Week 1: Beach Cottage Dresser

This week’s refurbish project is taking an old tool shed chest and turning it into a cool beach cottage dresser.

For this project, we started out with an old dresser that was on its way to the chipper.  Its drawers were falling apart, back was falling off and the bottom had wood rot. It took some repairs, new paint and putting in a shelf bottom, but we were very happily surprised how great it looks with a little work.

  1. Take out drawers and remove handles.  Set handles aside for sanding and painting.
  2. Lightly sand dresser and front of drawers.  Be careful to not sand to long in one place.  The finish on this dresser allowed some of the old paint color to come through to give it a distressed aged wood look.
  3. Fill holes with wood putty, trying not to over fill as you will have to sand smooth once the putty is dry.
  4. Use wood glue in seams of drawers. Then tighten any screw or tap in any nails in the drawers.  Hold together with clamps until glue is dry.
  5. Measure any areas that need wood replaced.  In the case of this dresser, the backboard, bottom frame board and 2 pieces of bottom trim were replaced.
  6. Measure where you have removed the top drawer for a new board if you would like to make it a shelf area.  This was done because the drawer was damaged.
  7. Cut lumber to size.  For the back and the bottom of the new shelf ¼ plywood was used.  For the bottom frame and trim, ¾ x 1 in pine.
  8. Tighten all screws or nails on dresser.
  9. Lay boards in place.  Mark with pencil where the screws will be and predrill.  Pre drilling will help to keep the wood from splitting when connecting to frame.
  10. Use glue and then screws to hold boards in place.  Allow glue to dry.
  11. Sand and areas where glue has overflowed.
  12. Dust off dresser with a soft cloth, lay your tarp down, and you’re ready to paint.
  13. To get the finish, use a rough 3 inch paint brush.  Each section or side of the dresser was painted at a time.  Paint a thick coat onto the dresser. Wait about 2 minutes then grab your 3 inch scraper.  Lightly scrap over the paint you have just applied.  This takes off some of the paint allowing the original color to show through.  How much color and how much you scrape off depends on the final look you would like your item to have.  Make sure you scrape in long strokes as the scraper will leave unwanted lines if you start in the middle.   If you are not sure of how you want it to look, grab a scrap piece of wood or use the back of your dresser and practice first.
  14. Paint shelf board.
  15. Use a thin line of wood glue along edge of shelf interior.  Lay shelf board in place.  Use clamps to hold down until dry.
  16. Sand and paint knobs.  Allow to dry and then install.
  17. Add a couple of baskets and Voila!  You’re done!!

Project time- 6 hours

Skill level- Intermediate

Tools needed- screwdriver, drill, saw, tape measure, electric sander, soft cloth, paint roller, scraper, brush, paint,  1/8 in x ¾ extra screws, paintable wood putty, wood glue, clamps, 1/8 drill bit, tarp or plastic sheeting

Stay tuned for more upcycle projects!


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