I have been looking for a large dresser to put in the basement. I needed something to go under the tv for the kid's videos games, DVD's, board games, and books. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it and it needed to be heavy duty to withstand teenagers banging it around. I found this big dude on an online yard sale site and it was free if I'd haul it out of the lady's basement. I talked my son and two of his friends into going to get it with me and I'm glad I did. It weighs a ton!
At some point this was used as a dresser, well used. The large mirror is missing and the door that used to be on front in the middle. I know because the hardware was still there. It was in pretty rough shape!
The top had a lot of water damage where someone had left multiple glasses of water on it and the veneer had warped. I wasn't sure how I was going to work with this so I just started sanding the top, and the frame, and the drawers. I sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more.
I use my palm sander for most of my jobs and I don't expect the corners to be perfect when working on the details. Most of my pieces are rustic so I'm not worried about it looking perfect. I got most of the finish off and was going to paint it with chalk paint so it has a rough texture, not smooth like satin.
I used a pretty heavy grit sandpaper and tapered down to a medium then finished off with a light weight sandpaper until it was smooth.
We decided the top wasn't salvageable at all. We went ahead and sanded it all out so everything was even. We nail gunned pallet boards to the top and the sanded those too. Have I said I sanded? This part seems to last forever! The pallet boards are not the kind you can pick up in the back of a hardware store for $2. These are heavy duty oak pallets we got a from a parent at my school that has a siding business. They've sat out and weathered for a couple of years so they are pretty good pallets, not the splintery kind.
Here you can see how we nailed the top pieces on and we used the sander to match up the curves that were on the existing top. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out or it we were going to need to trim it out but once I finished the sanding process, it looked like it was part of the dresser. That worked out better than I expected.
I then started painting all the drawers and the frame with DIY white chalk paint. It's Dutch Boy Satin from Menards in an off white color. I had it left over from my kitchen cabinet redo. I painted everything twice leaving about a day for it to dry. It was really humid here in Kansas so it took a long time to dry.
I then started sanding the edges and details lightly to take some of the paint off to distress it. Once I got everything distressed I took brown wax and mixed it with clear wax to go over the distressing as well as the white paint. It gave it a rustic look and also softened the white paint. This dresser is going in front of a pallet wall so I didn't want it to look super bright white and I wanted the color to match the hardware I redid. I have all but one drawer left here. I messed up on the first drawer. I had bought red shop rags to use for the stains and tried putting the brown and clear wax on the white paint. Big mistake, it turned the drawer red. I had to resend and repaint it.
For the hardware, I used Rust-oleam's Universal paint. This is my favorite spray paint for all my projects. It comes in lots of different colors, metallics, and I love the grip it has at the top! The color is Aged Copper. It really ties into the distressing color well.
The last step was to stain the top. I used 1" finishing brads to adhere the pallet board pieces on. It was like fitting a puzzle together. What you will need to know about pallet wood is that the pieces are not square usually and occasionally that are a little warped but once you nail gun them down, they stay. I put two coats of stain on and a coat of polyurethane in a satin finish. I did't want much of a shine of this piece at all. It took three days for the polyurethane to dry. We had to bring it in the house to get it to cure at all.
Sorry my products always look so sloppy. I forget to take pictures ahead of time. The Dark Walnut looks really nice with the cooper handles and the distressing.
Here are the before and after comparison pictures. I think it cleaned up pretty well. Since this piece was free, the only expenses I had in it are the sandpaper, (I used quite a bit), the stain, brush for the stain, new shop rags, and spray paint for the handles. I had the white paint and wax already from other projects. I also had to buy some more nails for the nail gun. If I calculated it out, I probably spent $40 on supplies.
Here's the dresser in the basement. We don't have the flooring done down there yet, it's just polished concrete right now. I think it looks nice against the pallet wall. Not too bad for a trash to treasure project. The teenagers seemed to love it, well after they got done lifting it and moving it downstairs that is. This once piece of trash headed to the dumpster will get well used!