This is my junk haul from a couple of weekend ago; some from an estate sale, some from the flea market. I’m working on the sad-looking white dresser there by the motorcycle wheel. Yes, this is my garage, now it’s mainly a workshop, but the motorcycle still resides here.
Anyway, I have been wanting to do a pallet-style dresser for a while, but haven’t been able to find a dresser that would work. This one has a couple of challenges, not the least of which is two coats of paint, but I decided I could probably make this work the for the dresser I wanted to do. Originally, I had thought to clad the dresser in pallet wood, but then I saw this dresser from Anthropologie, and realized I could get a pallet look without needing to use pallet wood! I also like the metal top on this one, but I am probably just going to go with the wood, since I am planning on taking this dresser to a craft show next weekend, and I am running out of time.
To start this little project, I decided to use my belt sander and some really coarse (30 grit) sandpaper to strip the finish off of the dresser. I planned on getting rid of all the paint, but hopefully leaving a little bit of the original stained finish, so the wood would have some variation to it. The belt sander was perfect for this. With the very coarse grit, it made the wood look very rustic, and some of the original finish did stay on the piece, although not much of it! Once I had the piece stripped, I went over it with an orbital sander and a 60 grit paper to smooth it out a little bit, but not a whole lot. I also used the orbital to even out what was left of the original finish, and made sure no shiny varnish was still showing.
The first challenge with my dresser is that is had a false drawer on it; the middle large drawer was cut to look like two drawers, so I wasn’t going to be able to cut all the drawers like the Anthro dresser. Also, this dresser is pretty small, and two of the drawers are fairly shallow, so cutting them down to look like a bin wasn’t going to work, either. Instead, I decided to use cut outs like pallets have on them. I used a pallet support board to make the template for the cut outs. Then I drilled a 5/8 inch hole in each corner so I could get a jig saw in there, and simply cut it out, then sanded the edges smooth.
I also cut out a handle for the false drawer. As my son pointed out, there is a hole in the middle of the drawer front, but sometimes sacrifices must be made. I told him not to put anything in this particular dresser that might be able to crawl out on it’s own; problem solved!! I also added a couple of old screws in a few of the old handle holes, just because they were there, and I didn’t want to fill them in with putty! The second and third “drawers” in this picture are actually just one drawer.
Now at this point I was eyeballing the pulls, and realized they are not perfect. I considered really working on this and getting a little more precise, but I know from working with pallets that they are seldom precise, so I put my OCD on a shelf for the remainder of the project, and moved on! I also decided to leave that little strip of paint under the lip of the top, as a testament to this little dresser’s checkered past!
Once I got the last drawer cut, all that was left was to put on the legs. The legs that were on this dresser were just not going to work, so I cut two legs out of pallet wood and attached the legs to the dresser with wood screws and glue. I like that they are set back a bit, so they aren’t terribly noticeable, and the pallet wood legs go great with the look of the dresser!
After the legs were on, the last step was to apply two coats of matte polyurethane. This protects the wood from stains, but doesn’t add any shine. I considered staining this, but decided I wanted to go with the look of raw wood, just like a pallet. Total cost for this project was $24.00; $20 for the dresser at the flea market, and $4 for the poly, and from start to finish it took about 3.5 hours to complete. I’m on the look out for a six or nine drawer dresser with deeper drawers that I could do the bin-style drawers with. It would be perfect for craft room storage, and a metal top would hold up really well to some of the crafty projects I do! For now, here is the finished little dresser, all done and ready to go for this weekend!