DIY Rustic Dresser Transformation

DIY Dresser with Rope Handles
After moving into our circa 1915 farmhouse I began looking at the furniture that we’d brought with us, and it was truly a sad state of affairs. I’m going to be completely honest and say that I’ve never attempted any furniture DIYs and that interior decorating is not my strong suit. I know what I like when I see it, but it’s hard for me to envision the entire plan in my mind. One I DO have a plan, however, I am ON IT like a rat attacking a cheese puff.

Our master bedroom furniture is a hodge-podge of pieces acquired at various times and includes a chest of drawers that I have been using since my teenage years. It’s been well-used, and beat to hell in the process, but not in a charming sort of way. It just looked sad and unattractive, silently pleading with me to give it a makeover. I knew it was time to embark on a DIY Rustic Dresser Transformation.
DIY Dresser The Original Sad Chest of Drawers
See what I mean?

I consulted with Pinterest tutorials, the paint wizard at my local Home Depot store, and various friends that are well-versed in the ways of refinishing furniture to devise a plan for my piece of furniture’s facelift. These are the items I used in painting the drawers.
DIY Dresser Things I usedAll were purchased at Home Depot, but trust me, I’m not receiving any compensation or incentives from them for writing about this… although that would be AWESOME.

I decided that I would use a white chalk paint to completely coat the dresser. Using a Wooster “Vintage Effects” paintbrush, I painted it with Americana Decor Chalk paint by in the shade “Everlasting” after lightly sanding it. The chalk paint doesn’t require the furniture to be sanded before application, but since I’m going for a rustic, shabby chic look I wanted it to have more texture and aged distress.
DIY DRESSER One Coat of Chalk Paint

I had originally intended to leave the piece the white chalkboard color and just do more post-paint distressing by hand-sanding, but I decided to go with a tinted glaze instead. My helpful Home Depot paint guru guided me to purchase a can of Behr “Faux Glaze”, and I chose a sample-sized can of Behr paint in “Bear Rug” to be mixed with it. At his direction I also bought an empty paint can and mixed the paint sample with the entire quart of Faux Glaze in it. I painted the chest of drawers in sections, and rubbed the freshly painted glaze away with painter’s rags I also got from Home Depot.DIY Dresser Applied Glaze before wiping

When this step was complete, I bought a can of Minwax Polyurethane sealant and painted a nice coat of that on the chest of drawers. It took a few hours to dry completely, and after letting it air out overnight I brought it into my bedroom.
DIY Dresser Glazed and Sealed

After looking high and low for hardware that met my criteria (cheap, rustic, attractive, available in two different widths) I came up with nothing, and decided to think out of the box. I scoured the Internet for ideas, and came across the usage of rope handles on many DIY Rustic projects. After deciding that I didn’t want to fool with plugging up the original hardware holes, I felt like this would be most easily accomplished by buying eye bolts and sisal rope. 3/16 sized eye bolts were perfect for the preexisting openings with 1.5 inch length screws.
DIY Dresser Eye Bolts In Place

I accidentally bought some 2 inch eye bolts as well, and they worked but are a little bit long and stick into the drawer farther than necessary. It’s likely that I will replace these later with 1.5 length eye bolts. I cut about 1.5 foot of the sisal rope for each handle. The entire three strand rope was too wide to pass through the eye bolts, so I removed one strand.
DIY Dresser Separate the Strands of Rope
The two strand rope was a perfect fit. I threaded the piece of rope through one side, made a snug double knot, then threaded it through the other eye bolt in the pair, making sure that I left an appropriate amount for a handle. I didn’t want it to be so big that it flopped loosely, but wanted it to be large enough to put my hand into so that I could use it to actually pull the drawer open. I then double-knotted the rope on that side. Repeated these steps for the handles nine more times and my project was complete!
DIY Dresser Tying the Rope Handles

I absolutely love it in our bedroom, and painted our two bedside tables using the same steps and components that I used for the chest of drawers so that they would match. Looking forward to telling you about the other projects I’m attacking!

Next Up: Re-purposing a kid-tattered, pressed-wood, cheap TV stand into a bench/blanket-holder for the end of the bed.

Actual Pictures of Products were borrowed from the Home Depot website. Home Depot has not compensated me in any way for my endorsements, although it would be a whole lot cooler if they did.

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