Make an entertainment center using an old dresser

I’ve been excited to complete this project for quite some time but I think this turned out even better than I had imagined! This is one of those projects that you will see a large transformation with not a lot of work. So let’s get started!

Once I decided I wanted to convert this old dresser into an entertainment center. The first question I asked was “how did I need it to function?” We have 3 components I needed to accommodate. I wanted to make sure that they would fit in the openings I created. I measured the openings to be sure they would fit. Here in the southwest we struggle with an endless supply of dust. GRR! So much dust! So I thought it would be nice to have the compartments enclosed in glass. The glass would allow the components to be accessed by remote but the static electricity won’t attract as much dust.

Glass Doors

Glass Doors

The remaining compartments I decided to leave as closed storage. I liked the idea of using this dresser/entertainment center for photo storage and extra office supplies.

Second question I asked myself is “how do I want my masterpiece to look?” I liked the idea of bringing in some color and creating a library/apothecary style drawer. I thought it would be fun to get the family in on the action. So I selected 4 colors and let them vote on their favorite paint color.

Red was the winner! As you can see it really made a big impact on the transformation of this old dresser!

Red was the winner! As you can see it really made a big impact on the transformation of this old dresser!

To create that apothecary drawer look I needed to remove the raised panels that were adhered to the face of each drawer.

A chisel and hammer was all it took to easily pry each of those off

A chisel and hammer was all it took to easily pry each of those off

Front Panel Before

Raised panels before taking a chisel and hammer to them!

Drawers are now nice and flat!

I used a little wood putty to fill in the holes that were created from the previous hardware and any other imperfections in the wood that might have been created from removing the panels or everyday wear and tear.

Let the wood putty cure for a few hours so that it is very hard a before sanding

Let the wood putty cure for a few hours so that it is very hard a before sanding

Now I was ready to sand. Ugh! Everyone’s favorite part. I started with a 60 grit sandpaper and eventually ended with 120 grit. Since I was painting my piece my only concern when sanding was to create a smooth surface and to remove the previous finish so that the paint would adhere properly. NOTE: be sure to wear a mask while sanding as to not inhale all the sawdust and chemicals from the previous finish. I learned this the hard way. Sometimes I think that is the only way I learn. HA HA!

After I completed sanding I did a small victory dance! I guess it really wasn’t that bad. It only took a couple hours. I chose a paint and primer combination. The primer will make it possible to cover the wood putty easier and you won’t need as many coats to create a really rich color. The primer will also help to cover any differences in the colors I have in my wood left over from the previous finish. I applied two coats and was very pleased with the outcome. However, I still wanted to create a little more depth in the finish so I decided to antique the piece a little.

The Details

Some of my favorite changes made to this piece are in the details. I might be the only one that will pay attention to them but they make me happy.

The first detail, I changed the feet to be more consistent with the style we were creating. The original feet had a traditional scroll work. So I decided to streamline them a bit. I made my marking using a square, and then cut out the scroll work. I think it was a small change that made a big difference.

Cutting off the scrolled feet gave the piece a contemporary look

Cutting off the scrolled feet gave the piece a contemporary look

The last detail is regarding the cords and cables for the components. Now that they were going to be housed in the unit rather than on top, we needed to find a way to have the cords exit the entertainment center in the back and stay organized.

I used a 2 ¼” drill bit and drilled out a large hole in the back. It was the perfect solution! 

I used a 2 ¼” drill bit and drilled out a large hole in the back. It was the perfect solution!

The Process to Antique

It’s a pretty easy process but it does require a little sanding. I know, I know, it was almost enough to keep me from doing it but I promise it is worth it. I used 120 grit to create some wear marks on the edges of the drawers and entertainment center.   Keep in mind that the process of antiquing is to create an aged look. Where do we get the most wear on our wood items? On the edges and corners. So lightly sand just until you see bare wood peeking out. Then get a dark brown stain and a rag. Apply the stain to all the sanded surfaces in a circular motion. Creating a heavier/darker finish on your edges and corners.

In this picture you can see the difference between the two doors: the right one is just painted the other is antiqued. Ignore the masking tape on the glass. 

In this picture you can see the difference between the two doors: the right one is just painted the other is antiqued. Ignore the masking tape on the glass.

Creating the Glass Doors

I marked off the area I needed to cut out to place glass in each door

I marked off the area I needed to cut out to place glass in each door

Using a Jigsaw, cut out the area you wish to place the glass. Now you’re ready to sand the door just like you sanded the rest of the piece. Take a final measurement of the opening being sure to measure in multiple places in case the opening isn’t exactly square. This final measurement will be the size of glass you will have cut. This shouldn’t be every expensive. My local glass shop had them cut in 15 min and only cost $5.15 for each piece. Place your glass in the opening. Don’t be alarmed, if you need to sand a few edges to make your glass fit perfect. Then I used two layers of ½” flat trim so that the glass wouldn’t fall out.

I cut the trim at a 45 degree angle creating a miter edge

I cut the trim at a 45 degree angle creating a miter edge

Once I had everything cut, I glued everything to the door using a clamp to hold it all together as it dried

Once I had everything cut, I glued everything to the door using a clamp to hold it all together as it dried

Learn from My Mistakes

If you plan to use a small nail to hold everything together while it dries, be sure not to nail your glass. You will end up with broken glass and have to make an embarrassing phone call to the glass shop to have another piece cut. This MIGHT have happened to me. GRR.

Attaching Hardware

All the hardware really needed to be in the exact spot on every drawer. So I used wrapping paper to create a template. I like to use wrapping paper because it often times will have grid lines on the back that are useful when creating the template. Mark where each piece of hardware will go.

Use an Al to tap a starter hole

Use an Al to tap a starter hole

Then when the template is removed you will have the exact spot on all your drawers

Then when the template is removed you will have the exact spot on all your drawers

This old piece was on its way to being shipped off to the old folk’s home, but now it has a new life!  Do you have an old item you have reinvented into something new and exciting?

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