This is a great solution if your piece has missing or mangled drawers.
There was actually nothing wrong with this chest of drawers. It was just kind of ordinary.
I wanted to change it up … so I decided to up cycle a chest of drawers into a bookcase!
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How to Up cycle A Chest of Drawers Into A Bookcase
We started by removing three of the drawers along with all of the hardware and runners inside of the dresser. We also removed the back of the dresser. This is easy to do. The back is usually just a piece of thin plywood that can be pried off.
Next, we purchased several boards of rough wood at the hardware store to up cycle a chest of drawers into a bookcase. We used the boards to build up the inside walls of the bookcase all the way around.
Before we assembled the boards, I painted each one with Real Milk Paint, the all-natural line of milk paint we sell at our furniture store All Things New Again in Leesburg, Virginia. The Real Milk Paint colors I used were Yellow Rose, Redstone and Pumpkin, a pretty autumn palette.
I used Real Milk Paint products to create the rustic look on the exterior of the bookcase. This is the same technique I used a few weeks ago on the vintage door I turned into a family message center.
I mixed a rich brown color called Warm Ash with Real Milk Paint’s UltraBond, a product that promotes better paint adhesion so the finish does not become chippy. I wanted the basecoat to be smooth. The UltraBond also helps milk paint stick better to slick surfaces like this dresser. You can see the base coat of Warm Ash in the photo posted above.
When the Warm Ash dried, I brushed Hemp Oil on places where a piece of furniture would likely start distressing over time, around the edges and here and there. The Hemp Oil creates a resist for the second color of paint you apply, allowing the basecoat color to come through with some wonderful texture.
When the Hemp Oil was still wet, I brushed on a second Real Milk Paint color called Redstone, a nice terracotta color. I did not mix UltraBond into the Redstone paint because I wanted it to chip and distress.
PAINTING TIP: Add UltraBond to milk paint if you desire a smooth finish or need to cover a slick surface. Skip it if you like that chipped, distressed look that milk paint does so nicely.
As the paint dried, it started to crackle in places where I had applied the Hemp Oil. When it was completely dry, I used a scraper and sandpaper to accentuate these spots to give the bookcase a heavily distressed rustic look. I am really into this look right now!
Up cycle a Chest of Drawers Into a Bookcase
Here is the finished bookcase!
You may be wondering about the three drawers we removed. I didn’t throw them away! I have a plan in my head to turn one of them into a display case for the pillows we sell at All Things New Again.
The other two? Well, I haven’t decided yet, but I am sure I will come up with something!
If you have any ideas for up cycling dresser drawers, please let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.
All Things New Again is a furniture store and paint boutique located in Leesburg, Virginia, about an hour or so west of Washington, D.C. We sell eclectic hand-painted furniture and several lines of paint for your next DIY project, including all-natural, non-toxic Real Milk Paint. We also offer painting classes and workshops.