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DIY Rustic Industrial Dresser Makeover

Well, we have a TON of milled wood (I still need to blog about that), and some day soon we will be building furniture.  The wood has to be nice and dry first, so until then we are "making do" with what we can find.  We were lucky enough to be given this Ethan Allen dresser by our friend Mark.  It's a GREAT piece - well built, easy to move - but not quite my style.  So Mr. TBG and I set to work giving her a fun, funky, rustic, industrial makeover!

First things first - remove the "nubbin" handles as Mr. TBG calls them, and give the whole piece a light sand.  this little palm sander was one of the first things I bought after the fire - hard to live without it!

Then I painted the entire dresser with chalk paint.  It was about 20 degrees outside, so I did this project inside the house.   I started with the Rustoleum paint but decided it wasn't black enough.

Easy fix - my second coat of paint was Art Minds brand, in onyx (wax pictured is used at the end of the project). This gave me the jet-black look I wanted.

The most expensive part of this project was the caster wheels. These were $10 each at the local hardware store.  They were a bit too shiny for me (imagine that!), so I soaked them in Acetone for a minute to remove their oily coating, and then sprayed them with oil rubbed bronze paint (see my DIY vintage mirror for a picture of the paint can and color). Then Mr. TBG cut some old 4x4 posts we had on hand and nailed them into the bottom of the dresser.  This made it possible to attach the casters.

While we were thinking about adding the casters, we decided that we'd take some of the old fence boards (from the fence that fell down at our rental!) and nail them around the bottom of the dresser.


We had also planned to add fence boards to the top, but it turned out that a light sanding on the dresser body (I love these sanding pads, available at any hardware store), followed by a heavier, more distressed sanding on the top of the dresser (with the electric sander), was a beautiful approach!  I then waxed the whole piece (this is sooooo easy, just follow the instruction on the wax jar.... brush on.... wipe off.... let dry for 24 hours.... then buff to a nice sheen).   If you don't wax your chalk-painted piece, it will always feel like a chalk board and look kinda dusty, too!


I had ordered these glass knobs from Hobby Lobby for next to nothing ($2.50 each!), and I thought they looked okay... but Mr. TBG got the idea to make them even better....

He thought we should pair them with vintage faucet knobs.  Turns out that my neighbor Julie had a bunch for me to choose from!  It was so easy to add them.  I just put the screw (already in the knob) through the hole in the faucet handle, then through the hole in the drawer front, and screwed a nut on the back (which came with the knob).

We decided she needed one last touch.... and I went nipple shopping.... yes, the long pieces in the middle are called nipples at the hardware store!  This made me giggle so much. :) I also purchased elbows and flanges. These all got dipped in acetone and painted, too.

And now I have a dresser I can wheel my dresser all over the house.... you know, for those days that I want to get dressed on the front porch.... or in the kitchen on busy weekday mornings while I'm making my toast....!  Haha, not really.  They're just for fun.  Maybe they'll eventually hold some necklaces, vintage lace pieces, or as my friend Laren suggested, a beautiful chunky throw!

I'm so happy with the end result.  From this orange-toned boring, lonely dresser sitting on our front porch.... to this beautiful, funky industrial masterpiece!  You could have fun with any dresser by applying these same techniques.  I'd love to see your projects.  And if you like this one, please share it- thanks!

If you'd like the 20"x30" Maya Angelou print for FREE, just click here!  I got mine printed at a local printer for $7 amd ordered the frame from Amazon for about $35.

And that old-lamp turned plant stand?  Instructions for that are coming soon!  But you can probably figure out how to do that one yourself. :)

Happy DIY'ing....


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