Tired of your plain old entertainment center? Looking for something a little bit more unique? Then this is the project for you. Turn any old dresser into a new fancy centerpiece for your family entertainment.
This project can be done in a single day or two if you want to take your time.
Used dresser with 3 rows of drawers
3 pieces of 4x4 ½ inch plywood (with smooth surface)
20- ¾ inch screws
3/32 drill bit
Skill saw/hand saw
12- 5 mm shelf pegs
5 mm drill bit
4-cupboard hinges (Style you prefer)
2 inch clamps (plastic from dollar store worked for me)
You can find all of these supplies at your local hardware store.
Step 1: Plan Your Design
Find a used dresser in need of some love. Savers and Goodwill are great places to find
lightly used furniture. We found this beauty for $6.
Whatever your needs and desires, it is always best to put your plan down on paper before you begin. I always loved our old entertainment center because it had drawers and cabinet space. We decided to keep the two top drawers functional and replace the lower four with cabinet space for our gaming systems. Whatever your desires are you can use this instructable to help accomplish it. During this step take measurements of how far apart the drawers are. When you fix them together you want to ensure the spacing will still look the same. Make sure you have all your supplies and an open spot to work in.
Step 2: Tear Down
The first step is to remove the drawers you don’t want and carefully pull the drawer face off of the inner wood. We decided to keep the top drawer on each side for cords and other odds and ins. Turn the drawer over and gently remove all staples holding the inner and outer drawer together. Don’t worry if the drawer face cracks slightly. This happened on almost every one we pulled, but can be easily fixed with some wood glue and filler. Once the faces are all separated you can either throw the remainder of the drawer away, or keep it to use as spare material. You will also want to remove the rolling tracks from the inside of the dresser. If you want to make extendable shelves be sure to keep some of the spare wood and all of the rolling tracks.
Step 3: Fixing Any Damage
If your drawer faces were split or damaged during dismantling now is a good time to repair them. Place a small amount of wood glue under splintered sides and press the two pieces back together. To ensure they dry correctly use the clips to keep pressure on both sides.
Give the glue at least an hour to dry before removing clips. Gently fill any gaps or spaces with your wood filler. While your wood glue is drying on your faces, now is a good time to examine the exterior of your dresser and fill any other gaps or scratches you can find. We used DAP natural color wood filler which is pink when you apply it but will turn to a natural wood color when it has dried. Once filler is dry on all pieces lightly sand off any excess until you have an even finish.
Step 4: Attach Drawers to Support
Now that you have all your faces separated it’s time to measure and cut out the support panel that will hold them together. On this we left some space on the center side of the drawers so that the cabinet doors would not be so heavy. We bought 2 sheets of ½ inch plywood for this as well as to create the center shelf. When measuring how much you need make sure to leave a little space on the top and bottom of the drawers so you can’t see the plywood.
Measure the width and height of the drawer so you will know where screws will be used to hold the drawer faces to the support panel.
Use the measurements you took before to ensure the drawers are spaced properly. The easiest way to do this is to place the drawers face down and properly spaced. Remove any handles so the faces lie flat. Carefully place the support panel squarely on the drawers. Line the wood up with the edge of the drawer face that will attach to the dresser, you will be drilling the hinge into this to ensure it holds all the weight. Now measure out where the support screws will go and drill guide holes. Make sure you hold down the entire board when placing screws to avoid any movement. Once both faces are secure turn the piece over and drill the drawer handle holes through the support board. You may require ½ inch longer screws to reconnect the handles, though our originals still worked. You can now place these pieces to the side.
Step 5: Creating a Bottom Shelf
Because we removed the drawers, each side now has no bottom shelf. Measure the distance front to back and side to side to fill this gap. You want to make sure you measure from the bottom panel on the front all the way to the rear wall so there will be no gaps. Cut plywood to this size and fit it into dresser to ensure it fits. Mark ½ inch below where this piece will be level and using your 5mm drill bit, drill holes for shelf pegs, ensuring that the shelf will sit level.
If your dresser has an open space in the middle like ours then all you have to do is measure the space and cut a shelf to fit. If yours had a center row of shelves, remove these and measure the height you would like your shelves. Drill holes for each shelf support and make sure that they are evenly spaced and measured at the same height, otherwise your shelf will slant.
If you wanted to add a sliding shelf, reinstall a set of your drawer rollers where you would like the shelf to be. Make sure they are even with each other! Take the sides of a drawer and screwed the drawer bottom onto the top of them, creating a rolling drawer that allowed for more room below it.
Step 6: Paint or Stain
Now that all your pieces have been created and are ready to install, you should focus on painting or finishing your dresser. We chose to go with a solid color rather than a stain so we didn’t worry about sanding. If you decide you would like to keep the natural wood look, very lightly sand the exterior of your dresser then apply whatever shade of wood finish you desire. Remember to wipe down the dresser before painting or finishing. Be sure to paint your center shelf and drawer faces to match the exterior. Allow paint or finish to dry, preferably overnight.
Step 7: Attach Finished Doors
Once everything is dry you are ready to connect the cabinet doors to the dresser. Screw hinges onto cabinet doors evenly spaced apart. We placed the top end of the upper hinge 2 inches from the top of the door and the bottom hinge 2 inches from the bottom of the door. Remember to use the edge where to support board is flush with the cabinet face.
Lay dresser flat on its back and place cabinet doors where you desire them to sit, using your measurements for how far apart the door should be from the upper drawer to resemble the original design.
Because one side has the extra width of the support board, you can cut a 1/8 inch piece of plywood and use the wood glue to place it against the inside edge of the cabinet hole so that the entire door sits flat. You can also cut an extra 1/8 piece for each top drawer and glue them in the top center so that they will close evenly with the cabinet door. Press the door down until the hinge lays flat and the door is in the desired position. Mark your screw holds for the hinge. Remove door and drill guide holes, you can then replace the door and screw it onto the dresser.
Stand the dresser up and ensure your doors are even and gaps are correctly spaced. If everything is in the right place stand back and admire your handy work!