Design, DIY

Giving Craigslist Furniture a Makeover

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So, as promised, I want to show y’all this dresser I’ve been working on. A couple of months ago, I was browsing the free section of Craigslist and saw 2 matching antique dressers that were put to the curb.
These babies were in really bad shape, but I could see the good bones in them. One was a tall, narrow piece and the other short and wide. They both have an elegant curve in the middle and some of the original (what I thought was) brass hardware.
I rushed across town to get them in the truck. The family was out in the yard & helped us load them. They had many young children, and it looked like they had really put these dressers through the ringer. Many drawer pulls were missing, and the wood had been scratched, burned, drawn on, and ripped apart at the legs. Ouch!
But guess what?! FREE!
Nothing better than free. I didn’t have a place in the house for these lovelies, but I knew someone would want them, so they sat away in the garage until now!
After I showed them to my mother in law, she said she needed some more storage space, so I got to work!

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First, I took all the hardware off and pulled all the drawers out.
Then, I sanded the finish off of all the drawers and lightly sanded the top of the dresser.

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Next I got some Elmer’s stainable wood filler and filled in the places on the legs where some layers had been torn off and there were extreme imperfections. The goal here wasn’t to make it look new, as I planned a distressed look, but just to ensure that no further pieces would be coming off and make the surface a little more even for painting.
After all that dried, I sanded lightly again in the area where filler was used. I then used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the whole piece down, removing any dirt or dust from sanding.

Now the fun part!

I painted the outside of the dresser with homemade chalk paint. It’s so easy & cheap to make and use! Walmart carries gallon sized flat latex paint for $10. I mixed about 1 cup of that in Country White with about 1 tablespoon of non-sanded grout. I just eye it, I don’t bother getting paint on measuring spoons. You can buy non-sanded grout for $4 a container at Home Depot.

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Anyway, I painted the dresser in 2 coats of the chalk paint (no priming needed.)
When it was entirely dry, I used my Black & Decker palm sander all over the top, edges, and sides to distress. I wanted this thing to have the charm of something treasured but well used through the years.

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Then, I stained each drawer in Minwax’s Dark Walnut and quickly wiped it off before it got too dark.

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While the stain dried, I picked a few of the original drop-handle drawer pulls that weren’t broken or cracked. They were super tarnished, so I soaked them in a mix of apple cider vinegar, water, and salt for about an hour. After that, the black gross stuff came right off with an old toothbrush.

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When all was dry, it was time to seal. I lightly brushed clear Polyurethane on everything.
While that was drying, I had some minor repairs to do by gluing loose drawer tracks in place with Elmer’s wood glue.

For the final touch, I replaced the missing drawer pulls for all but the top drawer with some drawer pulls that were only about $1.30 a piece at Lowe’s. They came in silver and black. I bought the black ones and spray painted them with Rustoleum in Almond.

Ta-da!

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I think it turned out really beautifully. The rustic, chippy-paint look of the outside mixes well with the rich, deep color of the drawers. The mixed drawers pulls add a touch of character.

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So, what do you think? I love it!

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