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Great Lakes Dresser

Take an old, out -dated, huge dresser and add a Great Lakes graphic to the front for an awesome addition to Favorite Third Son's future appartment.
Difficulty: Easy
This dresser is huge!  It is a beautifully solid piece of furniture and is just perfect for Favorite Thirds first apartment. :)  And as you can see, a bit dated. Note the scallops - those are pretty awful.  Especially for my son.
And even tho the hardware is considered "vintage" and original.  It is just plain ugly in my book.  What was the obsession with those drawer pulls?
Furthermore, the design of the dresser just isn't quite right.  Favorite Third wanted to eliminate 4 of the drawers to create cabinets on the piece.  Each of the drawers had a large shelf with a facing that had to be removed.
As much as I enjoy a good reno, the deconstruction of this dresser was just plain difficult.  I had to use the multi-purpose tool to cut out the shelves to create the space for the cabinet doors.  As I said, this dresser is SOLID!
Since Favorite Third wanted to have cabinets on each side, I asked a carpenter to build me cabinet doors for them as that is not my forte :)   I like paint, and I like to do a very small bit of carpentry, but for doors, I needed an expert.
I went back and forth on the paint. I know everyone is chalk paint crazy, but I just don't like the finish for this piece. So I painted with just plain old latex and I love it!

Remember this?

The larger drawers had two pulls each, but two on each drawer just seems like way too much for the new design.
The thought of filling in holes from previous pulls and knobs makes me cringe.  The process is such a hassle and never seems to work well, but I just had to make it work.
First I took some wood putty and filled the holes.  Let the putty dry then filled the holes again and again until they were completely filled.
It doesn't matter what color putty you use, just make sure it's paintable or stainable, whatever you need.  Then it's time to start sanding.  The thing is, you always think you have sanded enough and you haven't.
For example, here I thought I had sanded enough, but this is what it looked like after paint.  So I sanded again.
You can still see where the holes used to be.  So I sanded and painted again and sanded and painted again.  Finally, the drawers looked great and it was time to measure for the new hardware.
Favorite Third is an avid hunter and fisherman.  In honor of that, I planned on adding an outline of the Great Lakes to the front of the dresser.
Remember these? A few months ago I purchased an old overhead projector.  You know, the ones we used to have in school back in the 1970's - pre-digital projection and all that.  So all I needed was a great template and a transparency.  Who knew that I was asking way too much?
Off to the store I went with an image of The Great Lakes in hand.  One would think that this task would be easy, right?  After all, while in college I remember creating my own transparencies on printers.  However, in 2017 apparently transparencies are a bit obsolete.  I couldn't find any in my local stores and even my local printer could not do it without me bringing my own transparency in for them to print it on.  Can you believe it?
Time to get creative again.  So I dug out a page protector and a Sharpie and created my own "transparency".
Using the overhead projector I shone the template onto the dresser. Although this sounds easy, it was not. It is sooooo hard to get the image straight.  Move it left to go right, up to go down and so on. Using a pencil I traced the outline onto the front of the dresser.
And then painted the lakes using the same color of the dresser with a touch of white added to it.
And that's it! One beautiful Great Lakes dresser!

Materials used for this project:

  • Dresser   (Craig's List)
  • Pittsburgh Grand Distinction Paint & Primer - Weatherworn Gray   (Menards)
  • Drawer Pulls and Knobs   (Hobby Lobby)

To see more: http://paulatisch.com/great-lakes-dresser/

Ask the creator about this project

  • Charlee Hunter
    Charlee Hunter Troy, MI
    on Mar 16, 2017

    That looks awesome! Of course I'm from Michigan ... hehehe I so want an overhead projector.. I keep looking..

    • Kim
      Kim Racine, WI
      on Mar 20, 2017

      I have seen people use a flashlight in a box with a smaller opening.

  • William
    William Burbank, IL
    on Mar 16, 2017

    Its Amazing! Great color combination. Love that you left the top wood grain. Great job!

    J FITZGERALD San Diego, CA
    on Mar 16, 2017

    Wonderful job, lucky son !

    • Paula Tisch
      Paula Tisch Lake Saint Louis, MO
      on Mar 18, 2017

      😊can't help but spoil them a bit, right?

  • 1984roro
    1984roro Memphis, TN
    on Mar 16, 2017

    very clever - it looks terrific!

  • Brenda  S.
    Brenda S. North Brunswick, NJ
    on Mar 17, 2017

    Omg! This is amazing!!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!