This week, I am going to do a chest of drawers makeover. For those who don’t know me, I live in Berlin, Germany. One of my favourite characteristics about Germans is the culture of not wasting things. People are less materialistic and they often tend to re-pair, re-use, re-cycle things.
In Berlin, in particular, it is common to see furniture, home decor, appliances, toys, books, clothes or even plants laying just like that on the street with a note “Zu verschenken”, which means “Give away”. If you need it, you take it. Technically this is illegal, but people still do it, as it is quite pricey to get rid of bulk waste. Besides, as we all know, someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure. So I found this chest of drawers in a good shape and decided to flip it.
The chest of drawers I found on the street has many small issues I need to address first. Each drawer has a different knob and these strange plastic stickers. The bottom panel was assembled backwards. There are some cracks in the wood on the side. Same issue I have found on the corner. The back of the chest of drawers has no panel, which is technically not a problem, but still nice to have. Finally, the top seems to be affected by the weather elements and needs to be repaired.
I took the drawers out. My first step would be re-assemble the bottom part of the chest of drawers as it was assembled backwards.
I decided to examine the drawers and found out, the wooden part that holds the bottom side of one of the drawers doesn’t have a screw and it is wobbly. I have found a screw that fits there perfectly and fixed the drawer. Surprise-surprise, it seems all 3 drawers have the same problem, and I fixed them, too.
The next step is to get rid of the knobs and the plastic stickers. Still unsure what were they for, but they have to go. I don’t like the style when each drawer has a different colour and a different knob.
After that, I am going to use for the very first time a sander. I am going to attach the sandpaper to it and let’s go. The upper surface of the chest of drawers has stains and watermarks because it must have been under the rain for a while. I am going to sand it to get rid of that layer and then will paint it over. Guys, my mistake is to do this at home. I had to clean my entire room afterwards. The white dust was everywhere. My suggestion is, don’t use a sander at home.
Now, let’s fix the back. In my stash, I have thick cardboard from old furniture. It won’t cover the entire back of the chest of drawers, but still will make it look a little better. I am going to saw the piece according to my measures. Using small nails and a hammer I am attaching the back panel to the chest of drawers.
Simply with my finger, I am applying the caulk to mask the cracks.
The final step for today is to paint the top. I am using a Shabby Chic Victorian white colour paint. I ended up giving 3 coats of paint to make it look simply stunning. I have also painted with one layer of paint over the drawers, except for the black one, to which I gave two coats of paint.
I dedicated the second day to work on the drawers. I wanted them to look more aesthetic and expensive.
The first step for today is to measure and drill holes in the places where my new knobs will be. I ordered really beautiful black leather knobs from amazon and now I am going to make the measurements for them.
When it is done, I am going to make a new texture for the frontal part of the drawers by using this jute fabric which gives me the texture and the colour I want. The measure of the fabric should be a couple of centimetres shorter from all the edges of the drawer and you will see later why. I have painted drawers with white colour because the fabric still can be seen through and all tree drawers must have a bright colour.
I am using Mod Podge to glue the jute fabric to the drawers. To make sure it dries nicely, I have put some heavy books on the top.
Next step, I want to make sure the holes I drilled before are visible, so I have used a stick and little scissors to mark the holes.
Next, for each drawer, I want to make a wooden frame. I have purchased 4 and a half meters of these thin wooden pieces and now I will make some measurements to see where I need to make a 45 degrees cut. For each drawer will go 4 pieces, 2 short ones and 2 long ones. All of them have 45 degrees cut on each side. To clean the cuts, I am using sandpaper.
I have glue for wood. Applying a generous amount of glue I am attaching all the pieces of the frame to the drawer.
There are obvious cracks between the wooden pieces, but it is okay because I am going to apply a caulk for wood to close them.
The final step of the wooden frame creation is painting it white. I gave 3 coats of paint for each frame and it just made me happy already seeing how all the pieces coming together. I won’t lie, this project was a little scary to make, because it is more complex than anything I have done before and until the very last moment, I was not sure if it will look good. The idea I have created in my head made a perfect picture, but I didn’t know how it will turn out to be in the end.
The very final step of the project is to attach the black leather knobs and let me tell you, they were the cherry on the top of the cake.
They were the final missing piece of the puzzle and I just love to see the new refreshed look of the chest of drawers.
Black Leather Knobs (6 knobs) https://amzn.to/3ygSVk4
100% Nature Jute Fabric (40 x 185cm) https://amzn.to/3bwbOWf
Shabby Chic Victorian White paint (750ml) https://amzn.to/3fpQrqM
Mod Podge https://amzn.to/3w9lhe1
Have a look at my selection of essential DIY tools https://amzn.to/3gUNnVZ.