Upcycled Dress-Up Station/Repurposed Dresser

I got this dresser at a yard sale and thought it was too good to pass up. It has great bones, tight construction and dovetail joints. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it at first. I thought about stripping the paint and restoring it but the veneer wasn’t salvageable. So there were options to upcycle. Being that I can never seem to make a decision when I have a bunch of Ideas I ran it across my neighbor, Liz. The dresser is now a dress-up station for little girls.

The first thing I had to do was take off the old cracked veneer. I tried the hair dryer method, which is to use a hair dryer to heat up the glue so it is easier to peel off the veneer. I gave up fairly quickly on that. Then I realized that it was about 90 degrees outside and I had the full sun in my driveway. I spent about an hour waiting for the top to get hot enough. It worked for a while but I lost the sun. The next day I was back at it but it was overcast. What occurred to me is something I should have figured out from the beginning.

You first must be familiar with a corn bag. It is a thick cloth bag filled with feed corn. Feed corn has low moisture content so it doesn’t pop in the microwave and retains heat for a long time. These bags are made to be heating pads and work great on tender muscles. So naturally I thought I would put them in the microwave a little longer than I would normally because they were not going to be touching skin. Nuked them, rested them on top of the veneer and 10 minutes later I’m just peeling it off with a putty knife. The corn bags basically steamed the veneer off; it trapped any moisture in the air and made the veneer more pliable.

With that done it was time to move on. Next I took out the braces for the top two drawers and lined the cavity with beadboard. The rest was sanding, priming, painting and sealing.

The finishing touches are a clothes rod and some oversized knobs. I’m thinking that the lager knobs will be easier for a child to grip onto. I was going to add mirrors and hooks to the sides but after talking to my neighbors with daughters (I have sons so I’m clueless on this), they suggested that whoever buys it might want to add their own personal touches to the sides.

So I am ready to sell this piece and I hope someone enjoys using it as much as I did making it.

I think the next time I run across a dresser I’m going to upcycle it into a dry bar. Just to try something different.


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