A little paint makes a difference


I was too lazy to put the top drawers back in when I realized I hadn’t taken a before picture.

I’ve owned the same solid wood dresser for decades now, and it’s held up amazingly well. It’s sturdy, holds a lot, and doesn’t dominate the room. However it’s pretty boring – just basic brown everything, from drawer knobs to body – and lately I’ve been eyeing it and wondering how I could spiff it up. I thought about replacing the drawer pulls, but I need 16 of them and anything that’s very unique ends up costing quite a bit.

Pinterest to the rescue! I saw some dressers where the body was painted but the drawer fronts were left stained, and I decided that was just perfect for our room. We have a black and white duvet cover and ombre gray curtains, so I decided to paint the body of the dresser black.

My sister came over to help me, which basically meant motivating me to actually do it. I got a small can of cabinet paint from the hardware store and we used the orbital sander to get off the wax finish that I used when I originally stained it 20 some years ago.

The pulls got a paint coat as well.

After two coats of paint, I let it sit for a couple of days and then put on the topcoat of the same polyurethane I used on my family room tables. Unfortunately I didn’t think about the effect of doing that on a day when it was 88° and the top of the dresser dried too quickly and the polyurethane didn’t completely level out. I’m going to have to get some very fine sandpaper and smooth it and then put on one final coat. The sides and the front were all fine and don’t need to be redone. I think the combination of the heat and maybe putting it on a little too thickly was the problem on top.

The almost finished dresser, with matching dog.

While we were at the hardware store buying the paint, we wandered by a barn door kit that was the perfect solution to my sister’s bathroom door issue. The door swung into the small master bathroom in her house, and took up so much room. She was constantly having to maneuver around it.

The box was an all in one kit with everything that she needed, so after we finished painting the dresser, it was her turn. My husband and I went over and three of us got the door up and working in just an hour or so, if you don’t count the time that it took to drive back to our house to get the ratchet set that we forgot to bring the first time.

I guarantee that door will not stay white and plain very long.

We are both really happy with the changes to our rooms. It feels good to actually get something crossed off the to-do list. All this Covid time has made me fairly apathetic, and I feel like I’m wasting a lot of my days watching the world go by from my couch. So this was satisfying.

Although all that sitting on the couch left a lot of time to watch past seasons of the Great British Bake Off. Which inspired my husband to make these:

Take the power tools away from me

When we moved into our current house almost two years ago, we needed additional storage, and a TV stand, so I bought an unfinished dresser.  Also, a coffee table and book cases, but those I finished long ago.  The dresser remains unstained, mostly because I can always come up with something else to do on nice days.

It also hasn’t had drawer knobs, because I didn’t like the originals and got rid of them and then never found what I wanted to replace them with.  And then a recent trip to IKEA resulted in just the right long bar pulls.

Dresser with new pulls

For some reason, probably having to do with Sweden and the metric system, the pulls were just slightly too short, by less than a quarter inch, to fit the pre-drilled holes.  No problem.  I could drill new holes.

Drilling new holes in the dresser

But it then it turned out that the screws were also too short, probably because these pulls were intended for thinner cupboard doors, and the longest screws of that size at the hardware store were still a little short.  And they didn’t have enough of them, probably to do with the metric system again according to the clerk, so we’d have to special order some.

The screws, both original and longer-but-still-too-short versions.
The screws, both original and longer-but-still-too-short versions.

Having waited a year and a half to get handles, suddenly waiting any longer was unbearable.  It dawned on me that I could use a very large drill bit to sink the screws in deeper, making them long enough.  What didn’t dawn on me is that I have few skills with drills, and my ability to judge the depth of a drilled hole while drilling upside down in a drawer at an awkward angle is pretty non-existent.

I ended up with too shallow holes, too deep holes, too wide holes, and weirdly warped holes. I had to find ways to make suddenly too long screws shorter so the handles would fasten tightly, which involved rubber bands and bits of buttons and the occasional nut when I could find one the right size. I had to keep changing between small and giant drill bits, got saw dust everywhere, and kept losing  screwdrivers until I had four of them underfoot. The insides of the dresser drawers are not pretty.

This was my most creative endeavor to make a screw fit after I accidently drilled all the way through the drawer with the giant drill bit.  All I had that would hold it was a pried off part of a button.
This was my most creative endeavor to make a screw fit after I accidently drilled all the way through the drawer with the giant drill bit. All I had that would hold it was a pried off part of a button.

But we have handles now!  And someday I will actually get the dresser stained.  And make a runner, because that beach towel is sort of embarrassing if I want to call myself a quilter.  And no one looks at the inside of drawers anyway, right?

Dresser drawer pulls

Meanwhile, since this is a fiber crafting blog, to keep me company my sister was embroidering trees and zombies.

Zombies

Embroidered zombies