11/27/13

Upcycled: Gang-tagged dresser refab


I recently moved into a new place and have had a lot of opportunity to upcycle, makeover and refab old furniture. Mostly stuff abandoned in the alley behind my building! Somehow, Chicago provided what I needed when I needed it. And this is the first makeover in a series ... very excited to show you!



If I'm going to spend time working on furniture, it usually has to have good bones. This thing... it really doesn't. It's poorly made from the cheapest materials. And I could only salvage 3 of the 6 draws. But I still wanted to see what I could do with it. Possibly because of the gang tags. 

In my part of the city, we see the work of the Latin Kings and the Gangster Disciples with enough frequency that I've learned their names. And I've called the city in to remove their handiwork from my building, more than once. This dresser - apparently a child's dresser at some point - had been tagged. By a kid having a little fun with a marker? Who knows. But I was oddly thrilled by the idea of painting over those marks. Also, I wanted to turn a completely empty space into a craft room and needed cheap (free!) storage. So this thing was going to become storage... so help me. 



I used heavy duty latex paint left over from painting laminate cabinets many years ago. I gave everything about 3 coats. Not sure what else to say ... I painted it white and covered all its marks, scars and tags. I also repainted an old bookcase so I could stand it on top of the dresser and have them "match" somewhat.




Then I had some fun with the drawer pulls. Since pulling together a post on upcycling leather belts, purses etc, I've wanted an excuse to turn a leather strap into drawer pulls. And this old blue purse has been in storage for ages, just waiting to be used for something. I followed the directions at Bunches of Joy and very quickly, easily and cheaply, had made-over drawers!



One small thing: I made the holes with an ordinary nail. Since I was using pleather, it didn't take much effort to push it through. Then I widened each hole a little with a phillips-head screw driver, before pushing the bolt through. I used regular bolts and I think it looks just fine. 




So now the 3 drawers were in ... but...? I've seen this problem solved with a curtain of sorts; something I know my grandmother once did for a doorless cabinet under a bathroom sink. So I made a curtain.




Again, I've had these fabric samples for years. They've been turned into doll's bedding and many other things I can't actually remember. I joined them to make a curtain.




I hung it using heavy gauge jewelry wire and the little hooks usually attached to the back of pictures. The wire sagged, of course. The solution to this: once the fabric is hanging and the wire firmly attached to the hooks, grab pliers and slowly turn the hooks. Like tuning a guitar ... go slowly and stop when the tension looks good. 




And there it is. My alley dresser turned craft storage. Total cost:  about $3 - for the nuts needed to attach the drawer pulls (I had bolts lying around but no damn nuts!).






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