Dressers generally live a very long life. If they are not passed down from generation to generation within a family, they will find their next home through consignment, Craigslist or a yard sale. Dressers in all sizes and style are lined up like soldiers at our ReStore, waiting for their next assignment.
But, eventually, a dresser comes to a point when it’s bringing down a bedroom. When the time comes, don’t trash it. Upcycle it, like Sandra Krasnai of SandraCycled did in this dresser-turned-bench DIY project.
This is a little more advanced, so you have to be comfy with sharp tools. No? Ask a more skilled friend for help. Because this bench is too darn cute to pass by.
Dresser, three drawers in height
Saw to cut wood (Circular saw and chopsaw are what Sandra used )
Wax for sealing paint
Begin with your inspection of the dresser. It’s important to take note of cracks, jiggles and worn parts. If the dresser is in such poor shape that it won’t support much weight, you won’t want to sit your bottom on it as a bench.
Look to see how the top of the dresser is attached, as you will need to remove it. It can vary from piece to piece. In this case, it was screwed on and nailed along the back. Sandra removed the hardware and gently pried the top off. Carefully use a prybar, if needed.
Start gently removing the drawer spacers and glides. Keep the lower spacer in place for the drawer that you’ll keep at the bottom of the bench.
From the wood pieces you’ve taken off, remove any nails and carefully dispose if no longer useable. You want to keep these scrap pieces for finishing the inside of the bench.
After sanding and cleaning the inside shell of your bench for a smooth finish, it’s time to beef up the support for the seat. Sandra used her scrap pieces, cut to size to across the back and slats running front to back. The wood piece in the picture below (held together with clamps) was added for aesthetic interest at the front of the bench.
Don’t forget those unsightly notches and gaps. Sandra took a long strip from a board that she had planed down a while ago. She cut two pieces and they fit perfectly along the front inside to cover up the notches. She cut smaller pieces to fill in the back of bench notches. Leftover corner trim finished up where the seat meets the walls.
It’s time to paint. Sandra made her own chalk paint, but you can purchase your own at places like REology in Lancaster. After two coats, Sandra sealed the paint with a dark wax; in this case, she used Minwax in dark walnut that she purchased at Home Depot.
Dress it up with fancy drawer pulls and cushions. Final step, throw a magazine down on it and follow it’s lead!
ReStore specializes in the resale of new and gently used building materials and home supplies to the public. Proceeds from the sale of donated items directly benefit Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to build and revitalize homes in partnership with low to moderate income families in Lancaster County.
Sandra Krasnai is the creative mind and able hands behind SandraCycled, a furniture upcycling business she started to transform second-hand pieces into something refreshingly new and unique. Her creations can be found at Building Character in Lancaster and on etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SandraCycled. You can also find her on facebook.