I love two toned furniture projects using dark stain and almost any color. This two toned modified dresser makeover involves navy and Jacobean stain. This month’s power tool challenge post is all about modify—which is what I normally do to all of my projects. But I took a step back this month and made it a little easier, but I am still including lots of tidbits to help you learn something from this modified dresser.
I picked up this dresser, aka a chest of drawers earlier this summer from my hairdresser. It has definitely seen better days. Because the theme this month is “modify” I decided to change up the look of the bottom of this piece. It’s a little “dated”, don’t you think?
How to disassemble furniture
I began the modification process by removing the old trim on the front of the dresser. At this point, you must resist the urge to just start prying and hammering the wood trim. You must look for the hidden screws and remove them. After doing so, all the wood trim will be easily removed.
Using a 1x6 in place of the old trim was the plan. I actually wanted to add trim around the front and both sides. However, the width I needed was a full 6” a 1x6 wouldn’t work, so I just decided to add trim inside the front legs.
I keep a small piece of sandpaper near my saw at all times so that as soon as I cut a board, I can knock off the splintering pieces.
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Pocket holes attach new trim pieces
To attach the 1x6, I used my kreg jig to drill pocket holes on each end of the board, as well as a couple on the width of the board.
Here you can see that I used a right angle clamp and some pocket hole screws in order to attach the 1x6 in between the existing legs of the dresser. Notice right by the trigger of the drill the pocket hole along the width of the board for extra strength.
Here is the new 1x6 in place.
Prepare top of dresser for stain
The dresser top was in really bad shape, but I figured it would be better to sand the finish off instead of stripping it.
I buy these sanding discs in 50 count because they are so much cheaper that way. I started with 60 grit, then went to 150, then 200.
Make any necessary repairs
After inspecting all the drawers, there were some repairs to be done. I used Gorilla Wood Glue and bar clamps.
One of the dove tail joints had come loose, more Gorilla Wood Glue and another clamp to take care of it. I use baby wipes in the shop for lots of uses, including wiping up glue.
While the glue was setting up, I removed all of the knobs. Only 2 of the drawers needed repairs.
Refinish drawer fronts
The same technique was used to remove the finish from the drawer fronts. 60, 150, 220. I actually used citristrip for the small middle piece, then sanded it to finish removing the finish.
Stain the top and drawers
Minwax Jacobean stain was used on the top of the dresser and the drawer fronts.
Prepare to paint the modified dresser
I mixed up some diy chalky paint primer using an oops dark blue and plaster of paris. I applied it using a cheap chip brush. Do you know how much I love these brushes? Sure, the first couple of times you use them, they shed horribly, but the more you use them, the better they get!
I painted about 3 light coats over the dresser sides and front.
Things don't always go as planned
This is me anxiously doing a dry run test to see how much I love it. Not so much.
It is so obvious that the new board was added. So I decide to patch it some more. (I used a little sawdust and wood glue to fill that small gap before I painted it)
At the end of day 1, I used a lot of spackling to patch the seam . . . then I came in and looked at the pictures. I really should do that more often, instead of waiting till the end of the day. I could barely sleep that night for thinking about removing this new 1x6 and doing something different.
A much better plan for the modified dresser
The very first thing on day 2 I carefully removed all of the screws and pried the newly installed 1x6 away from the front of the dresser. While it was upside down I sanded the plaster and cut four scrap pieces to “beef up” the original sides (legs) To see if it was going to look okay, I clamped the new pieces and set it right side up.
I used Gorilla wood glue and my nail gun to attach the new pieces of wood. I then used my orbital sander to make the new piece blend better with the old piece.
There was a lot of patching, painting, and sanding to do to make the two pieces look like one leg. After this photo I also patched the staple dents.
TIP: use a scrap piece of wood with your sandpaper to get a flatter, smoother finish when sanding.
A vintage dresser is modified into a more modern style
I personally think it is much better, but anything was a huge improvement over the original dresser trim.
Dark wax tones down the color and helps seal
Oops! I know this isn’t a blue dresser, it’s actually a red library table that I got the same day as this dresser. But I forgot to take a picture of the jet black wax I used on the blue dresser to tone down the color a little. It wasn’t as deep as I had wanted it to be. This wax and sponge are fromHeirloom Traditions Paint.
Hardware jig makes installing new knobs easy
How to use the Kreg cabinet hardware jig
Adjust the drill guides and the edge guide for your handles
Clamp the jig in place
Drill through the guides
Sand the rough edges
A video about using a hardware jig
Wait! Don’t think it’s that easy? I made a video . . .
This jig is so much easier than the other jig I’ve had for years. Not only that, it’s small and compact, and it’s not that expensive. It will save you time and trouble, believe me I know. I have installed this kind of hardware before on my Cord Clutter post. One of those pulls still has one screw missing because the handle is crooked when installed.
Navy Blue and Stained Modified Dresser
I really thought I was going to be able to complete this project in one day. Because of the EXTRA modifications, it took 2 days, but I’m so glad I made the extra effort. You may be wondering about the original KNOB holes. I left them. Because I was able to very strategically place the new pulls, they are not visible.
Look at those perfectly spaced bin pulls from D. Lawless Hardware. I bought them a couple of years ago, and have just been waiting for the perfect piece to use them. I’m so glad I waited till I got that new Kreg Hardware Jig.
Did you notice the new faux whitewashed floor?
I’m seriously loving how this free dresser turned out with a little modification.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.