Custom Rustic Dressers


Moving in together is complicated and combining all your stuff together is tricky. We both realized that we needed more drawers in the bedroom. Although I took over most of the closet I only had the 2 drawers from the nightstand. Not enough!

photo 2

The search began for new nightstands. After hours scoring Pinterest and overstock I found a bunch that I liked, but nothing was just right. Then I realized what I had to do. I had gone through the promise to myself to not by another piece of furniture from IKEA. And I would have to break that promise. I found two dressers online at IKEA and since they were a blank slate and made of real wood I sketched up a couple designs and checked in with The Man because I just couldn’t decide.

rast--drawer-chest__25877_PE057109_S4 tarva-chest-with--drawers__0143749_PE303250_S4


We both decided on the sketch in the bottom left. He liked the dresser because it had 5 drawers instead of just 3 and I liked it the most for the design. Went straight to IKEA (after selling our other nightstands) and put them together right away.

Then I stalled on staining them for about 2 months… bad I know. I have been busy though! When I got around to working on the dressers I started out with experimenting with the stain. I took the drawers out and tested the stain on the back of two of the drawers.



After picking Special Walnut from Minwax I got started on the drawers. I ‘painted’ on the stain evenly with a paint brush and let it sit. After 10 minutes I wiped off the excess with papertowels. When you do this wear gloves! The stain soaks through the papertowels and you don’t want to have to wash this stuff off your hands. The instructions tell you to wait a long time between coats. I am lacking in patience so I only waited 4 hours in between the coats. And everything seemed to work out just fine. I did wait a full 24 hours before I touched the drawers again.

c1.FotoFlexer c2.FotoFlexer

I taped off the line for the paint to be applied. All I did is marked the measurements with tiny pencil marks. When placing the tape down I was extremely careful to make sure that the tape stayed straight. When painting on the white I was very careful to paint away from the paint. This kept it from leaking under the tape and unto the stain.


This time I waited the proper amount of time and sanded the first coat with 320 sandpaper. After cleaning off the dust I painted on the second coat. I waited about 30 minutes before very carefully pulling off the tape. I repeated this same process on the dresser itself.

d11.FotoFlexerd13.FotoFlexer d14.FotoFlexer d16.FotoFlexer d17.FotoFlexer d20.FotoFlexer

After waiting for 24 hours just to make sure it was all dry and I wasn’t going to bump anything and mess it up it was time for the numbers. I bought stencils at Joanns and got to work. I carefully placed each number and taped them on to the drawers.


e3.FotoFlexer e4.FotoFlexer

After I painted over the stencils and waited about 30 mintues before pulling up the stencils and this is what I found.

e5.FotoFlexer e6.FotoFlexer e7.FotoFlexer

Not good right? I was less than happy. I used fingernail polish remover and q-tips and very very carefully worked on removing the excess paint. Instead of making this mistake I am going to suggest you just draw on the stencil and paint the letter in by hand.


If you do this project and you DON’T want the distressed look just stop now. You will want to put a couple of layers of polyurethane on the dresser at this point. Don’t forget to sand with 320 sand paper in between coats.

e10.FotoFlexer e11.FotoFlexer e12.FotoFlexer

If you want the distressed look, just keep reading.

I started to distress with sandpaper and it just wanted working. It wasn’t distressing it enough. To be completely honest with you all I was too lazy to run to home depot and get rougher sandpaper so I started looking around the house.  I found these pumice stones with my pedicure stuff and thought I would give it a try. Turns out it was perfect! I started on the edged of the drawers and then worked over top of the numbers.

f1.FotoFlexer f3.FotoFlexer

I made sure to rough up all the paint and mark up all the ‘pretty’ that was going on.

f5.FotoFlexer f4.FotoFlexerf7.FotoFlexer

After everything was pumiced and then cleaned off I got the stain back out and went back over everything with another layer of stain, making sure to focus on the newly gouged out marks in the dresser and drawers. I let it sit for about 30 seconds (just long enough to take a picture) and wiped it off.


Because these dressers are distressed and I am perfectly okay with the dressers getting a bit more roughed up I did not put any polyurethane on them. After they dried and all was good with them I moved them back into the bedroom.


I have not yet put on the drawer knobs, because I just can’t decide on what order they should be in. The new dressers cost $99 each (although the shorter dressers are only $35 if you only need 3 drawers) The paint, stain, sandpaper and paint brushes were less than $20. When I was originally looking at dressers the ones I found that I did like were $500-$700. I saved myself about $300!


4 responses to “Custom Rustic Dressers

  1. Hi Melanie,

    I’m Jesse’s aunt (we met at Jesse’s grandpa’s house in Federal Way last Christmas) and I found your blog and started following it. Love your projects! The link on this e-mail doesn’t go anywhere. I don’t think the rustic new dressers post is accessible on your blog.

    Hope to see you and Jesse soon. In the meantime, I’ll be checking out all of your projects on your blog!



  2. Pingback: The Belted Clock | Last Legs Blog·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s