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Old Drawers with a New Life

Old Drawers with a New Life

Hello, all! Here I am with my first DIY post in awhile. I have been working away, creating things for my local shop, and sometimes I forget to document what I create. But, I thought this one was so fun, that I had to share it with you.

I was given an old dresser, and had the intention of fixing it up and painting it to add to my shop. However, upon closer inspection, I found several areas of missing veneer, as well as a warped drawer front – which would be difficult or impossible for me to fix successfully. But, I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good opportunity, so I put my thinking cap on and mulled the situation over for a couple of weeks. Finally, I had it:  I would use the drawers instead of worrying about using the dresser as a whole!

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I was able to salvage 5 of the 6 drawers to be used as…drumroll, please….. kids’ toy and book storage bins!


I ordered up some cheap mid-century-look wood furniture legs for under $2 each, along with the metal plates used to attach them to the bottom of the furniture. I ordered some 7″ legs and some 3″ legs for variety; 4 per drawer…obviously. You could also chose to use casters (small wheels) so the bins could be rolled around; they attach in much the same way, depending on the type of caster you choose.

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Since the bottoms of the drawers were made with very flimsy, thin wood (as most are), I wanted to reinforce them a bit for added strength. And, I needed something solid to attach the legs to. Here is where I repurposed the 6th drawer, which was unusable due to its warped front face. I pulled the drawer apart and cut the sides and back wood into small squares, large enough to fit the metal plates the legs would screw into. I glued these blocks into the corners of the bottom of each drawer with wood glue, then screwed in the metal plates, making sure the screws went into not only the corner blocks, but also the bottom of the drawer for strength. Just make sure the screws aren’t so long they poke into the inside of the drawer! You can see I also elected to leave the wood drawer glide in place, since it was very difficult to remove while leaving the drawer bottom intact, and it added strength to the drawer.

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For each drawer, I then filled any areas of missing veneer with wood putty, and glued any areas coming loose. After letting all of that dry overnight, I sanded the entire drawer smooth – inside and out. Since I intended these drawer bins to be used by kids I made sure to sand down any sharp corners and make sure there were no splinters of loose wood anywhere. I sure didn’t want anyone getting hurt!

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Next, paint! I used up some paint samples I had bought awhile back. They were perfect for this project, because they were vibrant colors, and I didn’t need a ton of paint to complete the project. I primed the drawers inside and out (except the bottom), then added 2 coats of paint, allowing them to dry according to manufacturer instructions between coats. The legs were painted afterward, and I left them partially screwed in so they would dry neatly.

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Here is where you can get creative. I used stencils to add some fun designs to the drawers, and chose some fun accent colors for each. Or, you could choose a more sophisticated or neutral color palette and use the bins in your living room, family room, bedroom – anywhere you need a bit of extra storage!

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A customer who purchased my first 2 storage bins decided to use one of them as a dog bed. How cute is that? She just added a pillow, and voila! I would caution you that the legs on these bins would likely NOT hold your German Shepherd…but for a small dog, they would be great. Or, create one using no legs, and it would work for any pet – limited only by the size of the drawer.

Pet bed from old drawer

So, remember, just because a piece of furniture seems damaged beyond repair doesn’t mean it cannot be reimagined repurposed and used in a different way. Nothing is ever wasted if you use your imagination…and some simple materials you may have around the house already. Have fun creating your own storage bins!

Old drawer storage bin

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