Monday, January 23, 2012

The Big Buffet Project: Part it was done!

This was a fun project...a lot of work, broken fingernails, splinters, et cetera, but fun!  So, how did I get the dresser from where it started to the lovely buffet it turned out to be?  A little elbow grease and a few supplies!  I tried to take pictures as I worked, but the garage lighting does not do the furniture justice.  Here we go anyway.....


The dresser measures 77"x20"x32.5"

If you read my previous post, you know that I picked this dresser up on Craigslist from another crafty gal (who ran out of time for this project) for $150.  I found out while working on it that it is a Thomasville dresser with a copyright date of 1968 (Read this post to find out what else I found in this dresser!). 

I started by removing all of the drawers and hardware.  Then, I cleaned out the whole thing.  I finally took the vaccuum to it, because there was so much dust and fuzz inside.
Lots of dust and "mouse evidence" inside!
Thankfully, the top was the only truly damaged part of the piece.  I fixed one drawer slat and that was it.  I sanded the entire piece and the six drawers that I was going to use (I opted to remove the center drawers in exchange for open shelving.).  Then, I really set to work on the top.

After a great deal of sanding, it came out smooth. With a couple of coats of stain, it looked like new!  For this, I used a gel stain in a mahagony color to match my dining room table. If you haven't used a gel stain before, be forewarned it is different than a regular stain!  I found that it "sets" faster and you have to work quickly! (I used the same stain on my kitchen cabinets this past Spring.)  I prefer to wipe it on with a soft cloth rather than using a brush. I let the first coat dry for about 3 hours and then put on a second coat.  I let that one dry for over 24 hours and even then, I was careful about handling the top too much.

The top looked great, so I moved on to the rest of the dresser a couple of days later.  I loved the way the thing looked sanded...kinda rustic.  After doing another project in chalkpaint (which was my plan for this piece), I decided to go another route.  I whitewashed the whole thing by painting it (in sections) with a flat white paint and then wiping it off with a cloth.  I liked it, but it was a little "too white", so (after it dried) I used a rag to wipe-on a brown liquid stain (leftover from another project).  This was perfect!  It brought out the wood grain a little and some of the detailing.
Whitewashed and stained
Peeling off the veneer
While the paint and stain was drying, I spent the next work day on the cabinet door and shelving.  The front of the door had some wood veneer that just peeled right off.  The hole where the original pull had been made a perfect starting point for the jigsaw.
The center was cut-out of the door with a jigsaw.
My Dad helped me cut-out the center with a jigsaw.  We also routed the inside a little, in case I ever decide to add glass (too expensive and time-consuming right now). 
I then spent some time shopping for hardware and found it a frustrating task.  The drawers pulls are quite long and the few knobs I liked were pricey.  Then, I found enough crystal-look knobs for the top two drawers at Michael's Craft Store for only $2/each!  I re-finished the other hardware by spray-painting them with an aluminum color then lightly spraying over them with white.  They dried very pretty.
Re-finished drawer pull

I cut shelves for the center section (behind the door) out of thin plywood (only a few dollars at Home Depot for a 4ftx4ft piece) and painted them white.  I also painted inside that area white.  I liked it, but it wasn't quite right. Then, I saw Liz Marie Blog's post about her dresser-turned-bookshelves and was inspired!  I loved the idea of wrapping the shelves in burlap...and I had a ton of burlap left from Christmas projects!

Burlap-wrapped shelves (where the drawers used to be)!
It was all coming together!  I put two coats of wipe-on poly (using an old sweatshirt rag) on the whole thing.  I love the way the wipe-on poly looks...hand-rubbed and never streaky.  I stapled a small piece of chicken-wire (~$6 for a 2ftX10ft roll) to the backside of the door (for a French Country look).

Chickenwire on the inside of the cabinet door adds a rustic feel.
Overall, the project did not cost me much.  I already had the stains, spraypaints, rags, burlap, and brushes.  I purchased the dresser, white paint, chicken wire, plywood, and 4 new knobs....some of which I paid for with a Home Depot gift card I got as a housewarming gift last Spring!  Oh, and the plate of brownies I "paid" my friend for helping me pick it up! Not too bad, huh?

The best part.....I love it in the space!  It is perfect for what I wanted in the room.  So, don't judge a book (or a dresser) by its never know what you can make of it!

Here is another pic of the finished piece:

You can get a good look at the top in this one and the contrast of it to the rest of the buffet!

This post is linked to: I Gotta Create!'s Kiss & Tell Party Week 4, Oopsey Daisy's Wednesday Wowzers #4,