Repurposing a Dresser into a Toddler Bench: Part 1 7

I can barely hold my excitement because I am so excited to tell you about my latest project, Repurposing a Dresser into a Toddler Bench.

I have a friend who gave me a stinky old dresser. It was blue with four drawers, had baking powder in every drawer (she was trying to get the stink out), and smelled like cat urine. Some of the wood had chunks out, and one of the drawers was lucky to still be together. She thought I could do something with it. Challenge accepted!



It sat in my garage for a good four months before I really started working on it. I was looking on Pinterest and stumbled upon this pin about turning a dresser into a toddler bench. So I thought that’s what I do.  Easy enough, I’ll just cut some pieces out and paint it!

I took out the drawers.  Easy.


Then I thought I just take the jigsaw to it.  Not so easy!  That worked out great until I hit a screw and broke the blade. Unfortunately I had no idea how to fix that, so I had to enlist m3y husband help. The bad thing was that it was my dad’s saw. It’s fixed now.  Shhh…Don’t tell him!

Plan B. Take the top off with a hammer. This worked. I started using the hammer to demolish the drawer supports that weren’t needed. This also worked.  Making headway!


The worst part were the guides that had been screwed in tightly to the corners so the drawer supports had something to sit on. It took some muscle and a few tools including a screwdriver and a drill, but I got those out too.

Ahhh… It’s starting to look More like a bench and less like an tired, old, worn-out dresser.

Because of the way the dresser was built I knew I needed to reinforce the whole thing (bottom, sides, and back).  I went to my dad’s wood shop and stole a few pieces of wood. Again, shhh.  I have no idea what kind of wood I was stealing.  I later found out that one was poplar. I used different kinds of wood and I’m ok with that.  (I didn’t think this mattered too much, but in hind-sight, I wish I would have used something lighter because I can barely lift the finished product by myself.)

I thought that I could just cut the pieces to fit, except I did not have the proper saw.  I needed a table saw, and only had a jigsaw.  Jigsaws are great for, what I like to call “freehand sawing”.  They are not great for perfectly straight lines, which is what I needed.

If nothing, I am resourceful.  I went to the high school and had the shop teacher help me cut the wood with his table saw.  What a nice guy!  And…I still have my fingers!  And…the wood pieces are straight!  Perfect!

Now, I need to secure the wood to the structure.


I got all the pieces where they needed to be. My original idea was to hammer nails into the boards but my awesome hardware store guy told me to use screws and so that’s what I did.  He said that nails can move around over time.  Well, that makes since, there’s just a straight nail keeping the pieces together.  You would need something with some teeth.  Screws it is!

IMPORTANT: If you screw to closely to the edge of the wood, you will likely split it. I did this only  twice. But I knew I was just going to fill in the cracks so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Next, I need to fill in all the cracks.  I happened to have some silicone, actually a ton of silicone. This is not the right material to use (unless it’s sandable, which mine wasn’t).  But, it’s what I had and I’m cheap.  I knew I would be painting it black and as long as I could make everything smooth it would work. It did.  My husband wasn’t impressed… He actually tried sending me to the hardware store to buy the right stuff.  And lose all this precious time?!?!?  Nap time only comes around once a day!!!  I gotta make this time count!

At this point, it looks great except for the top of the three sides.  They looked unfinished. I found some old molding that I had and if I put the two pieces together it seemed to complete it. It wasn’t perfect because the dresser wasn’t perfect. That dresser had been dropped who knows how many times and one part was kind of giving way. That was really one of the main reasons why he needed to have a reinforcement in the first place.


So I went to the Home Depot and found #205:

WM 205 1-1/8 in. x 1-1/8 in. Oak Outside Corner Casing

It’s big for molding but it looks good on this particular project. I bought some. By the way when you’re buying molding from the Home Depot and it says a $1.48 that means per foot. I got to the counter and it was over $22 when I was thinking I was only going to pay a couple of dollars. Many times these projects make me stupid!  Clearly, I hadn’t put too much money into this at this point, so $20 didn’t hurt the budget too much!

The most difficult part of this whole thing was learning how to use the miter saw. I knew that I wanted a 45° angle on six molding pieces but I couldn’t figure out how that was going to look once I cut it because I was drawing the 45° mark on the top of the molding.  When you cut, you need to have the mark on the inside so you can see it. It took a lot of trial and error in my husband’s help but we eventually figured out how to do it. If you are going to use a miter saw, watch this video.  Tip: Don’t cut your fingers off.

I nailed on the top (because those won’t move so much and a nail is a good solution), filled in the cracks, sanded, refilled, re-sanded. Then I had to make sure everything is really clean before I painted it. You can do this with cheesecloth. Wal-Mart sells it and so does your hardware store.

It was FINALLY time to paint. I couldn’t believe I was going to buy a gallon of black paint. My dad would have kicked my butt. So I only bought a quart. I needed less than a quart, but if I’m buying, I normally buy a gallon of paint because it’s cheaper and I always use it again.

Because the paint was black I used my worst paintbrush which I kind of wish I would’ve done but I did it anyways.  IMPORTANT: Make sure when you’re painting do not leave any drip marks you spend all this time working on this lovely piece of furniture and if you leave drips, it shows on the finished product. That’s crazy.  The finish is really the most difficult and most important, so take some time on this!  You can also paint with Floetrol.  It cuts down on the brush marks.

Floetrol is a painting conditioning agent that helps eliminate brush marks.

And that’s that!  How’s she look?!?!?!  Don’t you love it???


Now here is the very last of this, if you ever paint a drawer please, please, please, paint the inside of the drawer.  I had never seen anyone paint the inside of a drawer until I stumbled upon Fancy-Schmancy Furniture. I LOVE IT!  When you paint the inside, it gives it a nice finished, clean look.


And now, Repurposing a Dresser into a Toddler Bench should be a breeze!  Haha!


The cushion will come later.  I’m not 100% satisfied with the outcome, so I want to re-do it first.

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What’s your favorite repurpose?


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7 thoughts on “Repurposing a Dresser into a Toddler Bench: Part 1

  1. Reply Gail (@repurposedlife) May 14,2013 9:24 pm

    great job! I love your toddler bench. :) isn’t it so much fun?


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  4. Reply Terri Seibert Holmgren Jul 3,2013 10:17 pm

    I did something similar with an old dresser, but basically just made it into a bookcase for the corner of my bedroom. It was a smaller dresser, Did not have to remove shelf supports…just slid boards in for shelves. Works great for smaller deco items and stacks of books. Where I got the idea, they suggested using the drawers to fasten to the wall and use for shelves or storage boxes. Did not need them for that.

  5. Reply Dorothy Jul 4,2013 9:37 am

    With a little tweaking, this could be a great dog bed as well!!

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