Turning an Old Drawer Into a Decorative Shelf...




Introduction: Turning an Old Drawer Into a Decorative Shelf...

Occasionally one finds ones self with an old piece of crap dresser that just isn't worth keeping. Hey, we've all been there, am I right? here's the deal tho, while the main body may be on it's last legs,there may still be some hope for the drawers. I got this idea after we turned some drawers from an old dresser into out door planters. (Sadly that instructable was not made) The Idea here is to turn the drawer upside down and use the bottom as a shelf. kind of make it look like a drawer coming out of the wall. it turned out pretty well. Let me tell you how i did it. As usual, I love comments and polite constructive advice, but this site is to share and support. if you cannot be nice, do not comment at all.

Step 1: Roughly What Will Be Needed...

Here we have a full picture of the finished project. Ta Da!!! It really is a simple concept that shouldn't take longer than the weekend, if you have the time. here is a list of what will be needed. You may find some incidentals that are not pictured. We took these pictures right at the beginning and needed stuff along the way. i will try to list what isn't pictured. 

1. An old drawer (duh)
2. TOOLS: Drill, Sander (or sand paper), Variable speed saw, Stud finder, Bit driver (screw driver set), vice grips, T square ruler/ 18in ruler
3. Paint: Your choice (we chose three colors with different sheens), Painters tape, Brushes
4. Wood for internal frame (I used 3/4in x 3.1/2in),Wood glue
5. Hardware: Four 3in wood screws w/ washers to match. four one inch wood screws. decorative drawer handles or knobs (your preference)
6. Plants: Flower pots x 3, Plants of your choice, decorative pebbles, soil

Step 2: Prepping Drawer...

   First thing you have to do is remove the front of the drawer from the body. When doing this we found that it had been nailed into its slat and we found it simpler to break it off than remove the hidden nail. after doing this we glued the broken pieces back in and clamped them on with vice grips while they dried.
   Then remove the existing handles. Sand the face thoroughly, and measure and drill holes for the new handles if needed.
   Decide how far you want your shelf to stick out from the wall. (We went with 7in) Measure this length on the body parts of the drawer. once marked off, cut them to size. Please, measure twice, cut once, and keep all fingers, children and power chords out of the way.

Step 3: Get to Paintin'...

  Since you have already sanded the face, it is ready to be painted. As stated before, We chose three colors to put into a layered pattern, that match the color scheme of the room.
  Start by applying your base color. if it is a bold color be sure to apply enough coats to make it stand out. (the red took 3 coats)
  Once the base coat is dry, lay down the painters tape in the pattern you have chosen. Then apply your first accent color. (ours was a flat charcoal to off set the satin sheen of the red)
  After the first accent color is dry, lay out the tape for the third, then paint. (the gold we chose was a challenging color to work with. it dried rubbery and wanted to come up with the tape)
  We added a little more of the first accent color as an after thought. Whatever you do is right.

Step 4: Building the Frame and Assembling the Body...

Let me preface this step by saying building the frame was being done while the painting was being done so there are not as many pictures. Sorry. 
  you need to build an interior frame to support the weight of the plants. measure out the inner dimensions of the body pieces you cut earlier. Cut your frame wood to meet these dimensions. The frame you build should fit snuggly inside the body as shown in the picture. glue or screw these pieces together. i did both.
  Assemble the body of the drawer with  the face, once it is done. Glue it all down firmly. 
  Fit the frame inside the body gluing it into place as well. I ended up securing it with four flat black wood screws just to be sure.

Step 5: Mounting...

Hopefully before starting this project you have found the perfect place for this drawer. with plants resting on it, this drawer will be quite heavy. Drywall anchors will not cut it!!!
  Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs. then use your ruler to measure out the height you want and distance between the studs. 
  Measure the same distance on your frame and drill guide hole for the wall screws
  Use those holes as a guide to drill corresponding guide holes in the wall. 
  Mount the shelf by screwing the 3in wood screws into the guide holes. you will be working in a tight space this is the rig i set up to maneuver, a socket wrench, phillips bit, and the socket that fit the bit. (not sure of the size) this allowed me to work within the frame. 

Step 6: Plants and the Finished Product...

There Isn't much i can tell you on this step. as with the color scheme the plants and pots you use are completely at your discretion. we used Orchids and two mini yucca trees, with decorative pebbles to cover the base of the shelf. It is all really up to your taste. just be sure the shelf is secure before setting anything on it or else...big big mess. 
  Whelp, thats about it. hope you have enjoyed this one. let me know what you think. 
  Thanks for reading

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    3 Discussions


    6 years ago

    That's a great idea. There is a substantial frame on the inside so it can hold weight but a compartment could be built into that


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Cool idea....future bonus...put the front on hinges for a extra compartment.