As long as my husband and I have been married our living room has always had a pile of shoes by the door. So when I spotted this short chest of drawers at Goodwill, I knew it was destined for shoe storage.
I fell in love with the rustic bail pulls!
It was $10 marked down from $15; what a deal! But this guy was too far-gone to be called “rustic”; more like “fugly”. There were
chips chunks missing from the corners and a big gouge along the back edge of the dresser top. The drawers were wobbly and the runners were broken. I had intended to glue, clamp and nail them back into shape but I got a crazy idea – chuck the drawers altogether. But what about that amazing hardware??? I chose to slap the pulls on the sides and go for a trunk look.
First things first; sand all surfaces smooth and patch up with wood filler! I used my favorite, Elmer’s Stainable MAX Wood Filler. It’s extreme!!! Not really, it’s just pretty darn great.
It even works well to secure peeling veneer.
Here’s what the filler looks like after being sanded and stained…it’s not even noticeable unless you know where it is.
Since I was planning on chucking the drawers (a decision based chiefly on the existence of a sound plywood insert that I could use as a shelf) I removed the broken runners.
I almost ran out to buy a new bottle of my old stand-by, Restor-a-Finish, but I still had tons of dark walnut stain so I just used an old dishrag to rub the color into the wood. I didn’t apply it like a regular layer of stain – which you’d normally apply, let sit, then remove the excess – since I was only freshening up the finish, I rubbed it on and immediately mopped up the rest.
The stain brought out all the dings and highlighted the nail holes which I love; it was starting to look legitimately “rustic”:
As you can tell from the dangerously half-hearted attempt to shield the floor from debris and stain, this was a spur of the moment project. I was about to tidy up the living room and when I came to the aforementioned pile of shoes by the door I snapped. Well, I digress…back to business. The plan was to line the inside with contact paper but I couldn’t find any patterns that I liked and after contemplating how much wear and tear this piece would endure, I landed on burlap as the perfect solution: $3.99/yard at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon! I only needed two yards. Score!
There is a trick to cutting burlap; the weave is pretty broad so using this technique will keep the cut straight and prevent the fabric from fraying. Pull a thread out where you want to cut and drag it out of the fabric itself, you’ll be left with a nice straight line to follow. I loved doing this, I didn’t even really use a measuring tape.
Aileen’s Tacky Glue is amazing, it allows for some movement when applying fabric and I highly recommend this over hot glue for this task. However, the glue seeped through the burlap and got all over my hands while I worked. If you choose to attempt this yourself, a damp rag will help remove the never-ending buildup of sticky burlap fur. I mention this so causally, you’d never know that I was muttering curses under my breath as I tried to work with Grinch-like fluffy fingers.
A hot glue gun and some jute rope covered the raw burlap edges. Another Hobby Lobby find, $4.99 minus 40% off.
The sides of the chest weren’t thick enough to support the hardware brackets so I pried the wood facing off the drawers to bolster them up. They got the same sand and stain treatment then I used them as a template to drill the holes for the hardware. I just centered and went to town with the drill. There was no need to otherwise fasten the wood pieces to the chest, the hardware did all the work.
A little Brasso polished the hardware up beautifully. I know I was going for a rustic look, but the dark tarnish made those amazing pulls disappear into the woodwork. Now there’s no way you can miss them!
Here it is!
A little trick I figured out; placing shoes facing toes out versus the heels out takes this look from bowling alley to boutique. This is by no means all of our shoes (chuckling to self) just the ones that get the most wear (and most often end their day by the front door).
Here’s one last look at the big picture;
chest of drawers turned into a rustic shelved faux trunk!
Total Cost: $17.79!