Start by finding a trash piece of furniture somebody left at the side of the road, like I did or make use of your local thrift shop.
Next here is the main thing make sure you grab something that's real wood, pressed or particle board just won't do...
Once you have your project piece sand it down like there's no tomorrow, after you sanded it down then make your plan for how it should go, I decided to stain and polyurethane coat the drawers and the top. While just staining the sides with out making them glossy.
* key to properly staining wood it to make sure you condition your wood and wipe the stain off. Its not paint so don't treat it as such.
After I stained it I knew I wanted to break up the purely wood look so I decided to go with white paint on the front. (Since the wood was so dark) One thing with this is you always have to be creative with problems that come to get you, hence the strip on the side. The dresser came with a spot of wood putty on the side that wouldn't stain so here comes improvisation I added the white line.
Just a few new knobs and a little work and you can do this in about a day if you rush the dry times. Just remember be creative with your problems
What you need,
Sander with 120 or 150 grit
Polyurethane oil base
Pre stain conditioner oil base
Stain of your choice oil base
A few knobs
Some left over paint
Paint brushes and rags
And that's about it guys
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