Well back in I think December I started on this dresser make over and I’ve been dangling it like a carrot in front of you since!
Well, my friends, its time.
Time for the big reveal.
Are you ready for this?
I hope so. It’s pretty good.
Ok. Backstory. (I love a good backstory.)
Having downsized when we moved to Iowa, we moved into this house with only two dressers.
Blake and I had a tall dresser, but our new room is a much better fit for a long dresser.
I love the dresser we had in our room before (its a lovely blond mid-century piece with the great modern legs), so I knew I would just move it right on down the hall to Ruby’s room.
I just needed to find another one... and I like to do everything on the cheap.
I was on the hunt.
Low and behold, I found a FREE dresser just the dimensions I was looking for on craigslist. And I was actually able to get it (after the first responder fell through.) Major score!!
It’s a nice dresser too: Sturdy. No scary stuff. Just dated.
(Behind it, you can see the back side of it’s terrible 80’s lighted mirror with side shelves.
I think I’m just gonna have to get rid of.
I’ve been racking my brain on how to upcycle it, but all I can think is to take the mirror out and reframe it -- But I don’t think I need a mirror it’s size.)
I was super excited because it had the clean lines I was hoping for.
Well all except the engraved scrolly vines on the drawer fronts.
Initially I thought," Oh well, I'll just paint it and it will be somewhat improved. It was free, what can I really ask for?"
But then I learned you can actually fill those babies in with wood filler and make them disappear!
Ok…now that’s a game changer!
Wanna see what I did to her?
Made her beautiful.
Let me show you how I did it.
First I hand sanded into each of the vines to make sure the wood filler would stick.
That had to be my least favorite part.
(These drawer fronts are real wood. Which made it so I could do all sorts of sanding to them as I did this project.)
Next I took wood filler and really caked it into those vines. I used a drywall trowel to smooth it in there.
As you can see it got all over the draw front.
Let it dry. (Follow the wood filler’s instructions on drying time.)
Then I took our random orbit sander with a fine grit paper and sanded.
I went over everything until all the extra wood filler around the design was off and the design was smooth.
I actually really enjoyed that part -- I felt like a potter at the potter’s wheel or something. Peacefully, patiently sculpting my vision.
I wish you could say you are done now, but there is a long way to go.
See below, how most of the design is flat and kinda pink colored? That’s the good part.
But there are dents, as well as sorta-red spots. Those are the too deep places. They need to be filled in some more.
That means I needed to apply more wood filler.
I went over the whole design but paid more attention to needed areas.
I sanded again.
And while it was much better, there still were ify spots.
So I needed to do one more filling and sanding session.
After that, finally it was ready to paint.
The whole dresser isn’t real wood, the top and sides are veneers.
So in order to make sure that the paint would stick to that I used bonding primer.
I went ahead and covered the whole dresser just to be safe.
Just watch those vines disappear! Ahhh.
So much better already!
I figured since I spent no money on the dresser itself, I could spurge on some legs to bump the height up and give it some more style.
I found these cute ones at Home Depo for $2.78 a piece. Not bad.
We also needed these metal bracket things for them to screw into.
So I painted the legs.
(As well as the dresser -- I didn’t take any pics of that, but it’s pretty straight forward. I did use small foam rollers to do this project because it leaves a smooth finish.)
The color I used was Glidden’s Charcoal Sketch.
I used Walmart’s Glidden’s paint -- but if I were to do it again, I’d have mixed that shade into Lowe’s Valspar paint -- its higher quality for the same price.
And then I had Blake do the dirty work of installing the new feet on the bottom for me.
He had to trim a couple parts that stuck out in his way off.
And he had to add a brace in the middle for the center legs.
What a guy! He’s so great to do my design bidding.
I didn’t like the odd handles on there. So I had filled in their screw holes with wood filler while I did the scrolls. (They were only like two inches apart, or something non-standard.)
So I needed new ones. And, even though I suppose I could have splurged on hardware, since I got the dresser free, hardware can really be pricey. I didn’t wanna get in my pocket too deep here.
So I looked again at my favorite home stuff thrift store, Restore, for some handles.
I found two different ones that had similar enough shapes that they coordinate.
One set extended a little further and I thought that would be perfect for the two top drawers since they are longer. I thought it would look better than all matching.
Thirft store shopping: I got more handles than I needed seal in two sandwich baggies for like $3 total.
Do I know a deal, or do I know a deal?
I also used one of the old handles for the center door.
(I didn’t think I could find a piece to outdo that one, new or used. Not that it’s fabulous or anything, its just hard to find something to make sense on a dresser door.)
None of the colors matched so I cleaned them all, and spray painted them oil rubbed bronze.
(I seem to just keep that spray paint on hand these days -- it keeps coming in handy.)
I ended up leaving off the backplate (for now anyway) it seemed like too much.
Blake drilled new holes for me for the handles. (That was the real delay on getting this post done -- we just didn’t have the time to do the details. I had been using the drawers with no handles for a long time.) So then she was finally done.
And here she is.
What a doll.
In some light (like the light in this photo) you can see on the upper left draw a slight remain of one of the scrolls. In real life you can only see it if you move your head to all sorts of angles looking for it. If it really bothered me all I’d need to do is add more wood filler, sand again, and repaint.
I just didn’t get that one full enough to be flush to the drawer. (I couldn’t find my other container of wood filler for weeks in this messy reno house! I may have skimped at the end not wanting to buy more.)
But anyway, I am really happy with how she turned out.
I think she looks worth way more than the approximately $50 I spend on supplies and new parts.
Have you ever made over a dresser?
Are you ready to take on an engraved one yourself now?
I know this just changed my world -- I have a line of furniture just begging for some wood filler!