Old & Red to Rustic & White: DIY Dresser Refurbish

A how-to post on refurbishing an old, ugly red dresser into a rustic white and stained top masterpiece.

This summer has been busy, busy, busy.

In May, I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and spent a few days in Las Vegas shortly after. In June, I was in a wedding and turned 22. In July, I began my master’s degree at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. After classes ended early this August, I spent some time relaxing and visiting family until this week when fall semester began.

Throughout these few months, I lived out of a suitcase and drove back and forth between my mom’s, my boyfriend’s, my sister’s, and now my new apartment. Yes, I have moved into my very first real apartment in Syracuse with two friends from undergrad. We’re finally pretty well settled in but while I was unpacking in June, I realized that there was no way all of my clothes would fit into a closet. I needed a dresser of some sort.

After doing some searching, I didn’t find anything cute but durable in my price range because let’s be honest, good furniture is too expensive for my college grad self.  So if this isn’t my first post you’ve read or if you know me well, you know the most obvious alternative was to make a project out of my dilemma!

I didn’t really know what I was doing at first but I’m a firm believer that you can do anything as long as you’ve got confidence or at least Google. Don’t think you’re a good cook? Find a delicious recipe, set your timers, and you’re golden!

I’m blabbing… back to the point! As I love projects, it only makes sense that I am 100% obsessed with Pinterest. Time and time again scrolling through Pinterest, I’d see photos of DIY refurbished dressers. I fell in love with one but there were no directions! I found myself Googling every little step that I wasn’t sure how to complete. So now of course, I’m doing to tell and show you in detail how I made my dresser!

Before

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After

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Time spent:

About a week because drying times, but you won’t be spending more than an hour or two at a time.

Supplies:

  • A dresser – I found mine at Salvation Army for $50. A little more than what I wanted to spend but time was pressing and this was the perfect size!
  • Sanding supplies – My dad was a carpenter so he has every tool ever. I used an electric sander with 60-grit and 220-grit paper.
  • Drop cloth or plastic – For obvious reasons.
  • A good cleaner – I used TSP. You will need a bucket and gloves when working with TSP so add that to your supplies list if you choose TSP.
  • A good cloth to clean with – I bought rags from Lowe’s and regretted it because little fibers fell off and were a pain to remove!
  • Tact cloth – And lots of it! I bought a two pack, cut them into halves and eventually quarters but I wish I had more. You use this to clean up the sanding dust.
  • Foam roller kit – I bought the cheapest 4-inch from Lowe’s and it worked like a charm. Get the kit so you have the tray.
  • Staining pads (or brush) – This was my first time staining anything and I liked using the pad but it’s a preference thing. The downside was fibers rubbed off similar to the rag I used to clean. I had to wait until I was fully finished staining and it was dry before I went through with TWEEZERS to remove the fibers. Learn from my mistake please!
  • Synthetic brush – This is to apply a finishing protective coat. I did not get this beforehand because when I first read how to do this, it said a foam roller would be fine but after more reading I decided against it. So I used a synthetic brush I had laying around. These were cheap brushes and they did the trick but from my reading, it was suggested to use a high quality stain brush. Do with that what you will.
  • Stain – I used Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in the color Jacobean. It is oil-based so it’s smelly. If you’re only staining the top like I did, you could get away with one of those tiny sample cans. I bought a quart and have so much left! Not upset about it though, I LOVE the color.
  • Paint – Interior latex house paint works just fine because you will be covering it. I used Valspar Signature in Swiss Coffee with a satin finish. This paint is great because it has primer in it. A quart works for a mid-size dresser like mine.
  • Painter’s tape – To keep your white paint white around the edges.
  • Clear protective finish – I used Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in either gloss or satin. I don’t remember for sure which but it’s all a preference thing. Just don’t do matte please. Again, a quart of this stuff will do. This is water-based and is recommended to use on water-based paints or stains which mine were not. I followed what I was reading for this because I don’t know a whole lot about protective finishes and the person I was following did and it’s holding up just fine!
  • Hardware – so drawer knobs, if you want of course!
  • Drill and bits possibly – if you’re adding knobs to a dresser that doesn’t have have the holes.
  • Baskets – if desired. Mine are from HomeGoods.

All-in-all I spent around $150 for everything!

Steps:

  1. Remove any hardware the dresser may have.
  2. Drill holes if you need to for hardware. My dresser didn’t have hardware but I wanted crystal knobs. You’ll have to measure everything out to make sure its centered how you want it.
  3. Sand off the old stain. You sand with the grain and in straight lines. Don’t do circular motions. Start with the tougher grit paper first and then the lighter grit to make the surface smooth. You’ll have to hand sand any edges or grooves. This is probably going to be the toughest most time consuming step. I did this step outside.
  4. Prepare for painting!
    • I painted in my living room because I didn’t want leaves or bugs falling on to my wet surfaces and it was just too windy. My living room was fine, just make sure you can ventilate if needed.
    • Lay your drop cloth down.
    • Take the drawers out and lay them on their backside.
    • Apply painter’s tape along the top’s edges to avoid getting paint on them.
  5. Clean with your good cleaner (TSP) and cloth. Follow the directions on the bottle about mixing in the appropriate amount of water. Then let it dry, it shouldn’t take long.
  6. Painting time!
    • If you didn’t buy a paint and primer combo, you’ll probably want to prime it first but then again you could probably get away without this because you’re going to put a protective coat on.
    • Otherwise, pour your paint in the tray and begin painting with your roller. Again, don’t make circular motions or anything weird like that.
    • Let it dry overnight because you’ll lightly sand the paint again before your second coat. After you sand, make sure to clean up the dust before your next coat.IMG_2614.JPG
  7. Add a second coat of paint and let it dry again. This is something you could do like after work or before you go to bed because painting shouldn’t take long.
  8. By the third day, you’re ready for staining!
    • Place painter’s tape on the dry paint along the edges of the dresser’s top, especially if you have a light color like white.
    • Get your brush or sponge and apply as directed similar to painting.
    • Don’t soak the wood with the stain and remove the excess. Less is more!
    • Wait a couple hours in between coats. Two or three coats should be fine.
    • DON’T sand in between coats for stain.
    • For best results, let it dry over night after all coats are completed.IMG_2629.JPG
  9. While you’re waiting for the stain to dry, you can distress the painted portions of the dresser by sanding with fine grit paper. This can actually be time consuming because it takes a lot of little distressed marks for something to look antique-y. I wish I would have done more but I’m too impatient. I was beyond ready to use my dresser at this point.IMG_2648.JPG
  10. Add a protective coat. As mentioned in the supply list, I used Minwax Polycrylic. It’s recommended to do 3 coats. I only did 2 because yanno, I was impatient but it looks just fine. Let it dry for at least 2 hours in between coats with very light sanding before each coat. Make sure you clean up the dust before adding your protective layer! Let it dry overnight again before handling.
  11. Now you can add your hardware! You can use the dresser after the overnight dry but I would still be careful for a week or so.

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Here’s my final piece in my room now!

***I removed the first drawer on my dresser. If you want to do that, follow all the normal steps of sanding and painting and buy some baskets. Make sure you measure first so you know what sizes to get! On a side note, for my dresser specifically, I had to buy two pieces of thin plywood to fill in some gaps of floor of the drawer space. The picture below shows this better than I can explain.***IMG_2627.JPG

So there ya have it! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

I must say thank you to my boyfriend for helping me with some of the work and my roommates for dealing with me taking over the living room for a week. ❤


 

13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Her

13 Days Until Halloween!

Dressing up is easily the best part of Halloween, & with only 13 days left it’s time to start preparing!


  1. Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girls. Better yet, convince your blonde BFF to be the Serena van der Woodsen to your Blair Waldorf! Both characters have quirky details to make separate from each other, like Blair’s headbands and Serena’s loose necktie. blair
  2. Misty from Pokemon! As Pokemon Go! made its debut this summer, I’m sure we will see quite a few Misty’s this holiday! Her getup requires almost no purchase as you can likely find these pieces in a friend’s closet or your own!misty
  3. Ariadna Gutiérrez, Miss Colombia who was miss-crowned as 2015’s Miss Universe in December. Again, make it a friend costume by having a BFF dress as the actual Miss Universe, Pia Alnozo Wurtzbach of the Philippines. Something like this:miss-universe
  4. Kim Possible from no other than Kim Possible. All you need is cargo pants, black tank, and black boots! Of course the redder the hair, the better but don’t sweat if can’t achieve the red hair by a wig or temporary color.kim-possible
  5. 80’s Workout Guru  – neon, neon, and more neon. Oh, and tights with leg warmers! And viola, so easy and cute!80s-workout
  6. A doll  doll-makeupI like this costume because the makeup. You can really make yourself look like a doll just by using makeup. Clothes-wise, you can pretty much do anything but add a DIY wind-up key to your back for an even more unique look!
    windup-key
  7. Cher Harowitz from Clueless is such a classic go to and so simple too! clueless
  8. The Purge  – this is more fun if you can convince a friend or two, otherwise you might just look a little odd! But it is as easy as a mask and some sort of pretend weapon. purge
  9. Starbucks Barista, because how much more basic could you get? Make it funny by carrying around cups and misspell your friends’s names on them.starbucks
  10. The Final Five – Of course this another BFF group costume! You could go the DIY route with a cheap red or blue leotard and paint some silver stars and make your own gold metal. Or you could buy a similar leotard and a cheap gold metal!final-five
  11. DJ Tanner – 2016 brought us the glory that is Fuller House and while you could do present day DJ, we all know a 90’s costume is much more fun! You might have this costume in your closet with how our fashion trends are going! (and of course, it might be fun to be Kimmy or Stephanie too)

 

12. Princess, Carrie from Carrie, bride, prom queen, Miss America, Dressed to Kill – what do these costumes all have in common? You can recycle your old prom dress that’s just hanging in the back of your closet! Some cases may require to get it a little dirty, but the others just require some extra props which can all be made DIY. For dressed to kill, just carry a toy gun or squirt gun.

13. Pinup Girl – think polka dots, red, black, and white! Bold red lips, bumper bangs, leather leggings. So easy, but makeup is crucial for this costume!

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Paint Swatch Calendar

Another DIY project!

I’m calling it the Paint Swatch Calendar. Make this calendar & you’ll never have to buy another again! And it was so easy!

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Supplies:

Picture frame (size is  up to you! Mine is 11″ x 18″.)

Decorative paper for the background (I used scrapbook paper but had to double up because it wasn’t long enough. You can’t see the seam between the two when it is hung and being used. You could also used wrapping paper!)

Scissors

Ruler

Paint swatches (I used Olympic paint swatches from Lowe’s. They need to have at least 5 different shades on the swatch and you’ll need 7 of them. Mine had 6 shades. Whether you want them to be the same color or not, that’s up to you!)

Glue, an Elmer’s glue stick works just fine!

Scotch tape

Dry-erase markers

 

Steps: *estimated crafting time is an hour to hour and a half*

1. Gather all your supplies.

2. Take a part the picture frame so that you have at least 2 pieces. Set aside.

3. Measure the background paper with your ruler so it is the size of the picture frame back. This can get tricky if your paper isn’t long enough like mine was. But even in that case, all you just have to do some simple adding and subtracting and maybe aligning the paper in the best way so that the seam isn’t so obvious. If you do have to fit two pieces of paper together, tape them together so they don’t move!

4. You can glue the background paper to the picture frame back if you choose. Not necessary though.

5. Depending on the paint swatch type, you may want to cut some of it off so the name or number of the color doesn’t show. I did this. I cut a half inch off from the right side, leaving the swatch to be 1 1/2″ wide. I also cut about a half inch off from the very top color, which is where I write the days of the week.

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6. Okay, so you have 7 days of the week. You can choose to keep spaces in between the days or have them touch. If you want them to touch, you need to measure the width of all 7 paint swatches (they should be the same width so you could just multiple the width by 7) together then subtract that from the width of the background paper, then divide that number by 2 so that your days are centered. So, swatch width times 7 = X, background width minus X = Z, Z divided by 2 = Y. Y is the amount of inches you need to have on both ends of the week (or outside ends of the paint swatches).

7. Make a light pencil mark Y inches in from the left and right edges, towards the center.Skip steps 8 & 9 if you choose to have no spaces.

8. If you do like the look of the space, you need to figure out how much space you want and that depends on how big your frame is. I did a quarter inch in between. Then add up the width of all 7 swatches and 6 spaces. Next, subtract that from the width of the background and then divide that number by 2. So, space times 6 = A and swatch width times 7 = B. A+B= C (width of your calendar). Background width minus C = D, D divided by 2 = E. E is the amount of inches you need on both sides to have your calendar centered in width.

9. Make a light pencil mark E inches in from the left and right edges, towards the center.

10. Now time for the length. This is much easier. First, measure the length of the background, this is Q. Next, measure the length of a swatch (again, they should all be the same), this is R. Now subtract. Q minus R = S. S divided by 2 = T. T is the inches you need on both sides, length-wise, to have the calendar centered.

11. Make a light pencil mark  T inches in from the top and bottom edges, towards the center.

12. Draw very faint lines connecting your dots. You should see a border of the background paper with a smaller rectangle in the middle, where your calendar will be.

13. Now that the math is over (phew!), you can begin to measure and find placement of each swatch. Since you have the dots and lines drawn, begin to glue down the first swatch. It doesn’t really matter which side you start on but after the glue is on the back of the swatch, just lay it down evenly against your faint vertical line.

14. If you chose to skip the spaces, keep gluing your swatches next to each other and skip steps 15-17.

15. For those of us with the spaces, measure that amount you chose (so for me, a quarter inch) from the first swatch you glued down, aligned with the bottom and top. Make a faint pencil dot at both the bottom and top.

16. Line your next swatch up with those faint dots in step 15 and glue the swatch onto the paper.

17. Repeat steps 15-16 until all swatches are glued down.

18. Lay your background paper with your glued swatches onto the frame back so it is straight.

19. Put the frame back together as you would with a photo.

20. With your dry-erase marker, write the current month on the top and days underneath in the smaller color. Next, write the numbers of each day in each square.

Ta-da! You’re finished! Hang somewhere that people can see your beautiful master piece!

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This may have seemed tricky, but I promise you it’s not! There’s just a wee bit of math involved! Other than that, it is simple and well worth it! If you do chose to try to make one for your own, comment with any questions you may have, good luck & happy crafting!

DIY Canvas Rug

This is my first post of this sort so many of you won’t know this about me, but I love DIY projects. I always into art in high school and I still love to draw, but its mostly just doodles in my notebooks now. Throughout college, I found my love of DIY projects. What I mean by projects is home decor, or in my case, dorm decor. So far I have made a picture frame calendar, painted mason jars, among others. Most recently, I finished a DIY canvas rug. So here I am, sharing the process.

 

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Supplies:

  • Paint – I used Valspar samples, which is an interior house paint. It’s held up so far (a.k.a. one week) but fabric paint would most likely be better.
  • Canvas drop cloth – I used a 3×5, of course you can use whatever size you would prefer.
  • Brushes – Definitely use brushes. I bought a trim roller to try too but it bled right through. I guess if you don’t care about it bleeding through onto whatever floor you’re working on, then it definitely soaks through better. But of course if you use a roller you need one of those trays too. I just used one of those cheap ones.
  • Painter’s tape! To make your design of course.
  • T-square.

***I had to buy paint, the canvas, and some rollers. I spent about $15. Still way cheaper than buying an area rug. Everything I bought was from Lowe’s!***

Steps:

  1. Gather your items.
  2. Wash your canvas, with bleach.
  3. Iron out the folds in the canvas.
  4. When you’re ready to officially get started, lay your canvas out on a flat surface. You’re better off if you put something underneath too.
  5. Tape out your design and a border if you’d like.
  6. Paint! If you’re wondering why mine looks so messy – I wish I took a photo of when I had the canvas taped up. The way that it was taped, there was no way I would get perfect edges in the diamonds. This honestly didn’t bother me much because I decided to give in an intentional fade in a way. It may not be some’s cup of tea but I love the way it came out!
  7. Give it a few hours to dry.
  8. Enjoy!

 

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