Don’t try this at home folks, a Dresser Dump Redoux

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers, Le Junque

Don’t try this at home.  I should have told myself this before I began this project.

dresser without drawers and free crates found in dumpster

Remember THIS?

My friend called to tell me it was in the middle of her road, so of course, I couldn’t resist the siren song of the dumped furniture!!! It was missing drawers, so immediately I thought it would be an easy fix.  Knock out the drawer supports, put a shelf in, maybe do my little casters trick….voila, new dresser!

Whoa was I wrong.  Rule of furniture Redouxing.  The more staples a piece has, the worse it was made.  This piece was made of staples.  I pulled out hundreds of them, maybe even thousands.

The good news is, when I was finished pulling it all apart, I put it back together more solidly than it had ever dreamed of being in the factory it came from. I did a lot of reinforcing.

Along the way, I did a lot whoopsing too.  Like I banged the top edge of this and had to sand it smooth and fill it in a bit.

I also thought I could use some leftover shelf piece to make the new shelf.  Just cut it down a bit.  What?  My table saw won’t cut it because it is so thick and I don’t have the right blade?  Why didn’t someone tell me this before I did this?

Now that the piece was solid, what to do for a paint finish?  I wanted to go sort of industrial chic, so sprayed the top with Aluminum Spray Paint, then I used a poky thing, the name of which right now escapes my tired brain….to distress it a bit, poke it a bunch of times in certain areas to make it look like worm wood.

After the paint had dried, I glazed it with a Tobacco Brown tinted glaze for an old look. I topped it with CeCe Caldwell’s Satin Finish for an extra durable top.  This piece can be used for food service now too, as it is water resistant, and the finish is hard.

Now I turned my sights to the body of the piece.  I wanted to try something totally new.  I used three containers.  I put about a half cup of CeCe Caldwell’s Smoky Mountain in one, 1/2 cup of CeCe Caldwell’s Memphis Blue in another, and then third, straight water.

A cup filled with CeCe Caldwell’s Smoky Mountain is just Yummy!!!

Memphis Blue

I started by dipping the brush in the water, then the Smoky Mountain, then the Memphis Blue.  I painted the entire piece with this.  When it dried, I did the reverse.  I painted the entire piece and the drawers in a “cross hatch” method for more texture.  I glazed the entire piece with the same glaze, and then waxed it with CeCe Caldwell’s Clear Wax.

Remember these boxes I found in my favorite dumpster a long time ago?

I still had some left!  I painted them CeCe Caldwell’s Vintage White, one thinned coat, then did the wax paper transfer method for the numbers.  Emma added the knobs, and this piece is ready to roll.  Literally!

Check out the bottom too, I added trim to cover the scrap wood.  I had a bunch that I found, guess where…..a Dumpster!

Even though this dresser started in humble beginnings, it has quite a bit of dignity now.  It is solid, I gave it the shake, shake, and roll test.  Nothing gives.  It is as green as a piece can be, almost all recycled materials, and 100% Green CeCe Caldwell’s paint.  Wouldn’t you feel good having this in your home?   It is hanging out at PFM for the January sale.  I hope it goes to a responsible, loving family.  It may not show any wear and tear, or scars, but it had a rough start in life, and needs to have a purpose other than just looking good in pictures.

Rolling this over to these fun hang outs.


  1. Susan

    I’m digging it! Nice rescue!

  2. Bliss

    Pinning it, umm hummm. I thought it looked a little like the R&R dresser at first in it’s rough state, then I saw wheels and I was like oh yeah I’m gonna like where this is headed. But when I saw the small bins I was all like ohhhhh mannnn, I’m gonna love thissss.


  3. debbiedoos

    whew what a job there girlie. But hey if someone has to do, your the perfect gal. Looks awesome!

  4. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    I don’t think there is anything out there that you can’t save!

  5. karin

    Karen, I knew in the tease yesterday that I was gonna LOVE this…Smokey mountain is my fave..Its the color of my bottom cupboards in my kitchen! It wonderful! I love it so much.
    Great job

  6. Virginia

    It’s way cool. I love the paint job. Very creative. Fantastic job as always!

  7. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    wow. the time put in paid off. turned out perfect! wood box drawers are such a good idea too!

  8. Jill Flory

    Awesome job Karen! It looks great!

  9. Leslie

    I don’t know how you do it, time after time. I look at the before and go “What the…?” And then you surprise me! Thanks for the inspiration! Also, I couldn’t find your email, and I’d like to ask you about what kind of paint sprayer you use, because I need one for a furniture project. Can you email me? Thanks so much.

  10. Amy

    SO SO SO fabulous! What a great turn around!

  11. Miss Ellie

    Nice rescue! I’ve never tried CeCe’s paint before. Turned out really great. I’ll have to get some. I love how you add the boxes on the shelf.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Miss Ellie

  12. Hetty

    Super redo! I need this one in my kitchen..

  13. Angie

    Beautiful work. We recently found a drawerless chest on the side if the road and turned it into a gorgeous bookcase. It was soooo muck work but well worth it. Love what you did with this!

  14. Suzanne

    You are a wizard! What an awesome restoration! Love the mixed paint!

  15. angie

    WOW – very cool! You have alot of patience, but your rescue turned out beautifully!

  16. martha at

    Hi! This is super fun. Thanks for inspiring me to not overlook a piece of furniture that looks like it’s beyond help.

  17. Bliss

    One of my fav’s thanks for linking it up GTC.


  18. Taryn @ Design, Dining + Diapers

    What an amazing transformation! You did such a beautiful job with this. I love the paint you chose and the boxes are the perfect addition.

  19. Angie Oliver

    I love this kind of thing! Your work is awesome!



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