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Repurposed Dresser into Media Center (card catalog drawers)




  free-dresserI love transforming pieces of furniture, and dressers are among my favorites, especially when said dresser is free.  Smile     I got this dresser on New Year’s Eve, and I’ve had it in storage ever since.  It was in a friend’s neighborhood, and when se called me to tell me it was on the side of the road it was already dark.  I just snatched it up, and covered it with plastic till the next day.  It has some issues for sure, and there was a lot of junk inside all the drawers.  That is candle wax all over the top of it.   free- dresserWhen I dug it out of storage a couple of weeks ago, I started examining the drawers.  Two of the original drawers were missing their guides, so I removed the guides from the top two drawers and decided to do away with them and add shelves.  I scraped all the candle wax off, and used some TSP and some sandpaper to get a good surface for painting.     remove-drawers-thin-plywood-shelvesI cut some thin plywood shelves and used my edge banding on the front of the plywood to give it a nice edge.  (this is just a dry fit)   make-drawer-look-like-two-drawersDo you remember when I routed the drawers on the tall black cabinet?   I recently saw Diane’s winning entry in the BHG Final Four Challenge and I was inspired to change up these drawers. By adding some thin plywood, suddenly one drawer looks like two!   one-drawer-into-twoThen I remembered I had these small picture frames that I got from my sister a couple of years ago.   add-plywood-to-drawerI played around with some configurations, sent jamie some pictures to ask her opinion, and we decided on this.   transform-dresser-drawer-card-catalog-drawerI grabbed one of my drawer pulls that I used on that black cabinet to see how it looks.   I’m liking it!   gorilla-wood-glue-holds-frameI used Gorilla Wood Glue to attach the small frames to the thin plywood, while my combination square to make sure the sides were even all around.   clamps-Gorilla-GlueI used clamps to hold the frames in place till the Gorilla Wood Glue dries.     drawer-guides-repairThe drawer guides were broken, and I was unable to secure them with staples or screws, so I used my Gorilla Epoxy.  It stinks, but it WORKS!   more-glue-clampsI also used the Gorilla Wood Glue to hold down the top shelves.  NOTE:  I have removed the decorative piece on the bottom that makes this piece look like a dresser and added 1×6’s ripped to the proper size to allow the drawers to open.     dreser-remake-media-centerI sanded all the drawer fronts to remove the original finish.     dresser-to-card-catalog-media-centerAre you still with me?   This is becoming one very long tutorial.  I hope you’re learning something. Smile This is where I wish I had noticed something, and made a change.  Can you spot it?   I grabbed a bunch of scrap plywood pieces, and I should have paid more attention when cutting them that the grains matched better.  Sad smile By the way, I used my nail gun to attach the plywood and the frame to the drawer.   minwax-stainThis is after 1 coat of Minwax Golden Oak, but I think they look too new.  I was going for a more “used/aged” look.   darkened-with-jacobeanI added some Minwax Jacobean all over, adding it a little heavier in some places, I like it better now.     homeright-finish-max-proIt was time for the dresser to head to the paint booth for it’s primer makeover with my Homeright Finish Max Pro.     dress-rehearsalI was so excited to see how the drawers were going to look, I had to insert one just to get a look.     behr-semi-gloss-paintI bought a gallon of a white semi-gloss in Behr Premium Plus Ultra.   dresser-into-media-centerI love the white and wood tones together, do you?   test-driving-hardwareI got these three options of hardware from my friends at D Lawless Hardware. The top left is Antique Copper Cabinet Label Holder, the top right is Matte Chrome Cup Pull  the bottom right is Antique Copper Cup Pull with Screw Heads.  Again, I sent the picture to Jamie to get her opinion.  We were both in agreement, that the Label Holder one best suits this piece.   cabinet-label-pulls-hardwareI drilled tiny pilot holes and installed the pulls with some antique copper screws using my tape measure to the distance.     how-to-add-wheelsIn order to add these  wheels to the media center, I attached a small piece of 2×4 on each corner and used 1 7/8” drywall screws to secure them.  If you look closely, you can see that I drilled a pilot hole before inserting the screw.   dresser-card-catalog-media-centerCan you believe that it is the same piece as that free dresser?   It was such a fun project to work on, I can’t wait for it to find a new forever home.     media-center-card-catalog-look-a-like   repurposed-dresser-faux-card-catalog

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A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    Now that’s a transformation! I would have been tempted to pass on that one, but you totally saved it! And I love the label holder pulls too!

  2. Love and featuring tonight!

  3. Wow Gail!
    You did a great job on this one. I DO LIKE the wood and white paint. Jamie and you both have a great eye for detail…I like that hardware.
    2 thumbs up.

  4. I love what you made this into. You give me so many great ideas. The only thing I didn’t care for on this project was the wood and white combo. I would have painted the wood white or another color but it’s really your great ideas that inspire me to look at things differently. I have a piece that I garbage picked from my neighbor that I was going to throw out. Now, you;ve given me so many ideas that I’m going to make it work for something. (It’s a glass door bath floor cabinet that’s missing it’s top.)

  5. girlfromwva says:

    love the white and the wood! looks really beautiful!

  6. You never cease to amaze with your ideas, Gail! As Sylvia said – I’d love to give this piece it’s forever home and would in half a heartbeat! I’ve always loved rich woodtones and with the white, they really stand out. Loving it!

  7. Love it….love the drawers. Great job.

  8. Wow you sure are talented. I just love this piece. Wish I could turn an old piece of furniture into a masterpiece.

    I have once question: How do you keep gorilla glue from hardening?
    I buy the stuff use it once, make sure the air is all out, but when I try to use it again, it is hard as a rock….

    • gail@myrepurposedlife.net says:


      Gorilla Wood Glue? I store mine for months before I go through the bottle, and I’ve never had it harden. I’ve had it dry up on the spout that I have to clean off, but that’s it.


  9. So totally awesome!! The drawer fronts are genius, truly! I love love love it!!! Yea Gail!

  10. What a great makeover! Unbelievable that it’s the same piece.

  11. What a cool transformation you did on that Gail! I noticed the grain right away lol But it still looks awesome!

  12. Great Job! What an amazing makeover. Have a great week!

  13. LOVE this transformation!!!! Great job!!!

  14. Paige @ Little Nostalgia says:


    That’s how excited I am, I can only type exclamation points, haha. This is SO COOL. I still have a $10 dresser sitting in the garage from last summer that I never got to. Maybe I can bust that out when it stops raining!

  15. I would be happy to give this fab piece a forever home. Too bad I live near Seattle. Another amazing make over!

  16. Another great transformation…as always!

  17. Turned out great, again! The wood drawers with the white cabinet looks beautiful.

  18. The dresser – er – media center looks great, Gail! So inspired!

  19. This turned out beautifully! I love the look of the drawers! Great job. I love working with free things…it makes it easier to try something different and new!

  20. Laurie M says:

    I love that you upcycle, but next time when you glue wood to the front please make sure all the wood grain is running in the same direction. You are making my OCD come out front and centre!!!! Otherwise fun use of something that likely would have been dumped in a landfill

  21. You are amazing girl! I love this and if I lived closer to you I would totally buy it. It looked like a lot of work… you have never ending energy that amazes me :) Excellent, I think this is my very favorite thing you’ve created :)

  22. I appreciate how you show all the steps! It looks great.

  23. Doris Henson says:

    Love this…and I love how you trimmed out the drawers and the pulls are perfect!! Great idea putting the wheels on these large pieces too….it sure makes for moving them around a whole lot easier for cleaning. :)

  24. I love this! It came out beautifully. The pulls you picked are perfect!

    • polly plum says:

      This piece came out beautiful!!!!I wouldn’t have thought of the white- natural wood combo, sometimes I get too ‘matchy’, but I have to try to curb that urge, because this combo looks great! thx for the picture frame idea!All the measuring, cutting, fitting together of pieces of trim are done for you, genius!I’ll remember that one.:)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!