After we lost everything to wildfire, we were lucky enough to be given this Ethan Allen dresser by our friend Mark. It's a GREAT piece - well built, easy to move - but not quite my style. So Mr. TBG and I set to work giving her a fun, funky, rustic, industrial makeover!
Dresser Makeover - Industrial Style! PLUS Link to FREE Maya Printable
First things first - remove the "nubbin" handles as Mr. TBG calls them, and give the whole piece a light sand. This little palm sander was one of the first things I bought after the fire - hard to live without it!
Then I painted the entire dresser with black chalk paint. It was about 20 degrees outside, so I did this project inside the house.
While the pain was drying, I thought about what I wanted to do to the bottom of the dresser. This was the most expensive part of this project -- caster wheels. These were $10 each at the local hardware store. They were a bit too shiny for me (imagine that!), so I soaked them in Acetone for a minute to remove their oily coating, and then sprayed them with oil rubbed bronze paint. Then Mr. TBG cut some old 4x4 posts we had on hand and nailed them into the bottom of the dresser. This made it possible to attach the casters.
Then Mr. TBG cut some old 4x4 posts we had on hand and nailed them into the bottom of the dresser on each corner. This made it possible to attach the casters.
Here is more of what that looked like, with the wheels attached:
And to back up a bit, I need to mention that while the casters were drying, we decided to take some of the old fence boards (from the fence that fell down at our rental, after the fire - so they were free!) and nail them around the bottom of the dresser. Here is a picture of us measuring out the boards:
We had also planned to add fence boards to the top, but it turned out that a light sanding on the dresser body (I love these sanding pads, available at any hardware store), followed by a heavier, more distressed sanding on the top of the dresser (with the electric sander), was a beautiful approach! I then waxed the whole piece (this is sooooo easy, just follow the instruction on the wax jar.... brush on.... wipe off.... let dry for 24 hours.... then buff to a nice sheen). If you don't wax your chalk-painted piece, it will always feel like a chalk board and look kinda dusty, too!
I had ordered glass knobs from Hobby Lobby for next to nothing ($2.50 each!), and I thought they looked okay... but Mr. TBG got the idea to make them even better.
He thought we should pair them with vintage faucet knobs. Turns out that my neighbor Julie had a bunch for me to choose from! It was so easy to add them. I just put the screw (already in the knob) through the hole in the faucet handle, then through the hole in the drawer front, and screwed a nut on the back (which came with the knob).
We decided she needed one last touch.... and I went nipple shopping.... yes, the long pieces in the middle are called nipples at the hardware store! This made me giggle so much. :) I also purchased elbows and flanges. These all got dipped in acetone and painted, too.
And now I have a dresser I can grab on to and wheel all over the house.... you know, for those days that I want to get dressed on the front porch.... or in the kitchen on busy weekday mornings while I'm making my toast....! Haha, not really. They're just for fun. Maybe they'll eventually hold some necklaces, vintage lace pieces, or as my friend Laren suggested, a beautiful chunky throw!
I'm so happy with the end result. From this orange-toned boring, lonely dresser sitting on our front porch.... to this beautiful, funky industrial masterpiece! You could have fun with any dresser by applying these same techniques. I'd love to see your projects. And if you like this one, please share it- thanks!
If you'd like the 20"x30" Maya Angelou print for FREE, just click here! It's a link to this same tutorial on my website -- be sure to scroll to the bottom and you will find a PDF file, designed by me, for the print. I got mine printed at a local printer for $7 and ordered the frame from Amazon for about $35.
And that old-lamp turned plant stand? Instructions for that are coming soon! But you can probably figure out how to do that one yourself. :)
Also, I would absolutely love it if you would follow me on Instagram (@jagcagdesign) and/or Facebook (Jag Cag Design), if you feel so inclined. Support from followers is what drives me to continue posting projects!
Resources for this project:See all materials
Alison on Mar 20, 2021
This makeover is by far the best I've ever seen! I have an old desk that is pretty beaten up. I started to paint it black and wasn't thrilled with it. So 3 years later it sits in the abyss aka garage. Now I know exactly what to do with it, if I can dig it out, lol. Thank you for the inspiration!!!