Saturday, March 2, 2013

West Elm Dresser Knock-Off

The last few weeks have been a little hectic.  My daughter had a piano recital a few days ago, and also just competed in a piano competition last night.  She did such an awsome job.  I just had to share how proud I was off her.  She is turning into quite a poised little lady.

After her competition, we drove straight to my son's belt test for karate.  This test was kind of a big deal, so he was really nervous, he asked us to stay home.  The fam and I sat in the car and watched through the front windows while he tested.  He had no idea we were even there.  I am proud to say that my son is now a ban-bu belt and is only two belts away from a black belt.  Hi-ya!!!

{sorry for the grainy pic, my husband took it on his iphone}
Is it just me, or is he channeling his inner Napolean Dynamite?  Congrats on your sweet, karate skillsss.

I rarely share personal stuff, mainly because this is a DIY blog and personal stuff just doesn't seem to fit the content.  But, technically, I did make my son and daughter, so I think it counts. 

I have also been working on a dresser revamp for the last week or two, in between my stints as chaffeur, maid and cheerleader.  It was a bit of a challenge since the median temperature here in SLC has been about 35 degrees.  Spray paint and freezing temperatures do not go well together.

It took me a little longer than I expected, but I can finally say...she's done!

She started out in pretty rough shape.  She had a layer of paint that was peeling off.

And underneath ,the finish was a hideous, blonde color with dents, scratches and chips all over. 

I was able to look over all of these superficial imperfections mainly because she had the gorgeous, mid-century style that I absolutely love.

I removed as much of the paint and old finish as I could using Jasco brand painter stripper.

Once I had the majority of the paint removed, I gave her a good sanding and a few coats of spray primer.  I took care to sand in between each coat.

After two coats of primer, I gave her coat of gloss white spray paint.  Once she was finally dry, I sanded her again and applied another coat of spray paint.  In total, I ended up doing about three coats of paint.
I really wanted to do something new and different with this dresser.  After a couple days of thinking about it, I decided to try my hand at using wood veneer.
I used REAL wood veneer that I purchased off of  I ordered three different colors a dark maple, a light birch, and a natural/gray walnut.  The sheets of veneer I purchased were 2 ft x 8 ft and were around $20-25 a piece.
I liked the way all three woods looked together, so I decided to use a combination of them on the fronts of the dresser drawers.  I was a little nervous at first, having never worked with wood veneer before.  But, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to handle. 

 I simply placed the face of the drawer down onto the backside of the veneer and traced around it with a pen, then cut the piece out.

I could very easily cut the veneer with sharp scissors, eliminating the hassle of using any kind of electric saw.  I was beyond excited about not having to spend any more time in my freezing garage.

Once I had all of my pieces traced and cut out, I adhered them to the drawer fronts using this stanky, toxic crud...which, coincindentally, resulted in an unexpected vanilla pudding craving

{I painted a coat on both the drawer front and the back of the veneer with a disposable brush, as per the recommendations on the back of the adhesive.}  By the time I went to bed that night I had a headache...and the munchies.
The veneer stuck immediately to the drawer fronts, which meant there was little room for error when placing it on.

It took 2-3 days for the adhesive to completely cure and then my dresser was ready to go.  Up until now I had kept her hidden away in my closet, but now I think she deserves to be put somewhere she can be seen.

She turned out pretty great!  She reminds me of a dresser I saw at West Elm a couple weeks ago.

Patchwork Dresser
I was really impressed by how beautiful the veneer was and how easy it was to work with.  I think I may have found my new, favorite product.

I had previously bought hardware similar to the dresser's origional hardware.  The brushed nickel finish looks great against the natural wood grain.

In total, I spent about $10 for the adhesive, $75 for the veneer and $15 for the spray primer and paint.  That's a grand total of $100.  If I remember correctly, the dresser selling at West Elm was $999. 

Now that's a savings worthy of frostbite and permanent nerve damage!!!


  1. You did a beautiful job with the dresser. Kudos!

  2. Wow, well done! It looks amazing! I've never worked with veneer before, you made it look fairly easy.

  3. What a beautiful transformation. Very inspiring.

  4. wow what a great transformation, it turned out beautiful, i would love to feature it, if that would be ok please let me know,

  5. Erika, that dresser looks amazing! I am so glad that you are coming down here this weekend and you can show me how to do this. I LOVE it!!!!

  6. That turned out so great! I love what you did. Amazing work.

  7. Beautiful dresser - I love the colours and you make the transformation look easy (I am sure it wasn't!). You should be very proud of yourself.

  8. OMYGOSH! I love it! Now I want one, too! Great job!

  9. I saw this on The Refab Diaries. It looks so classy! Amazing job!

  10. What a lovely project! We don't have that store here in Australia, but I like yours better anyway ... FYI (the guy who supplied mine for a previous project told me) when using wood veneer, you can actually rough-cut your pieces & stick them on with an overlap, leaving the trimming til after the glue has dried. It's easily trimmed down to the drawer-front size by using a router, a wood file or even a heavy sanding block (you can also pre-score the drawer shape with a craft knife if you want, to stop any splintering), depending on the thickness of your particular veneer. Saves you from having to hurry to get it together & perfectly lined up before the nasty smelling glue dries. :)


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