DIY: Upcycled Dresser


This is one project I am very proud of.  I received this dresser from my mother-in-law when she moved and thought it would be a great project to work on.  I began to brainstorm ideas about this dresser last December when I had a flush creativity I talked about in I Finally Did It.  I wanted something nice to display my desserts on to go against my stenciled wall and thought this would be perfect.

As excited as I had been to try it, I am even happier that it’s finished.  This project was very tedious being that I laid the tile on myself and the wall stencil. So, I decided to take my time and work on it when I wanted.  I probably could have finished it in two or 3 weekends if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to stress about it.

After some research on the best paint to use, I chose to cover the wood finish with chalk paint and complete the look with a clear wax because this seemed to be the easiest process.  Then I broke each piece of ceramic tile, glued it in the desired position piece by piece, and filled in the grout.  Lastly, I spray painted the hardware bronze to match my curtain rods and screwed them on.

Here is what it looked like before. This dresser came in a set with 3 other pieces and is very heavy.  A few handles were broken and the wood surface had scuff marks, otherwise, it was in good shape and knew I could do something to revive it.


I cleaned the dresser with a slightly damp cloth and used sandpaper to smooth over the rough parts.  Some of the imperfections didn’t bother me so I didn’t spend too much time with this process.  Then I wiped it down and applied two thin coats of chalk paint.


The next weekend, I began working on the tile. First, I covered the 12 inch tile in a towel and used a hammer to create the smaller pieces. Then, I laid each piece of tile in the desired pattern. I wanted a clean edge all around, however I wasn’t concerned with having to apply the ends of the tile on the edge, so I opted to use other pieces that appeared to be broken kind of straight and fit the other pieces in like a puzzle.  This took forever but I knew that it wouldn’t have the effect I wanted if I just laid it down randomly. Next, I applied glue to the bottom of each tile and pressed it against the dresser surface. The dresser is really long so I did this portion in sections like you see below and worked on it over time.


Close up…


Here is what it looked like with all of the pieces glued down.  I used about six 12 inch white matte ceramic tiles to cover the whole surface.


After the glue was completely dry, (aka a month or so later) I filled in the spaces with a premixed sand grout and a sponge using plastic gloves (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this process.) I think a scraper and professional gloves would have been a better option to apply the grout.  The edges of the tile were very sharp and the application could have been quicker.

Below is what it looked like after applying the grout.  Yep, I definitely should have done this BEFORE I painted the dresser! I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this first. After I applied more grout around the edges for a sharper, complete look, I had to sand down the edges a little and repaint it.


Once the grout had dried for about 5 hours, I used a damp cloth to wipe the sand off (more like scrub) the tiles.


After I cleaned up the grout, I repainted the dresser to make sure there were clean lines where the tile and dresser connected and touched up any areas that had been chipped.  I also painted the drawers inside.


Then I covered it with this wax I found on sale at Target and followed the directions for application.  I ended up using 2/3 of the bottle.


These are a few of the hardware pieces I spray painted. I purchased two knobs from Home Depot, otherwise I used the hardware that came with this dresser and the smaller matching dressers.


Now, it’s done! It’s not perfect, however, I’m very happy with the results and it looks even better in person.  You’d never know that I didn’t purchase it like this.  In true Yazzie fashion, I baked a batch of cookies to celebrate the culmination of all my hard work. I love it!


 Overall, I spent about $85 on this dresser:

  1. Chalk paint: Michael’s – $ 30 (3 x $10, also used coupons)
  2. Clear wax: Target – $4.98
  3. Hardware: Home Depot – $6 (2 x $3 /I think… I can’t find the receipt)
  4. Tile: Home Depot – $7 (six 12 inch tiles x $.99 each)
  5. Wood glue: Michael’s -$2
  6. Grout: Home Depot – $20
  7. Sponge: Home Depot- $1
  8. Sandpaper sheets: Home Depot – $7
  9. Spray paint: Home Depot – $7
  10. Paint brushes: did not have to buy
  11. Plastic gloves: did not have to buy
  12. Dresser: given to me by my mother-in-law

Not too bad, considering a dresser like this would cost at least a few hundred dollars from a regular furniture store, if not more.  The tile came out exactly how I envisioned it to be and the dark grey looks nice against my yellow and white stenciled wall that took me 7 hours to complete. This project took a lot longer than I had expected but I love the results and I’m already thinking of what I can do next.

Until next time… Peace and Love to you!


Posted in: DIY

Leave a Reply