It’s remarkable how simple it is to turn a plain, unfinished dresser into a lovely piece of furniture just by adding a few strips of moulding.
This simple DIY project comes from Darnetha Myers of ChippaSunshine. We asked her to come up with a super simple, and super effective DIY project for our DIY Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. Our only requirement: The project had to make use of something from the Millwork Department at The Home Depot.
Follow along with Danetha as she shows how she used moulding strips and an paint to transform the look of her unfinished dresser.
How to Use Moulding to Upgrade an Unfinished Dresser
- Plain Dresser
- (9) ¼ in. x ½ in. x 4 ft. Basswood Tinytrim Rectangle Moulding
- Liquid Nails Adhesive
- 220 Fine Grit Sandpaper
- (4) 4 in. Taper Bun Foot
- Contact Paper
- Speed Square
- Miter Saw and Box
- Clamps and tape
- Paint Supplies
Step 1 – Prepare the Dresser
Prepare your unfinished dresser by sanding it smooth and cleaning away any dust and debris.
Since I was going to be adding new legs, I removed the entire base off the three drawer dresser. This was simply done by removing a few screws.
Step 2 – Dresser Drawer Fronts
To get the dresser drawer fronts ready for the intricate moulding installation, create a guide to place your cut moulding trim.
Using a ruler and speed square, measure 1 in. down around the perimeter of each drawer front.
Now that you have your guide, cut the moulding trim so that each cut piece fits inside the drawn perimeter. For a more professional looking job, miter each corner at a 45-degree angle.
Cut list for basswood tiny trim moulding:
**Your dresser measurements will be different but here are my guidelines
Tip: Measure twice, cut once and have a couple of extra trim pieces just in case.
A – 6 pieces @ 29.5 in. miter
B – 6 pieces @ 6 ¾ in. miter
C – 3 pieces @ 26 ¼ in.
D – 6 pieces @ 2 ½ in.
E – 6 pieces @ 2 5/8 in.
Dry fit the moulding to ensure a proper fit. Adjust the measurements where needed.
Clean up cut edges with 220 fine grit sandpaper.
Using Liquid Nails, adhere cut moulding trim to face of each dresser drawer.
Apply a thin bead of adhesive to cut trim piece. Place the moulding in the desired location and press it in place.
Use clamps or tape in place until glue starts to set up. It took approximately 10 minutes for the glue to set up, but allow 24 hours for it to cure completely.
Have a damp cloth nearby to clean up any adhesive that may seep out before it dries.
If needed, apply wood filler to any gaps, allow it to dry, and sand it smooth.
Step 3 – Paint
Prime and paint the dresser. You can use a roller and brush, but sine this piece has many crevices from the applied intricate wood trim I used a paint sprayer.
In a well ventilated area, preferably outdoors, spray one coat of primer and two thin coats of paint, allowing appropriate dry times between coats.
My paint sprayer calls for diluted paint. I called Behr to see what their dilution rate is for the paint base 3050.
Here are their specs: 2 ounces of water per quart of paint and 8 ounces of water per gallon of paint.
Tip: Sand between coats for a smooth finish.
STEP 4 – Add New Furniture Legs
The legs were boxy and a bit cheap looking on this dresser, but changing out the dresser feet is an easy way to completely change the look of any dresser.
To add new legs, turn the dresser upside down protecting the newly painted top with a drop cloth or foam board. Line up the triangle top plate in each of the corners. Mark holes with a pencil, drill, and screw them into place. Screw on feet and done!
To add extra pizzazz, add some contact paper to the sides of each drawer. It’s a happy surprise every time you open your drawers. There’s a lot of bright, fun paper to choose from. For this project I used the coral floral adhesive shelf liner.
I took the dresser drawer apart for this step. Not every dresser will allow for you to do this, but you can still follow these simple steps.
Measure the sides of your dresser or trace on the back of the contact paper.
Cut the paper to size.
Peel back about an inch of the protective back and apply the laminate to your dresser sides.
Line up and smooth with hand, making sure there are no air bubbles or wrinkles.
Continue to remove the protective backing as you move across the side of the drawer, smoothing as you go until completed.
To finish off your dresser install knobs and style!
I’m so happy I accepted Home Depot’s DIY Challenge. Millwork is a little gem of a department. I always had this idea for my daughter’s dresser/ nightstand, but when I started browsing the millwork department I saw all this fabulous tiny trim moulding that suited her dresser. I love it and find myself just popping into her room to look at it!
Darnetha Myers is a wife and a mother of three amazingly active kids– a girl and two boys. She loves everything crafty, including sewing, cooking and organizing. She’s a true DIYer who writes about her passions on Chippa Sunshine. She lives in Nashville.