Before I start today’s blog post, I want to acknowledge the strange days that we are currently living in. In the span of a week, it seems like COVID-19 has taken over our thoughts, actions, lives in a way that none of us saw coming. On the one hand, it feels strange to post lighthearted, normal posts. On the other hand, I think normalcy is very much needed in whatever ways we can have it right now. I have made the decision to continue blogging and posting about our life, what I’m reading, our family, our home projects, etc. because it provides something for me to do and a much needed mental distraction while we socially distance ourselves at home.
I really enjoy uncovering potential in things. I like to find something that the world overlooks and re-purpose it into something beautiful and unique. It’s not only a great way to save some resources and give new life to an item but it’s also typically less expensive than buying something brand new.
For each of my children, I have taken an old, inexpensive dresser and fixed it up to use as a changing table/dresser combo for their nurseries (Vi’s is on the left and LJ’s is on the right).
When my brother and sister-in-law announced that they were expecting a baby, I offered to fix up a dresser for her nursery as my gift to them. They accepted and I began the hunt for a good dresser to fix up.
It took longer than I expected to find a dresser for the project. I searched Craiglist, Marketplace, thrift stores, and kept coming up empty. Many dressers weren’t the right size (too narrow to fit a changing pad, or too high to be able to change a baby) and many that were the right size were too expensive (LJ’s dresser was found for $30 and Vi’s for $10, so I knew it was possible and didn’t want to shell out $70-100 for a dresser I was going to fix up anyways).
Finally, I found this gem on Facebook marketplace and negotiated the price down to $15.
Justin thought I was absolutely crazy for bringing this thing home, and honestly, I don’t blame him. The veneer was pretty ugly and there were scratches and chips all over the place. One side had pretty significant damage and pieces came off when we were loading and unloading it from the vehicle. But I just knew I could make it shine!
By the time I got this piece and had time to work on it, there was only one week until the shower. I love a good challenge, so I got to work with lots of enthusiasm. First things first, I removed the hardware, pulled out all the drawers, and sanded the veneer to smooth out as many scratches and chips as I could.
It quickly became obvious that the super damaged side was beyond repair, so Justin ripped it off entirely and I just sanded down the frame to prepare it for a new piece of plywood.
The other side of the dresser only had minor damage, and I decided to try a few methods to repair the damage instead of replace the entire side. I took a utility knife and cut out the damaged pieces to make a clean line, and then my plan was to take a strip of veneer from the damaged side we ripped off to use as a patch. The problem was, the veneer was glued down to the other side in such a way that it didn’t peel easily. I could only peel off small pieces at a time and it took a long time to haphazardly patch. I started with just once section and waited to see how it all dried and sanded.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t satisfied with it when it was sanded and dried so I decided to take out the patched veneer and try something else. After looking at a few various options, I decided to try Kwik Wood.
This stuff worked like a dream! You knead a small amount of putty and then fit it to the space. It dries super hard and is sandable and paintable!
I know I know, this still looks super ugly. But it FELT super smooth and I knew it would look so much better painted anyways.
The next step was to prime everything and let it dry. We are fortunate to have a room in our garage devoted to painting (the previous owners fixed up cars and had a room built specifically to paint them).
Justin had plywood leftover from a previous project and he cut down a piece to replace the damaged side of the dresser.
We used wood glue to attach the plywood to the dresser frame and Justin also put a small nail in each corner for extra durability.
Once the side was dry, I sanded the edges and primed the plywood as well. Then the whole dresser got two coats of paint (my sister-in-law chose “Fading Rose” by Sherwin Williams).
I originally thought I would replace the hardware, but decided instead to spray paint the existing hardware in a metallic gold to give it a fresh, like-new look. The hardware was so unique and I thought it really gave a cool look to the dresser!
I’m SO happy with how the dresser turned out!
Justin and I worried that maybe the side with plywood would obviously look different, but it didn’t AT. ALL. In fact, it turned out so well, that I wish I would have just done that to both sides. The patched side turned out well, but you could slightly tell where the patched areas were. Cutting the plywood and attaching it took a fraction of the time as patching and repairing the other side and actually looked better in the end.
I’m so glad I kept the original hardware – it gives such a unique look to the dresser!
The dresser is on wheels and if I had a little more time to put into the project, I think it would have been cool to replace the wheels with turned sofa legs. Maybe something like this? Still, overall I’m so happy with the end result and I hope they enjoy using it once my little niece arrives!
Dresser: Facebook Marketplace ($15)
Kwik Wood ($6.18)
Paint: Sherwin Williams Fading Rose in Satin ($20.92)
Spray Paint: Rustoleum Metallic Warm Gold ($6.40)
Sandpaper, paint brushes, plywood, primer: Already owned
Total Project Cost: $48.50