“Enlarge it!” or: Furniture Hacking 101

Have you ever needed more drawer space? This is a very common problem, and one that can be the perfect do it yourself project if you have a few tools, a little knowledge, and a dresser that may be solid but that is less than attractive and could do with a new look and renovated structure. Why not use the dresser that you already have, and make it the starting point for a piece that has double the storage space and twice the number of drawers that can be used?

This project will require some basic woodworking tools, lumber, fasteners and adhesive that are suitable for the wood being used, and then the paints, varnishes, and other supplies needed to finish off the completed double dresser. Since you already have the perfect template in the existing dresser it is just a matter of replicating all of the components except for the top, and then joining the two sections together into one stable piece that is both functional and decorative.

The 10 steps below will help you complete this DIY project with a minimum of delays or mistakes. The lumber used can be any type of wood, and you can use materials that you already have on hand in order to save on the costs of the finished dresser. This is a great way to save a piece that has sentimental value while also gaining more drawer space that you may need.

It’s Furniture hacking!

1. Remove The Drawers And Measure The Structure Components, Diagramming The Piece Fully

The first thing that you need to do is remove the drawers from the existing item. This will allow you to examine the entire interior in order to determine the pieces that you will need. Measure each piece that is included, and draw a diagram that shows all of the important measurements. You will not be able to duplicate the existing dresser if you do not have all of the relevant numbers and list of individual pieces. You also need to remove the top of the piece because the finished item will have a single top that is doubled in size.

2. Duplicate The Individual Pieces Involved

dresser reconstruction
Cloning the drawer…

Now that you have a blueprint or template you can use your woodworking tools to duplicate each piece, paying close attention to the sizes that have been written down. You will have to make every individual component from scratch, including the drawer sides and bottoms. If you are unsure about something you can just look at the dresser that is being doubled in order to determine the proper joining techniques or shapes that you need.

3. Sand Each Piece Manufactured To A Smooth Surface

Make sure that each of the components that you have duplicated have a smooth surface. You can use a power sander or a hand tool. The goal is to remove any rough areas, so that any drawer components and areas will slide smoothly and all of the components will go together perfectly.

4. Construct The Second Half Of The Double Dresser And The Individual Drawers

Now that you have all of the pieces needed it is time to build the second half of the double dresser and assemble the individual drawers. Use nails or screws, and use wood adhesive in any spots where two components join together as well. This will add strength and integrity to the finished product and ensure that it is extremely durable.

Use clamps if possible in areas where wood adhesive is used in order to allow this substance to dry completely. This can help prevent any gaps between panels or pieces. The drawer bottoms should be able to float to allow for expansion and contraction in different seasons. If this is not done then the materials may warp or break over time.

5. Join Both Sides Together And Install The Necessary Track Components

Now you should be staring at two identical components, and these need to be joined together to make one piece that is twice as large. You can use nails or screws to securely fasten the two sides into a single furnishing, whichever you are more comfortable with. A strong wood adhesive should also be used on the side panels that will be joined together to provide further structural support and a superior bond.

Black and White United
Black and White United

Now is the time to install all of the track components, so that the drawers will easily slide in and out of the structure. There are pieces that will need to be installed in the interior of the dresser, and others will need to be placed on the actual drawers. Make sure that these work properly before you move on to the next step.

6. Create And Secure The Single Top Piece

Now that both halves are joined together you will need to create and install the single top component. Measure this area a second time at this point to make sure that you have the proper numbers before you begin. You can choose to create this from a single piece of lumber or you can create panels that are joined together in order to reach the desired dimensions. A solid piece will be more durable and less likely to warp or break, but it will also usually be much heavier and may be more expensive.

Once the top is created it needs to be placed on the dresser and secured in place. This can be done with nails, screws, or brackets, depending on what you already have and what you prefer in this area. Use wood glue or adhesive on this step as well, and give it time to dry completely before doing anything else.

7. Remove Any Existing Finish

If the half of the dresser that was used as a template has paint, varnish, or another type of finish then this will need to be removed. You can choose to chip or peel this off, or you can use chemical solvents that will do the job fairly quickly. Solvents should always be used carefully, and make sure that you work in a well ventilated area and that you follow the instructions perfectly if you choose this method.

8. Sand The Entire Exterior Of The Dresser And Drawers

Once any layers of old finish have been removed you will need to sand the entire outside of the dresser and the faces of the drawers. This will rough up the wood slightly as well as evening out the surface. The end result will be wood that is even and that feels good against the fingers. There should be a slight roughness present in order to hold any finish better that will be applied.

9. Apply The Desired Finish Materials

Now that you have the finished double dresser it is time to apply the desired finish. You can use paint and there is a wide range of colors that can be found for this purpose. Another option is to stain the completed dresser so that the natural beauty and grain of the wood used will come through. This may not be ideal if each side is made from a different variety of lumber though, because the finished look may not be consistent.

Adding a few coats of varnish or polyurethane will help protect the finish and provide a nice luster to the dresser. If you choose to paint the item then use a primer before applying the paint. This will even out any shading in the wood and allow for a color that is consistent across the entire double dresser. You can use more than one shade in order to provide contrast, and metallic based craft paints can be used to add decorative accents if you are feeling creative.

10. Add The Desired Hardware And Put All Of The Drawers In The Dresser

Drawers will need knobs or handles, and this hardware should be installed before you place all of the drawers into the base of the unit. Make sure that any finish has been allowed to dry thoroughly before you install these components in order to prevent any smears or smudges. After you have placed the drawers into the unit you can stand back and admire the new dresser proudly. You can create a piece that works incredibly well with your current home decor, and you can double your drawer space while creating a focal point in any room.

Final words

If you have enjoyed this dresser reconstruction Tutorial, please share it with your friends. Also, you might want to check out moderndaydarwin and his wonderous woodworking projects. This How-To was based on his pictorial.