Monday, April 25, 2011

How to "Upcycle" an old Dresser

Most of the furniture in our house (other than what Isaac brought or has made) was not new. I either bought it used or it was given to me or even for a couple pieces, we picked them up off the side of the road (we did go to the door and ask first).

Here is the transformation of one such piece of furniture:
This is actually my dad's old baby dresser. He said it originally had stickers on it, but I guess my grandpa had painted it at some point. Daddy used to hide in there when he was little.

My mom was planning to throw it out because she didn't think she could sell it. My grandpa had been using this in his workshop for years, and it was showing quite a bit of wear. It was covered with caulk and stain with big scratches on the top. I actually really loved the color and originally meant to just remove the paint to repaint it properly to use as a buffet or storage in the dining room.

I bought the cheapest gel stripper at Home Depot. It worked ok, but not as good as the foaming stuff I had used before. Next time I'll go for value over price and get this one.

Removal took nearly an entire day. I was being too stingy (what me?!) about applying the stripper and it would only remove one layer of paint at a time. I finally learned to brush it on liberally, and it got most of the paint off in one try.

I'd suggest wearing pants and gloves, if you get the stripper on you, it burns! I got it on my toes (while wearing flip flops) and didn't realize it until it started hurting.

This is what the top looked like after all the paint was removed. Isaac realized that it was made of cherry and from there we decided to stain it.

Ok this next step may prove difficult for some because you need to be married to this guy:
Ok thats not true, but you do need to be able to sand and stain well, and 7 months into this marriage I've learned that carpenters are pretty picky about their wood. If you are married to a carpenter, I'd suggest you just let him sand and stain it.

Otherwise, be sure you have gotten all of the paint off, even on the inside. Make sure to sand everywhere that will be covered by stain.

We went with the same color stain that we have on everything else Isaac has made, and then covered it with polyurethane. You don't need to stain the inside, but Isaac covered everything with poly to protect it from anything we might get on it.

We (Isaac) also purchased new hardware (knobs and hinges) to contrast with the dark stain.

I mentioned wanting to add wine racks, and Isaac took on the challenge. He came up with a design very similar to this:
Which can be found at Rockler. He built it using scrap wood from Dad Nels. (Thanks Dad!)
This is the final result!
Cost Breakdown:
-Cabinet - free
-Paint stripper -$4
-Stain - free (well we already had it in the house from another project)
-Poly - free (from previous project)
-Hardware - $20
-Wood for Wine Racks - free
Total Cost: $24!

Cost for something Similar online: $120

I'm not sure about the total time, because we did it in spurts but I think we could have finished it in one weekend.

The best part is that its still part of the family. Maybe one day my kids will use it for their house. Hooray!

Tip Junkie handmade projects