DIY Thursday: Mod Podge Dresser

If you’ve found me for the first time from Do-It-Yourself Day at A Soft Place to Land, welcome! I hope you’ll take a look around MoneywiseMoms. I’ve only recently started decorating my house; usually I’m talking about saving money when you shop online, cooking ahead, and FREE summer fun with kids. I’ve been in a real home improvement kick this summer, resulting in projects like this:My dresser re-do is finally done! I gave a progress report on in a few weeks ago, but you know I work slowly (it took me two years to finally paint that dining room buffet). I gave you a bunch of details in that progress report, but a lot of readers want a full tutorial to learn how to refinish yard sale furniture, so here’s the play-by-play:

Step 1: Purchase dresser for $20 at yard sale because it was solid wood, in good shape, and had “good lines” (to me, that meant it was girly for my 3-year-old twins). Tolerate husband’s eye rolling as he carries it from car into the dining room….where it sits for two months.

Step 2: Find inspiration, tips, and fabulous advice from Amy at Mod Podge Rocks. Learn about the different formulas of Mod Podge and what I’ll need to cover the drawer fronts with pretty paper. Take a deep breath and forge ahead…

Step 3: Take drawers and dresser outside to sand off shiny finish. I used a palm sander, a super-fun and great beginner tool.

Step 4: Prime drawers and dresser with primer leftover from basement painting two years ago. Still outside, this results in bugs and pollen stuck to the surface. Move the drawers down to the basement, and the base back into the dining room

Step 5: Let project sit for another few weeks…

Step 6: Choose off-white paint for base color, cheaping out and using a gallon I found in the basement storage left by the previous owners. Yes, I used wall paint. I don’t know the official “rules” about what paint to use on wood furniture; I was just going the shop-your-own-house route.

Step 7: Go to SIX stores looking for the right scrapbook paper to match lavender walls and cream dresser (that was my mistake–I should have picked white). Finally find perfect paper, spending all of $3.00. I bought the Mod Podge Hard Coat at Amazon for FREE with my Swagbucks.

Step 8: Cut and apply scrapbook paper to drawer fronts with Mod Podge. Amy suggested I spray the back of the paper with sealer, and the ones where I remembered to do that look a lot better. I brushed Mod Podge onto the drawer front, a little onto the paper, adhered the paper and pushed out the air bubbles with the fake credit card from my kids’ cash register. Ssh, they don’t know it’s gone.

Step 9: Seal the entire dresser, drawer fronts and all, with Hard Coat Mod Podge (I could have used polyurethane, but it requires good ventilation, and I was still working in my dining room).

Step 10: Buy new knobs at Home Depot. Balk that I paid $25 for the knobs when I only paid $20 for the dresser. Return the knobs. Buy cuter, better-shaped knobs at Ikea for $5.97.

Total cost for the made-over dresser? About $29, and it turned out great! Right now– instead of holding clothes–it’s holding bears, kitties, and other small animals, all tucked in for the night. Maybe it will graduate to clothing at some point.

A note–I would not recommend this as a beginner project. It had a ton of steps, took a long time (even without procrastinating), and parts were really frustrating. Even though I truly believe that “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful,” this project really tried my patience and pushed my perfectionist buttons. Between the albatross of the buffet and the dresser in my dining room for months and months, I am vowing to do smaller DIY projects from here on out.

Look for more Mod Podge projects from me in the next few DIY Thursdays (they’ll be easy, beginner projects). For more DIY projects–from makeovers to crafts to recipes–go to A Soft Place to Land.


  1. Twice Remembered says:

    What a sweet transformation! Perfect! That was so funny about using the kids credit card, lol, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who take a while to get around to painting projects. I have a whole garage full of stuff to paint! But it's fun to go "shop" my garage when I get ready to work on a project. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Southern Fried Gal says:

    Looks good! So fun that you are incorporating budget decor into your blog! Can't wait to see all the freebies you get with your SLAH blog party dollars!

  3. Chief Family Officer says:

    Wow, Gina, it looks great! :)

  4. Lindsay@ THAT'S SO CUEGLY says:

    LOVE THE REDUE! What a fun and easy new look! Go Mod Podge! Come check out my end table at DIY DAY!

  5. Thanks for checking out my project and commenting. Re: tile size. I think they are the standard size–what is that 4×4? I'm so sorry. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of crafter…

  6. Mod Podge Amy says:

    You are AMAZING! I love this. Your perfectionism worked . . . definitely in your favorite. GO GIRL!!

  7. luvtosave says:

    it looks beautiful! really great job! never heard of mod podge

  8. Infarrantly Creative says:

    Came over from MPR…love what you did. I did a desk once…you cna check it out on my blog but haven't done a dresser yet. It turned out great…you should be proud.