Learn how to update your old dresser with a few packs of wood shims and some stain from the home improvement store! This DIY dresser makeover can be done in a day and will give your bedroom a West Elm feel for a fraction of the cost.
At the beginning of the year when the Christmas decor comes down, I’m always itching to get some new furniture or accessories to update my space. Last year, I’d been drooling over some of the gorgeous pieces in the West Elm catalog with different colors of stained wood mixed together. I definitely can’t afford the thousand dollar price tag, so I decided to update my own dresser. For less than $40, I created this upcycled wood shim dresser:
I marked the shims with a pencil so I would know where I needed to cut each one. An easy way to do it is to cut about 12 of the shims in half, and then you can add 2 of those halves to one full-length shim to create one row of your pattern. On alternating rows, I slightly overlapped 2 full-length shims. Just keep playing with it until you like the look, and make sure all of the shims are laying as flat as possible.
When you are ready to stain, start with one color at a time, and take the pieces you want to stain in that color off of each drawer. When you are staining the wood shims, brush the stain on with a natural bristle brush (the cheap ones work great for this!) and then let the color sit on there for 2-5 minutes. The longer you leave it, the more the stain will penetrate. Wipe off all excess stain and then place those pieces back into your pattern on the drawer front. Continue doing this for each stain color until every drawer is complete!
I let them dry overnight, and this is what they looked like in the morning. All ready to be glued on!
Here is the hardest part. I’m not gonna lie…. getting them adhered to the drawers was kind of tricky at times, but after my first drawer it got easier 🙂 I used this Power Grab adhesive to stick the wood shims to the dresser drawers.
This stuff is pretty powerful once adhered! But it is repositionable for 15-20 minutes, so you have to make sure they are in place and weighted down if necessary for at least that amount of time. I used heavy cans from my pantry to keep some of the shims in place.
I put a nice sized glob of the construction adhesive in a few spots on the back of each shim. Make sure you have enough at each end, and some in the middle. You have to get a feel for it because you don’t want it squishing out the ends either!
I glued them on, one shim at a time so I could keep the pattern in tact. Here is one of the drawers when I was done gluing:
One secret… I did have to use some hot glue on a few of the pieces that weren’t staying flat. It worked well to keep them in place until the adhesive was dry. When all the drawers were done, I let them dry for about an hour just to make sure everything was secure, and then I put them back in the dresser to see the final result.
The bottom of the dresser still had the old-school curvy detailing that I didn’t love, so I took a piece of thin plywood, stained it, cut it to fit the width of the dresser and attached it to the bottom.
That’s it! It sounds more complicated than it actually was, and I finished this entire project in less than 24 hours. It is like I have a brand new piece of furniture in my room and I love it!! We’d love it if you’d pin this project for later: