crafts · repurpose

latest free(ish) project: Dresser to shoe rack using its own parts

 Hi all. For those of you that are new, this may seem like a departure from what you thought this blog was about. This is a blog about a family with a child or two with special needs. It’s about those special needs, about our family, and about how I cope with the life I have {love}. 
Growing up, my mom always had “projects.” These projects made me CRAZY. I didn’t get why she always had to be doing something, creating something, etc. We always had to help.  I hated helping. In the process of helping though, I learned that I could fix things myself. I learned how to use tools. I learned how to take trash and turn it into treasure {maybe not so much treasure as less-of-trash}. My father passed away when I was 13, leaving my mom a single parent to six kids. She had a lot on her plate, why did she always take up so much more?
Now I get it. The projects my mom used to do that made me crazy are the same projects now that keep me SANE {mostly}.  I love crafts, I don’t have a ton of money, so when I can take something for free and turn it into something I love, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction {when you hear “satisfaction” do you automatically say it saaaattt-is-faaactttt-tionnn. I can’t get no! No no no!}. 
So here’s my latest free {ish} project. I’d love to hear or see what you do that keeps you sane…please let me know in the comments!


This was SHOCKINGLY easy. I don’t have very many tools out here. We didn’t bring anything pneumatic (no nail gun, which is just the most fun thing to use in the world), and I don’t have my sanders or my miter saw. So when I picked this badboy up off the side of the road, I knew I had to be inventive.

Yes. Another thing off the side of the road. That’s the best part about this place. People just leave stuff out and post it on Craigslist. This was two blocks from my house. I LOVED the curvy lines on it. When we picked it up, I noticed that it was in BAD shape. I wish I had gotten better pictures. It’s a wood piece that had been fully covered with a badly damaged veneer. I tried scraping the veneer off, but it wasn’t working. The two bottom drawer fronts were a total loss. The top of the dresser was hammered to death, too.

So, borrowing an idea I saw on pinterest, I made it into a shoe rack. Here’s how: 

First, I took my crowbar (the best non-power tool) and pried off the top. I flipped it over and used the bottom as the top. I had to fill in the holes from the screws, but it was in a lot better shape than the top. I sanded the crap out of it.

Next, I took apart the drawers. Knowing I didn’t have any of my saws (a jigsaw would have been dreamy to cut the front part of the shelves), so I re-used the entire drawers besides the fronts to make the shelves.

Most dressers don’t have anything between the drawers. Makes it easier to shove too many clothes in them.  For the top shelf, I glued the base in first. You’ll have to center it right in the middle because it’s not as wide as the drawer used to be. There should only be a couple of centimeters in between.  I just used liquid nails, you can use really any sort of wood glue. Then I clamped it down in four spots. While that was drying, I took the back sides of the old drawer and put them together. Since this is going to sit on top of what used to be the bottom of the drawer, there wasn’t enough space for all of it as it was. If you’re doing this, measure using your disassembled drawer first.

So I took the little indent where the bottom of the drawer used to fit into and hammered it off. You can use your crowbar, if necessary. Don’t worry if you split your wood. You’re going to be nailing the sides of the drawer into the side of the dresser anyways.

Where the sides of the drawer met the front there were dovetail joints. So when I yanked the front off, I had little pieces of wood sticking out, like a puzzle. Again, I took my crowbar, jammed the sharp end into the divit above the joint and hammered down on it until it came out. If your dresser doesn’t have these joints, awesome. If you’re stuck in this area with a different type of drawer, send me a picture and I’ll figure something out. Or make my husband.

So after the joint parts were eliminated, I pushed the drawer back as far as it would go before it fell off the back of the bottom of the drawer. I nailed the front to each side of the dresser. In the back, I glued the bottom of the drawer to the wood above. It doesn’t fit well, but it doesn’t matter, no one looks back there anyways.

For the bottom I tried re-nailing the bottom of the drawer to the sides. This kind of sucked. You could do it, but it doesn’t really matter.  So do the above steps again, clamp down the bottom and hang tight until the glue dries.

After the drawers were permanantly adhered to the dresser, I took some spackle and filled in the areas with big dents, holes, etc. I filled the sides where the joints were until they were straight. This took a couple of coats.  Then I sanded the entire thing down again. You can see everything I filled- it’s in white.

Then I spray painted it. In my house. That was a poor choice. They really do mean “well ventilated” area. I inhaled some of it (some of you would use the term “huffing”) on accident and it turned all the hairs inside my nose white. Which made me realize how completely gross the inside of my nose is. I’m a hairy girl. Everywhere.

Then I distressed the crap out of it to make it look like it was intentionally weathered and beaten up. After that, I used a faux glaze that I had tinted brown (with my craft paint. Don’t listen to the jerks at Home Depot, craft paint worked great). I used maybe 1 tablespoon of paint. Just keep adding until it’s a light brown. Using a spounge brush, I glazed it twice. The glaze set into the scratches and distressing and made them stand out just a bit more. It also made the dresser feel hard and smooth all over. Just like me.

(Just kidding. I am neither of those things. )

Then I bought some $1 drawer pulls from Home Depot , stuck them on, dragged it out to the front and voila! Scratches on the wood where I dragged it. another poor choice. I’ll post how to fill those in the future. I made Lance re-screw the top on, mostly because I was winning a game of spades and didn’t want to do it. Done. I finished something. Pat on backs all around.

13 thoughts on “latest free(ish) project: Dresser to shoe rack using its own parts

  1. It looks great! I have a hard time getting the craigslist finds, someone always beats me to them! I hear ya on the paint, I recently painted my nose hairs purple.

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