It’s all about dressers

It’s been quite a while since I last got my hands on a good piece of furniture worthy of a dive into DIY land. Since last August, to be exact.

After the infamous two lines popped up in September, I was immediately thinking nine months ahead of our need for more clothing storage. The old dressers in this house have ranged from okay to ‘this is nice’ to completely shitty.


This old bitty would look fantastic with a fresh stain job. There’s lots of scratches from the years my dad & aunts & uncles were kids, but the drawers still glide and it’s completely solid.

I knew we would need a dresser that could double as a possible changing surface for the babe. And it would have to house his entire current wardrobe, which is mainly a lot of small, folded onesies. Done.


Thanks to Craigslist and $25, this pressed wood charmer became mine. I wanted it so I had to drive it back home as it hung out the rear end of Goldie, our Rav4. I sat about as close to the steering wheel as one could get, while simultaneously driving like some slow asshole with hazards on in case the trunk swung open (it did). Harrowing experience, and thanks to my superior driving skills and dedication we all made it in one piece.

The dresser wasn’t as ugly as the attempts at improving its appearance. The hardware didn’t fit (the small knobs on top actually spun freely), the top is water damaged and scratched up, and best of all was the contact paper that was unevenly stuck to the inside and sides of each drawer. I was kinda anxious about how to start–like I am about most projects. With no ideas about how I wanted it to look, I figured I had time…so downstairs it sat.

Lots of months later, Sylas was born and some family stayed with us for a week. It was time. About four days outside in pollen season in an old garage with terrible light. But hey, it’s a work space, right?


Away with the unnecessary extra knobs, please.

I had been brainstorming with my crafty MIL and loved her idea of a dark color, like navy. I thought I might make it nautical by keeping some of the original detail and stenciling a large anchor on top or maybe a starfish or sand dollar on the drawers. Instead of spending $$ on hardware, I decided to use some rope I knew we had lying around to incorporate more of that nautical theme.


I bought a premixed paint called Bold Blue. It was bold indeed–not at all a rich, dark navy like I envisioned. Back it went in exchange for Rich Navy, which was still a tad lighter than I hoped, but after three coats of paint it seemed to work.


This was some quality “me” time, a luxury now that I’m outnumbered 2:1. I took my time and enjoyed the process, although I didn’t spend much time perfecting every crack and crevice. Some areas that you really don’t notice unless you look didn’t take the paint. In the right light you can still see the water stains on top. None of the things I work on are supposed to look like a machine did it, so there.


Three coats of a spray sealer and a few days later, Sylas got his dresser.

Overall project cost:

$25 dresser + $9 paint + $6 sealer + $1 foam brushes

$41 total

Not too shabby. I also splurged a little ($15) on some nautical stencils from JoAnn’s but haven’t committed to using them yet. So, stencils..yay or nay?


Our room is a mix of colors: yellow walls, red rug, wood dresser, white bed. The bold navy fits right in. Also, we aren’t using this as a changing surface thanks to the pack & play.


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