Sunday, February 26, 2012

Refinishing the Nursery Dressers

As soon as we knew there was a baby on the way it meant that it was finally time to refinish the dressers I've had since 1982! My parents bought the set when I was born and they have done me well ever since.  I used them until I moved out, they followed me to my college apartment and then to my university house in Lethbridge, but sadly were in storage at the Brother-in-Law's house for the past 5 years.  History proves that these babies are strong but did take a little beating to the paint in the past 30 years.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures to prove it.  My other idea was to post a picture of the dressers in their glory days but all the old family photo albums are packed away.  The picture I had in mind that I knew had the dressers in it also included myself in an undershirt and panties throwing socks at the "photographer" (probably my Dad) with a scowl on my face only he could love.  Aren't you sad you are missing out on that! Anyways, on to how we actually refinished them.......

STEP 1: Beg Dad to store them in his garage while we worked on them for 2 weeks. Difficulty level: EASY ;)

STEP 2: Sand and sand some more.   The original plan was to sand and stain the whole dresser (Difficulty level: Hard) when we realised the time and energy this would take I had to quickly come up with a back up plan.  New plan was to sand and stain the top; lightly sand and paint the bottom (Difficulty level: Not as hard).

STEP 3 & 4: Prime the bottom half while Dad used his master carpentry skills to do the finishing sanding on the tops.   Difficulty level: Easy 

STEP 4: Pick out a colour and paint the bottoms (we did 3 coats).  Since picking out a colour is always the hardest part, this gets a Difficulty level: Hard!  The funny thing is I always choose white.

STEP 5: Let Dad use his mad skills again to stain and varnish the tops. To stain he just wet the rag with the stain and gently wiped it over the dresser. I decided only one coat was necessary as it was pretty dark at this point.  A good tip which we did is to test out a few different stains at varying coats on the back of the dresser drawer (you don't want to sand twice if you don't like it).  He then used 3 coats of varnish.   Difficulty level: Medium

STEP 6: Spray prime and spray paint the handles. Difficulty level: easy if you know what colour.  From the beginning I knew I wanted yellow! Note: We ended up spraying the handles because it is impossible to find 2" spaced handles in this day, all new furniture is made with a 2.5" hole spacing. In the end it was a blessing in disguise, I love the look.

STEP 7: Put it all together and admire your work!  Difficulty level: VERY easy and satisfying! 


Don't they look amazing!? Love them!!

Next up: Lining the dresser drawers.....


  1. They do look amazing - great job! I've been refinishing things a lot lately myself, but somehow always mange to get lazy and don't take the proper before shots. I'm going to try now though, now that I have somewhere to post them.

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