yes, this is their normal way of playtime with their vintage clothing. My kids rock, just sayin’.

Antique Reclaimed Sewing Machine Chess & Checkerboard Created by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #home #games #handmade #homedecor

Bonus is that every part of this creation came from my stash, hardware and all. The only new thing is the chess/checkers set. I debated on making an edible set as we do around here. I have a chocolate mold for a chess set and make them so you can eat the opponent when you capture them. mwahahaha.

Kids Playing Checkers on Upcycled Sewing Machine Top Game Board created by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #games #diy #homedecor #farmhouse

My junk lovin’ self is delighted with the outcome. It is functional, but also decorative as most would never know what hides inside. I’m eager to hear if you have been inspired. If you’d like to own this game board, it’s now available in my online shop. (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces | shop.prodigalpieces.com

Upcycled Sewing Machine Top is Transformed into a Created Chess & Checkerboard Set by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #handmade #home #homedecor #toys


Do pin and share my upcycled antique sewing machine creation. You just never know who may have a similar one sitting around for four years or so. ahem.

Check this out! An antique treadle sewing machine gets recreated into a chess & checkerboard set for your home. Full tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #homedecor #toys #farmhouse

Up next, I aim to tackle this buffet for my friend, Mandy, and her ministry. See the new look and lend a helping hand HERE.

Vintage Buffet Before Makeover | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Now, it’s time to see what my Trash to Treasure friends have for you below.

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Check out these funtastic DIYs to inspire YOU.

Trash to Treasure Tuesdays - Thrifted Makeover Fun | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Trash to Treasure September 2019 | prodigalpieces.com

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  4. Girl in the Garage

More fun projects like this upcycled antique sewing machine:

Check it out! A $1 garage sale find gets turned into a DIY Butcher Block Cart built by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comFrom old and beaten to brand new, this upcycled map cabinet DIY is a must see! Step-by-step video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #home #furniture #vintage #homedecor #farmhouse #homedecorideas

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  • Winnie Luck

    The Antique sewing machine top WOW
    Just moved and this has really inspired my creative juices for my new home.
    I do have one question and maybe I missed it.
    Is it possible to show the back side where the chess pieces site when not in use.
    Did you use the original backing and the little sheves for the pieces to rest on.
    Many Thanks for all that you do

    September 10, 2019 at 6:51 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Congrats on the new move! 😀 I simply added a piece of beadboard with a few piece of scrap as shelves added.

      September 10, 2019 at 7:08 am Reply
  • Karel Stockley

    This is one of the most ingenious up-cycles I think I have ever come across. 10/10 fantastic.
    karel [Ashurst Wood, West Sussex, UK]

    September 10, 2019 at 7:10 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Hooray! That is so fun for me to hear. Thank you!

      September 10, 2019 at 8:39 am Reply
  • Christy

    Oh my goodness, this is just fabulous, Larissa!! You seriously rock, and so do your kiddos! Love it!! XOXO

    September 10, 2019 at 8:06 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You know I had a blast with this. Thanks, girl! I just wish we could get our shed done. Looking ahead to new things.

      September 10, 2019 at 8:41 am Reply
  • Karen Durbridge

    Wow, this is so beautiful Larissa! Totally out of the box – beyond what I thought you were going to do (I try to guess where your mind is going on these makeovers). I adore the work that you do with these unique pieces. You’ll have to excuse me now while I go into the garage to be inspired. Hugs!

    September 10, 2019 at 8:31 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You are excused! hee hee! You are so fun, Karen. Thank you for the love!

      September 10, 2019 at 8:41 am Reply
  • Becky

    WHOA! You have the wildest imagination EVER. That is amazing!!! Well done!

    September 10, 2019 at 9:05 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I hope you don’t think I’m crazy! haha! Thank you for the awesome love, Beck. 😉

      September 10, 2019 at 10:05 am Reply
  • Marianna

    That’s just an awesome idea!!

    September 10, 2019 at 9:31 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay! I’m delighted you think so, Marianna. Thank you!

      September 10, 2019 at 10:05 am Reply
  • Cheryl Atkinson

    Larissa, has anyone ever told you how brilliant you are? Who in the world would have come up with this idea? I know i wouldn’t. Great job.

    September 10, 2019 at 9:47 am Reply
    • Larissa

      aww…you made me blush! Thank you, Cheryl. I do, however, need you to convince my husband of such things. tee hee.

      September 10, 2019 at 10:06 am Reply
  • Karine

    Wow is a wonderful transformation and recovery…perfect!!!

    September 10, 2019 at 10:57 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I am so relived it’s done. Thank you!

      September 10, 2019 at 12:29 pm Reply
  • Marie

    Oh my word, this is such a clever idea and so well executed. Perfect for small home living too! Your models are ADORABLE too!

    September 10, 2019 at 11:24 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I kinda wondered if folks would think I’m a bit looney. haha! I finally got it done and that’s all that matters. Thanks so much for the love, Marie. 😀

      September 10, 2019 at 12:30 pm Reply
  • Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    That is just brilliant!! And oh my gosh, how cute are your kids! xoxo

    September 10, 2019 at 12:10 pm Reply
  • Barb

    I always try to figure out what you’re going to do before I scroll down to see the completed project, but I NEVER get it right lol! You have such a creative mind and this project is just so perfect! And I absolutely love your children’s attire and how they willingly posed for you. They are adorable and made your project come alive ♥♥.

    September 10, 2019 at 1:14 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You are such a fun gal, Barb! 😀 I love that you do that as I do the same with my blogger friends. Makes it fun and even more surprising. Thanks for the love too. My kids couldn’t wait to join in the fun. 😀

      September 10, 2019 at 8:19 pm Reply
  • Mary Milnarich

    What a wonderful upcycle ! So creative. I am wondering where you found the graphic you used? I would love to frame it for my new sew room.

    September 10, 2019 at 2:01 pm Reply
  • Robin

    This is soooooo creative and amazing!!! What an imagination you have! You are inspiring me to make things!

    September 10, 2019 at 3:06 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Wahoo!! That’s the DIY spirit, Robin! 😀

      September 10, 2019 at 8:20 pm Reply
  • Kaycee

    Wow Larissa, I don’t think anyone on the planet could ever guess where you were going with this sewing machine top! This makes such a pretty piece of “functional” art! I loved seeing your kids in this post too!!! Well done my friend!!

    September 10, 2019 at 3:14 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m that kinda crazy girl! 😀 You should know that by now. haha! Thank you so much. I had a blast and they did too.

      September 10, 2019 at 8:21 pm Reply
  • Jeanette

    Genius. Genius I say. Seriously amazing, Larissa! I don’t know how you do it!

    September 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Aw shucks! 😀 Thank you, Jeanette. I can’t believe I finally got it done. My workshop is emptying out fast!

      September 10, 2019 at 8:21 pm Reply
  • Kathleen

    I love this and I HAVE a vintage sewing machine cabinet! I also have an etched glass chess board that needs a home and maybe the ideal place to hang it! Thanks again for the inspiration!

    September 10, 2019 at 4:55 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Awesome! I’d love to see what you do with it.

      September 10, 2019 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Susan Homeroad Stevenson

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! And I love the beard!

    September 10, 2019 at 5:46 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      hee hee! My kids just love dressing up in vintage clothes. It makes me smile from ear to ear as I did the same as kid. Thanks, Susan!

      September 10, 2019 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Joanne

    Sooo creative. From what looked like a piece of trash after salvaging all the best pieces you definitely turned it into a treasure…. errh trashure. I look forward to your posts every week. You’re inspiring.
    P.S. Your helpers are adorable.

    September 10, 2019 at 6:03 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay for trashure! 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I had fun creating and sharing.

      September 10, 2019 at 8:23 pm Reply
  • Fran

    LUV this!!!! I have an antique treadle sewing machine that belonged to my great aunt who came over from Italy at the beginning of the last century. I kept all the old thread spools and sewing needles from the 1940’s still in the drawers!

    September 10, 2019 at 6:14 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Oh my goodness! That is an amazing treasure you have. Enjoy!

      September 10, 2019 at 8:23 pm Reply
  • Olga

    I’m speechless… fantastic creation Larissa!

    September 10, 2019 at 8:05 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      That means so much to me, Olga. Thank you!

      September 10, 2019 at 8:24 pm Reply
  • Mary

    Larissa that is such a fun surprise to see it opened with the checkerboard inside. I bet the kids must love it.

    September 10, 2019 at 11:16 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Fun! They do. We have so many sets and each one makes it fun. This one will find a new home soon. 🙂

      September 11, 2019 at 5:42 am Reply
  • Lori

    Amazing idea, so clever.

    September 11, 2019 at 1:24 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you bunches, Lori. I had a blast! 😀

      September 11, 2019 at 5:42 am Reply
  • Cristina

    This is awesome! You always come with the best ideas. Who would’ve thought of that? YOU!
    Now, those models… the cutest!

    September 11, 2019 at 4:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I know I’m a nut. haha! Thank you for giving me a giggle, Cristina. 😀

      September 11, 2019 at 5:16 pm Reply
  • Jen @ Girl in the Garage

    Great idea and save, Larissa! Very clever. Your kids look like mini versions of you and your hubby sitting there. 🙂

    September 11, 2019 at 11:38 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      It was finally time for it to shine. Thanks, Jen. 🙂

      September 12, 2019 at 4:29 am Reply

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