The $27 dresser

Now that we are in family building mode again our budget is also in family building mode. This means we don’t spend money.

However, we really needed a dresser. I began a search at the mile-long garage sale near our home in Hendersonville TN. I found this beauty for $7. Don’t mind the missing hardware, I just forgot to take the before picture until I had already removed them!

After getting the piece home I began to dream up what my little dresser could become. I definitely wanted green and I assumed I would just grab some rust-oleum and go to work. However, the deep grooves on the drawers needed a change. Enter Elmer’s Wood filler. I wanted to put fabric or paper on the front of the drawers, so I needed a smooth surface.

Elmer’s Wood filler is super easy to use. I chose a shade that matched the dresser and filled in all the grooves until they were more than full. Meaning it was not level, there was excess that needed to be sanded down. I let the filler dry for two hours and then sanded the surface of the drawers until they were smooth.

I then used 2 1/2 cans of Rust-oleum to put two coats on the dresser. Why Rust-oleum? It’s durable, will bond to anything, and can even be used on outdoor furniture. I have kids. I need durable.

After giving the dresser several hours to dry thoroughly I began to cut the paper for the front of the dresser. This is easy but tedious. I measured the drawers and cut the paper accordingly using an exacto knife. I hate scissors. I cannot cut a straight line.

Then I applied Mod Podge to the surface of the drawer, liberally, you don’t have to be exact, it dries clear. And placed the paper on the drawer. I marked the borders with a pencil beforehand so that I wouldn’t put the paper in the wrong place. There is no room for “eye-balling” it when you are doing a piece like this.

When you use Mod Podge the paper has a tendency to pucker up a bit. Don’t freak out. It smooths out as it dries. Then I employed my daughter to “paint” the Mod Podge on top of the paper. I’m a huge advocate for toddlers that want to help. Time spent together is always time well spent. (note the puckering here, it went away as you will see in the final pic)

After applying two coats of Mod Podge we let the drawers dry in the super hot weather. This sped everything up and we were able to put the hardware back on about 30 minutes later. We also lined the drawers with matching paper while everything was drying. And yes, my 4 year old is using a power tool. Isn’t he cute though??

And the dresser is now complete! Happy day.

Dresser: $7

Materials: $20 (Home Depot)

(the yellow mark on the top is a sun reflection btw)

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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