When an old, solid timber set of drawers is pining for a brand new outfit, dress it up with a coat of white paint and accessorise the drawer fronts with a confident spectrum of stain and varnish in earthy hues. Put to use as a buffet or sideboard in your living space, this showroom worthy stunner will shine for many years to come.
Gather your supplies
• Solid timber chest of drawers
• Water-based stain blocker n Dulux Aquanamel Semi Gloss in Vivid White
• Water-based stain and varnish (we used 6 different colours)
You’ll also need Goggles and face mask; painting tools; 6mm plywood (see Notes); fine- and medium-grit sandpaper; clamps; Sika SuperGrip 30 minute construction adhesive; drill and bits; drawer knobs Simply the chest
1. Before you begin, measure the flat face of each drawer and have 6mm plywood cut to suit these dimensions at your local hardware store (usually for a small additional fee). Substituting thinner plywood runs the risk of peeling or cupping over time.
2. If your piece of furniture is appropriate, consider sanding and applying stain and varnish direct to the drawer fronts.
3. Switch to an oil-based topcoat if you prefer the finish.
Step 1 In a well-ventilated area, remove drawers from chest. Using a screwdriver or drill, remove handles from drawers. Wearing goggles and mask, and using medium-grit sandpaper, sand chest and front of drawers to give tooth for stain blocker to stick. Wipe away dust.
Step 2 Spread out a drop sheet and put all components on top. Using a mini roller, paint flat surfaces of chest in stain blocker and use a brush to paint detail areas. Allow to dry
Step 3 Apply stain blocker to edges of drawer fronts. There is no need to paint the flat face of each drawer, as they will be covered by plywood. Allow to dry.
Step 4 Paint chest and edges of drawer fronts in 2 coats of Vivid White, allowing to dry between each coat.
Step 5 Away from wet paint and using fine-grit sandpaper, lightly and gently sand plywood pieces, keeping with the grain. Wipe away dust.
Step 6 Using a brush, apply stain and varnish to 1 face and all edges of plywood pieces. For the patchwork effect as seen here, use a different colour for each piece. You may also wish to use the same colour on 2 pieces as we did. Allow to dry.
Tip For greater depth of colour, apply a second or third coat and allow to dry after each coat.
Step 7 Stand 1 drawer on end and, on face of drawer, apply a thin even bead of Sika SuperGrip, 25mm in from edges, and a strip or 2 through the centre. It will ooze, so don’t overdo the application of adhesive. Bring plywood into position, align and press into adhesive. You have about 5-10 minutes to reposition plywood, if necessary. Since adhesive will expand, for best results clamp plywood to drawers and leave for 20-30 minutes to cure. Repeat for remaining drawers.
Step 8 To attach new drawer knobs, working from inside of drawer, feed drill bit through existing drawer-knob hole and drill a hole through new plywood front. To prevent a blowout in your plywood, place an offcut of plywood or timber over position of the hole and drill through into offcut. Repeat for as many holes as required for new knobs.
Step 9 Using a screwdriver or drill, fasten new knobs in position. Move chest into its new position, then place each drawer back in chest, arranging into desired pattern.