You are currently viewing Stunning Before and After Dresser Makeover with Cane

October 5, 2023

In this tutorial with a little creativity, you’ll learn how to give an old dresser a makeover with paint and cane.

Do you have an old and tired dresser that is in need of a little lovin’?

Today you’ll find an exciting transformation of an old discarded dresser – a before and after dresser makeover with a modern twist!

This old dresser was built by my grandpa more than 70 years ago.

Old four drawer dresser before the dresser makeover.

Grandpa loved to build furniture!

He built dressers, bed frames, coffee tables, built-in bookshelves, cabinets, desks, vanities and more.

Not only was he an amazing craftsman, but he loved building pieces for his children and grandchildren.

When I was graduating from high school, he built me a cedar chest and when my girls were young he built them a darling play kitchen, which is still in my playroom.

His hands were alway busy crafting and building, it truly brought him joy.

Well this old dresser has been passed around the family for many years and ended back at my home.

I was hoping someone would like to reimagine it and use it in their home.

So image how excited I was, when Steph thought she’d like to give the old dresser a makeover and use it in Gavin’s bedroom.

If you’re ready to breathe new life into an old dresser, you’re in for a treat.

In this DIY, we’ll guide you through the steps of refurbishing a tired dresser and infusing it with a chic modern vibe, all while incorporating the trendy element of cane on the drawers.

Get ready to be inspired, as we share some simple yet effective techniques and witness this remarkable transformation!

Join us on this creative adventure and let’s dive into this dresser makeover!

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What You’ll Need for a Dresser Makeover

Before we begin a DIY project like this we like to take a look at what we already have on hand.

As luck would have it, we already had enough paint, wood filler, topcoat and wood glue.

So the only items we needed to purchase were the screen moulding, cane webbing, staples, modern legs and hardware.

Supplies we used:

We also used the following tools:

Welcome to Our Site

If you’re new here, welcome! We’re so glad you’re here.

We’re Michelle and Steph, a mom and daughter team who love to DIY.

Not only are we passionate about making our homes warm comfortable and unique, but we’re also on a mission to help you create that same feeling in your own home.

We’re all about repurposing, creating, decorating and making your home truly yours, but always on a budget.

Undoubtedly we love finding ways to make your home look high-end on a small budget.

Plus you’ll also find a recipe or two as we share our family favorites with you.

We’d love it if you’d join our community of doers so you won’t miss any inspiration for your home.

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Deconstruct Old Dresser

The old dresser top is removed to square off the edges for this modern dresser makeover.

To make grandpa’s old dresser look more up to date, we removed the decorative trim and the dresser top.

For this modern dresser makeover we will square up the lines and make it feel more simplistic.

The dresser top is squared off on three sides with the table saw.

To square off the top we set up the fence on the table saw and cut off the decorative edge on all three sides.

This one step will go a long way to make this dresser feel more modern.

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The last area of this dresser that we want to modernize are the drawers.

The old drawer pulls are removed with a pry-bar and hammer.

The drawers have grandpas classic design, he would route a groove in every piece he ever made.

You’ll find the same groove in the nightstands in my bedroom, a china cabinet he built for my sister, and the play kitchen he made for my girls.

We feel that this look really dates the dresser, so we will be covering the drawers with cane webbing like the desk in my home office library.

Another unique feature of this dresser are the drawer pulls, grandpa made the pulls himself.

A few of the drawer pulls were broken and it was difficult to get the drawer open with them.

They are attached with glue and a dowel, we were able to remove them with a pry-bar and hammer.

I’m definitely going to save the drawer pulls, because they are so unique and I may use them as decor at sometime.

Prep Dresser for Paint

Bondo filler is applied to damaged areas of the old dresser.

Before we paint the dresser, any imperfections in the finish are sanded out.

While we are using chalk paint, which doesn’t require sanding before application, we do want a beautiful smooth finish so sanding is necessary.

We began with an 80 grit, then a 150 grit and finally a 220 grit sandpaper, using our orbital sander.

The next step is to fill in any holes and chips with a wood filler or Bondo wood filler.

We opted to use Bondo wood filler because it’s an epoxy which bonds extremely well to the wood and it is ready to sand in only 15 minutes.

Using a traditional wood filler the wait time before sanding is 2 hours.

If you have questions about using wood filler, wood putty, spackle and caulk, you’ll want to take a look at this post.

Orbital sander fitted with fine sandpaper is used to smooth out the Bondo wood filler.

Once the Bondo has hardened it’s ready to sand.

We used a 220 grit sandpaper in our orbital sander to get a buttery smooth finish.

That’s one of the reasons we love this product so much.

The first time we used Bondo wood filler was on the piano we were restoring and the results are amazing!

Paint Dresser

Black chalk paint is applied for this modern dresser makeover.

As we said before, the paint we are using is a chalk paint.

It was leftover from a project for a client.

Since there’s not a lot of surface to paint we opted to brush it on using our Zibra brush.

The first coat went on perfectly, however when applying the second coat there was a breeze and our paint dried too quickly, resulting in brush marks.

So once it was dry, we sanded down the sides of the dresser with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the ridges.

A flocked foam paint roller is used to apply the second coat of black paint for this dresser makeover.

Then we applied a coat of paint with a flocked foam roller.

Usually when we paint furniture we like to use foam rollers on the larger areas and only use a brush where necessary.

But we were out of foam rollers and didn’t want to make a trip to the store.

Not a good choice!

However we are so excited with these new flocked foam rollers we found!

The packaging says to wet the roller before use, which we did and we loved the results!

Not to mention that rolling is always quicker than brushing!

Live and learn, it would have been better to run to the hardware store from the get go and get a package of rollers.

Modern Dresser Drawer Makeover

To really up the modern vibe of this dresser makeover, we will apply cane to the drawer fronts.

Before the cane is added you’ll first want to paint the drawer fronts.

We didn’t fill in the routed grove or worry about any rough areas from removing the drawer pulls.

Once the cane is installed, you’ll won’t be able see any of those imperfections.

First you’ll want to cut the cane to size, it cuts easily with scissors.

Then you’ll need to soak it in water for about 15 minutes.

To do this we placed the cane into the bathtub filled with enough water to cover.

Soaking the cane helps flatten it out and make it easier to work with.

Pneumatic nail gun secures cane webbing to the dresser drawer fronts for this modern dresser makeover.

Place the cane on your drawer fronts leaving a 1/4″ gap from the edge.

Insert staples, first at each corner and then fill in covering each piece of the web.

We used our pneumatic staple gun, but a manual staple gun will also work.

A miter saw is used to cut the moulding at a 45° angle for this dresser makeover.

Next we will cover the edges of the cane with screen moulding.

We opted to paint our moulding, before installing it.

Or you can leave the moulding natural wood, like we did on the desk.

To begin, measure the horizontal piece of each drawer and cut them to size with the miter saw.

A tape measure is used to determine the length of the next piece of moulding.

Then position the horizontal pieces on the drawer fronts and measure for the vertical pieces and cut with the miter saw.

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Painters tape is placed on mould to keep corners tight while securing with brads on the drawer fronts with can webbing.

Place the mitered moulding pieces on the drawer fronts and hold in place with painters tape.

The painters tape really helped keep all of our corners aligned, but there’s another tip we are excited to share with you too.

Painters tape is placed on the drawer front moulding where brad nails will be placed.

Place a piece of tape where every brad nail will be inserted.

Pneumatic brad nailer is used to secure the moulding to the drawer fronts covering the edges of the cane.

Insert the brads through the piece of tape.

Wood filler is applied with a putty knife through the brad hole in the painters tape on the dresser drawer fronts.

Then fill in the nail hole with wood filler through the painters tape.

Painters tape is pulled from dresser drawer fronts after the wood filler is dry.

Once the wood filler is dry, remove the tape and the amount of sanding you will need to do is greatly reduced.

Fine sandpaper is used to sand down wood filler for brad nail holes.

As you can see, you’ll just have a small dot of wood filler to sand smooth.

You’ll also want to fill in any gaps on the mitered corners with wood filler.

Caulk is applied where the moulding meets the drawer front for a seamless look.

Lastly we ran a bead of caulk where the screen moulding meets the drawer front.

Painters tape is placed on the cane webbing to protect it while the moulding is touched up with black chalk paint.

Finally to finish off the dresser drawer fronts, we taped off the cane and carefully painted a second coat of paint on the moulding.

We used our new flocked foam rollers to roll paint on the top and outside edges of the moulding and then used an angled artist brush to carefully paint next to the cane webbing.

Even with painters tape on the cane webbing, it will not seal properly so you don’t want to get too much paint and have it bleed through.

Apply Protective Top Coat

Apply a polyurethane top coat once the paint is cured to finish off this dresser makeover.

Lastly we want to protect our dresser with a top coat.

You’ve got several options when applying a protective layer for chalk paint.

Often we will use wax, but Steph wanted a matte finish and wax will have a bit of a sheen.

So we are using a matte finish waterbased polyurethane.

We applied 3 coats for optimal protection.

If you are confused about choosing paint for furniture, check out this post, Painting Furniture: Different Types of Paint and Proven Results.

In this guide, you’ll learn which paints are best for painting all types of furniture.

Add New Hardware

Final image of dresser makeover, painted back with cane and moulding added to the drawer fronts.

The finishing touch on any dresser makeover is adding new hardware!

First to lighten the look of this dresser we added these sleek new modern legs.

And the final piece are beautiful modern drawer pulls.

Reveal Modern Dresser Makeover

Final image of dresser makeover, painted back with cane and moulding added to the drawer fronts.
Old four drawer dresser before the dresser makeover.

Can you believe this before and after dresser makeover?

Do you think grandpa would be happy with the changes to his dresser?

Final image of dresser makeover, painted back with cane and moulding added to the drawer fronts.

Steph wondered if he would be turning over in his grave!

But I believe he would love to see our creativity and how we were able to modernize his dresser.

And I truly believe he would want to see it being used and enjoyed in someone’s home.

I’m sure that grandpa would enjoy seeing that his grandchildren and great grandchildren have inherited his love of creating!

While grandpa never did teach me wood working skills, that was reserved for my brothers, I did always have that desire to create and build.

And I love that in a way, I’m following in his footsteps and so the legacy continues.

Love this idea? Then take a look at even more furniture makeover ideas:

Thanks for spending some time with us today, we hope you’ve been inspired to makeover a dresser in your home!

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Renae

    This is absolutely stunning! What a great transformation.

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Renae! We are thrilled with the way it turned out and it’s even better that we were able to keep a piece built by my grandpa still in the family.

  2. Ginger

    I know Grandpa was extremely happy watching from Heaven while his girls were giving the dresser as much love and care as he himself used! Loved the finished product!!

    On another note, you two always give me a smile with your cute seasonal manicures! 🙂

    Always such a pleasure reading and saving your projects,

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Ginger, you are the sweetest! It’s so fun to share our project with you and are grateful for your support. Have a wonderful day!

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