Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dresser makeover we can live with...

I picked up an old dresser at an estate auction for less than 20 bucks this past Spring. We needed a place to stick our cable box and blue ray player in the living room.
We were not really getting a fab deal. It was ugly, it was old, it had a broken top drawer. But I figured I could make it work, and possibly give it a little makeover.
dresser in rough shape.
This was not a fancy piece of furniture. It was pretty much made of laminate and particle board. Not real wood. The blonde color wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t really go with all the dark wood tones in our home.

On the hottest afternoon of the summer so far this year, I chose to get this baby out and give it a little makeover.

I hastily taped off part of the dresser.

Then I whipped out my supplies...
  • Rust-oleum spray paint in heirloom white (my favorite!)
  • Minwax GEL stain in dark walnut 
  • Foam Brushed
I chose the Minwax GEL for this project because I read somewhere in blogland that this will stain fake wood products such as laminate.

First I spray painted the top with a few coats of heirloom white. 

It was steamin’ hot and humid as heck outside that day, so I wasn’t sure how it would dry. The DIY gods were shining down on me because that spray paint was super dry, super fast.  I know you aren’t supposed to spray paint when it’s hot and humid, but I am a rule-breaker blogger.

After my spray paint was finished on the top, I removed the painters tape and the grimy old hardware.

(....and this is where I was too busy grumbling about the heat to take photos...)

I applied a thick layer of the goopy gel with a foam brush. I was skeptical from the get go. I’ve never used the gel minwax before, but I wasn’t expecting all the goop. I did not wipe off any excess, just tried to smooth it out as best as possible. Unfortunately, it was not looking good.

Honestly, it looked darn right terrible when it was wet. Yet, I finished the entire thing, wondering why I was still wasting my Thursday evening on a sure fail. Then I went to back into the luxury of the air conditioning for the night and considered this a failed DIY.

The following evening I took a quick look assuming it would be headed for the burn pile. But, to my surprise it looked just fine. Still a little uneven on the color, but without the flash of a camera it looks almost natural.
We decided this project was only a semi-fail.

Adam worked his magic and made the broken drawer a makeshift shelf in about 10 minutes from part of the broken drawer. Basically he just ripped it apart and used the bottom of the drawer as a shelf. We stained this with the Minwax gel too with a few quick swipes.

We attached some new “old” hardware that was floating around inside the drawers when we got it. (I assume someone else considered a dresser makeover but didn’t even attempt!)

We brought this only semi-fail dresser DIY inside and put it back in its spot. It happily holds our cable box and blue-ray player once again, but better, and prettier. And now there is room for the cable box & blue ray player inside...and my birthday sheep on top. Priorities.

Any experience or tips working with the gel stains?


  1. Looks great! I have never worked with gel stains, but it turned out great :)

    1. thanks Amy! I will probably use the gel for another project!

  2. I haven't ever tried gel stains. Interesting to note that they work on already finished furniture. I love re-purposed stuff. We are working on an old twin headboard to make it into a shelf for some of my craft supplies and tools. Much cheaper and more satisfying than buying something new, don't you think?

  3. ooooh gel stain, imma have to give it a try.

    1. yep, you should, so much easier if you don't feel like sanding!

  4. I like it! And I like your birthday sheep, too :)

  5. Definitely an improvement! I've never used gel stain before. Great job!

  6. I like this!! I've never used gel stains but I'm so surprised to hear you can put it directly on another finish!! That's good b/c I hate sanding!

    1. yes! it still isn't my first choice of stains etc, but it worked wonders on laminate type material!!

  7. It looks really good, and OMG I FREAKING LOVE THAT SHEEP!!! :)


  8. I haven't tried the gel stains yet, but I LOVE how this turned out! Hard to believe it was only $20!
    Kelly @ View Along the Way

  9. It looks good! I haven't tried gel stain, but I've got a blonde dresser that I really want to stain dark, so maybe I'll have to try!

  10. That looks really good, I've only ever used a wood wax to stain and change colour of wood in our home but this looks really good love the upcycled furniture


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