Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Extend a Dresser

Have you ever wished your dresser was just a bit bigger for what you need?

Today I am going to show you how to extend a dresser.  This tutorial will take you through the process of how I extended my boys dresser to make it taller.  The process would be very similar to make the dresser longer/wider as well.

Lets get started!
Follow an easy step by step picture tutorial on how to extend a dresser, by MyLove2Create.  Great for making it fit your home and your needs.
When I started my boys bedroom makeover they didn't have a dresser.  They were using those plastic bins to hold their clothes.  So I turned to one of my favorite places...the craig's list free section.

free craig's list dresser
I found this little cutie.  This isn't even a screen shot, I took a picture of the screen with my phone to show my sister when I found this.  :)  But you get the idea.  The arrow in the photo shows that this had only been posted for about 20 minutes when I saw it.  I responded right away and was the first one!  Yay!
removing feet from dresser
When I got the dresser I quickly realized that since the top drawers were so small my boys would need more space.  So I decided to extend it.  I still had some good scrap plywood my father in law had rescued from his neighbor's kitchen build so I set to work.

The first thing I did was remove the feet.  I used a crow bar and mallet to pry off them off.  Then I added some 1x4's to each end with glue and nails, thinking this would add support.  I soon realized it wasn't necessary and ended up taking them off anyway, live and learn!
cutting off excess on bottom of dresser
The reason it wouldn't work was because I wanted the plywood extension  on the sides to sit flush with the original dresser sides.  But there was a lip around the whole bottom of the dresser that needed to be removed.  So I marked a line where the lip was, and then cut around the whole bottom of my dresser with the circular saw to remove it.  It made the bottom flat, which is what I wanted.
cutting plywood for dresser extensions
I did some calculations on how tall I wanted the dresser to be.  What was most important was if my second son could open the top drawer and see inside. :)  So when I figured out how long my extension piece needed to be I cut two sheets of 3/4 plywood at that length.  I am not giving you measurements because every dresser will be different.

I also want to note that you need to plan for dresser feet if you are using them.  I made this as built in, so I took into account that it will be sitting on a 2x4 and that added 3 1/2 inches to the overall height.

Once I had my plywood cut I drilled pocket holes on each side.  In the bottom right photo above I have three sheets of plywood ready.  Two for the sides and a middle piece which is just 3/4'' shorter so I could add a 1x2 divider to match the top of the dresser.
measuring trim for dresser
I turned my dresser over and began fitting scrap 1x2's for trim in the front and middle.  On the left you can see some wood on the sides, those are left over 3/4'' plywood strips that are just marking the space for my actually plywood extensions.  They made it easy to mark my 1x2's accurately.  In the photo on the right you can see I am using the middle divider to mark where to cut the 1x2's.

I did this for the front and back...hopefully it will make more since as you continue reading.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
I attached two 1x2's to my plywood, at the bottom, with pocket holes.  These are the ones I had been measuring above.  I did this to both of my plywood sides.  
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
Then I flipped both of the plywood sides with the 1x2's attached over and connected them with my center 1x2 divider in the front.  I will get to the back in a minute.  I attached it with pocket hole screws and glue.  I hope this is making since!
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
Next, I took the whole thing and flipped it over to sit on the bottom of the dresser.  It was a little difficult to do this so I am not sure why I didn't just attach the plywood sides to the dresser first and then add the 1x2's later...obviously I wasn't thinking...you could do it either way.  As you can see above I screwed in pocket hole screws where the arrows are on the right, attaching the plywood sides and the 1x2 front divider.  You can also see the back support needs attention...that is next.

Please note you need to make sure your dresser has adequate wood to drill into for attaching pocket holes.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
For the middle support I added glue to the bottom of the dresser (left) and then added my plywood attaching with pocket hole screws to the dresser bottom.  Then I nailed the plywood to the front 1x2 and then attached the 1x2's in the back.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
Once I had my extension frame done I moved onto adding a new bottom to the dresser.  I use some scrap 1x1's that I used to create a base 1/4 down from the bottom of the dresser.  I glued and nailed them into the frame.  Then I cut my scrap 1/4 plywood to fit the bottom and glued and nailed it on.  I used really small nails and a hammer to do this job really quickly.  I did this on both sides of the dresser.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
This is what my dresser looked like when I was done, much taller!  I flipped it over and gave you a front and back shot.  Now onto the drawers!
adding wooden drawer glides
Because my dresser had wood drawer glides I decided to make my new drawer glides the same way, besides I have lots of scrap hardwood around to do it!  Cutting the scraps to the correct length I glued and nailed (see above for where to nail) them in place, making sure they were flush with the 1x2 in front and back, and making sure they were level.
adding wooden drawer glides
For the middle glides I had to work around the front 1x2 divider.  In order to give my drawer a guide to follow I glued and nailed in a scrap piece the was the same width as the section of the 1x2 that was sticking out from the front.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
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I added drawer glides for four drawers, and also two front dividers to separate the drawer sections, again matching the design of the original dresser.  

It is important to mimic the design of the dresser you are extending to make it look "seamless" in the end.  
cutting wood for drawers
The only money I spent on this dressers was for a sheet of 1/2'' plywood for making the drawers. Using my Kreg Rip Cut and Ryobi Circular saw I cut all my drawer pieces.  I used the original dresser drawers to get my width and built my new drawers off of that measurement.  
drilling micro pocket holes
Since I used 1/2 plywood for the drawers, I decided to use my Micro Pocket Drill Guide with my Kreg K5 Pocket hole system.  This drills a little bit smaller pocket hole, and is great for this thickness of wood.  

Then I glued, and clamped, and drilled away...
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
I gave you a peek at this process in my Dresser and Painting and Trim post.  The drawers on the right are the bottom hamper drawers, I left the front open on them so I could include the hardware cloth.
adding hardware cloth for hamper drawer
I added the hardware cloth to the front of the hampers with a staple gun, then trimmed the excess with wire cutters or pliers.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
All that was left was to measure and cut the fronts of the dressers.  I used 3/4 plywood to match the size of the original drawer fronts and glued and nailed them on from the front.  After they were attached I went back and screwed them together from the inside.  

For a little more detail on the hamper drawer fronts you can check out my Master closet finishing touches post where I made the same type of hamper drawers.  I LOVE them!
painting dresser with homeright finish max pro
At this point the dresser is ready for paint!!  This is the best part because what looks like a hodge podge dresser suddenly becomes one solid piece!  I made sure to fill in any cracks and old drawer pull holes first, sanded it down really well, and covered the parts that I didn't want sprayed (wooden drawer glides and hardware cloth).

I set it up in my garage and used a light grey oops paint I have had for a while.  I sprayed it with my Homeright Finish Max Pro and got amazing results, I love this sprayer!!
installing drawer knob and pulls
For drilling multiple holes for drawer pulls I took the time to make a template.  It made it easy for me to just mark my center mark on the drawer and then I lined up my template with that center hole and the center mark...and then drilled into the two side holes for my pulls.

Here is the dresser in it's new home getting the final touches added.  I stole the top circle knobs from this dresser (which sadly needs a new makeover) and then used some Antique Bronze cup pulls that I had for a different dresser makeover that I just didn't get to.  These pulls from D. Lawless Hardware were soooo pretty and it killed me to spray paint them to match...but I was running out of time and had no money so they were compromised.  Great quality still...but a better finish before I painted them. :( Such is life.
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
Here it is all finished!   It is the perfect size for my boys and they have plenty of room for their clothes!  I am so pleased with how it turned out and so glad I took the plunge to extend the dresser! 
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
I will do a tutorial on how to create the built-in's in another post, this one was long enough!  My favorite part of this dresser extension is the hamper drawers.  It saves a ton of space for separate hampers and looks nice too!  
How to Extend a Dresser, MyLove2Create
If you missed my original post on my Teen Boys Bedroom Reveal don't forget to check it out!  

I hope this post was helpful if you are considering extending a dresser to fit your needs!  Please don't hesitate to ask any questions!  

Thank you so much for stopping by!  

Hugs,
Mindi


12 comments:

  1. wow! An ambitious project for sure and it turned out amazing! You have great vision to piece that together in your head and make it happen.

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  2. Lady, you just blow my mind! The way you find FREE stuff is your super power...it is drawn to you! You have an incredible knack for building amazing things from said free stuff and your plethora of wood you have stored in your private Home Depot lair. lol Seriously, this dresser is creative and looks great! I really love the whole hamper built in. It's a great way to save and utilize space.

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  3. This is just amazing! Love your extended dresser & room makeover. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Pinned &shared. Have a great weekend & Happy Thanksgiving.

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  4. What type of mask do you use when spray painting?

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  5. wow! I'm tired just reading it! :) Mindi, you did another fabulous job creating what you need out of something that was FREE! You're the best at that!

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  6. You did it again! What a great idea to extend the dresser to fit your needs. It turned out beautiful, and functional!
    Thank you for sharing Mindi! Take care, Tali

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  7. Awesome! I just love how you made it work for your space and how pretty it ended!

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  8. This is awesome! As a mom of three boys, I really appreciate your style in their room.

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  9. Wow! What a clever idea. Love how it turned out! Thanks for sharing it with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  10. Holy cow, AMAZING tutorial! The end result looks fantastic... pinning this because I'm sure it will come in handy one day!

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  11. Love this ! Live how you made it all a built in with the desk and shelves. AWESOME !! I am looking for ideas to make over our little boys room into a "big boy" room. Since he will be starting school come this fall he needs a work area in his small room. I love built in's so that's what I am looking for and I just very this idea !! Thanks for sharing this !!

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