After acquiring some clothing for Sean to wear at Family Visiting, I needed a place to store them. I also felt like I wanted to have a dresser for him when he comes home, with the clothes that he already knows inside it. But I didn’t want to go out and pay for a brand new good quality dresser and they are quite hard to find second hand around here. So I decided to leave it up to fate.
Then one day in January I was walking our dog the same route I normally go, not paying any attention, he pulled me clear across the street to bring me to a discarded old dresser on the sidewalk. It looked OK, kind of beat up and forlorn looking. It was, however, quite sturdy; build of solid wood. So it had good bones and I thought maybe with a little love it could serve it’s purpose again. I managed to fit it into my car and brought it home.
A few days later I stared at it seemingly waiting for me outside. It needed some work and I wondered if perhaps I had bitten off more than I can chew. Luckily my neighbor friend gave me some pointers and let me borrow some tools. So I set to work putting a lot of care and time into making it special for Sean.
Step 1. Peel off the contact paper The drawers were lined with outdated contact paper. Some parts were difficult to get up and some parts came up in huge satisfying strips. Underneath the wood was nice.
Step 2. Sanding I had never sanded anything this large before. It was a fair amount of work. I took it in stages, working on it in pieces. Sometimes I sanded it at night after work with my earbuds to drown out the noise. I only did this part of the project to get rid of most of the layers of old varnish and paint, not to strip it down completely.
Step 3. Wash it down with soap and water Luckily the dry winter air dried out the wood again quickly.
Step 4. Paint! I put this stage of the project off for several months, by this time it was late summer, but luckily we had perfect weather for painting. I started with 2 coats of white primer for the base using a cheap roller and 2″ brush, followed by 2 coats of Behr dark gray paint. I enjoy painting so this part of the project was fun to do.
Step 5. Sand to create a distressed look The dresser was already distressed to begin with, it has lots of little nicks and bumps that are perfect for this style. All I had to do was sand off some of the black paint before it cured to allow the white layer to show through. Ta-da! The thing I love about this look is it’s not difficult to achieve with a reasonable budget and simple know-how, even for someone inexperienced like me.
Step 6. Hardware A good friend brought over a drill and showed me how to use it to make the holes needed for the knobs. I drilled almost all the holes myself and installed the knobs I had picked out.
Step 7. Liner Paper I found some really cool black and white newsprint paper I wanted to use to give the insides a really uniform look. I thought it was a nice touch and tied the whole piece together.
I ended up with something I am really proud of. It’s a piece I know we will enjoy for years to come, all for a fraction of the cost of a new dresser and much more unique. I learned about fixing up old furniture along the way, its really fun. The dresser is a meaningful gift for Sean and one he knows I put a lot of love into making just for him.
Thank you to our friends who helped make this dresser project possible with borrowed tools, knowledge and advice! Much love