"Bird In A Tree" Drawers

Ok, I just finished the biggest stinking headache challenge in my budding career.  A set of drawers that my son and I picked up on the side of the road one day on his way to school.  When I got them home, I realized that a lot of it was made of MDF *wood*.  My first instinct was to put them back on OUR front lawn, but NoooOOOOoooo!  I like a good oversized migraine *challenge*, so I kept em.

This is what I had to start out with.  Man, I can't even imagine who had this decor to begin with!

The four drawers missing were actually painted the same color as the top of the drawers.  
It was ghastly!
Did I also mention that I had to scrape and sand TONS of hardened melted wax off the top.  This piece must have been as a former seance prop!

After it was cleaned up, the whole darn thing got a few coats in ASCP's "Olive".  

I first thought to paint the drawers in 3 different contrasting colors and then sand through revealing each color.  It all changed when I got an image of this in my head:

That's what I ended up hand drawing and painting onto the front and top of the drawers.



After painting them, I knew that the bottom drawer tracks needed to be replaced.  No big deal, I just hopped on over to Lowe's and picked up a couple of 16" undermount drawer slides for about $5.00 a piece.  I had to glue 2 shims each end of the drawer slides for each drawer.  It was actually an ordeal since every time I got one positioned and glued, my new Yorkie, Tazo, kept going behind me and pulling one off and taking off through the house with it!  I have never seen him so bloody obsessed with a piece of wood!  I even tried covering them so he wouldn't see them, but as soon as I turned my back, he would pull the coverings off and grab a shim and go!  Needless to say, he got banished to the kitchen for awhile till I finished.  

Last thing I needed was explaining to the vet the "hows and whys" Tazo got wood glued to his lips!

So I wait 24 hours for the wood glue to dry and begin hand painting the front.  Everything is going great as I'm working from top to bottom.  I get to the bottom drawers that I have to remove in order to paint the frame.  I pull on the right one and it's kinda of snug coming out because of the new drawer tracks being on ball bearings and all - no problem though.

Until I take that last tug to get it out.

Suddenly the WHOLE stinking back of the drawer (which remember, is made of that cheap MDF/fiberboard crap!), complete breaks apart.  I sit and stare..... stare some more.  turn my head back forth...... stare a bit more and.......

decide it's a *challenge* from God, since I really haven't had one yet in this department.

No, I do not throw the piece out - I persevere!

I finish painting the drawers, but decided to wait and deal with my newfound challenge the next day.

Now, I've never made drawer parts before, but that doesn't stop me.  I pick apart in my head all the ways to do this while grabbing some spare wood in my workshop and head to the table saw.  After lowering the blade way low, I make a series of cuts so that the bottom of the drawer will cleanly fit into the back.  Took a whole 20 minutes and I had a new board back!

Slapped that sucker in and we were back in business!

Time to let her set for another 24 hours.

After reinstalling the undermount tracks again, it was time to wax and sand it.  Again, I started from top to bottom and I got to the bottom drawers.....

You hear the music building suspense here

I pulled out the left bottom drawer this time and it comes out and UP.

"What the heck is it NOW!"

The entire drawer and its' tracks are sitting in my lap.  Apparently, the screws that came with the tracks weren't exactly long enough to go through the track, through the shim, and into the frame.

I needed longer screws now.

This means now I have to remove both bottom drawers, remove the existing screws holding the shims and a track down and replace them with longer screws.  Simple.... right?

Oh heck freaking no!

Once I removed the screws, the dang shims came up with them because the glue attached itself to both the shim and the old screw and they all came up together.

Time to put Tazo back into the kitchen.

I re-glue the shims back down, use the drill to get the front screws in, but the drill is too big to put the back ones in, so those have to be screwed down by hand.  Now the position and the fact that there is NO WAY to go in above the screws because a board is blocking my access, now means that I have to lay down and slowly and methodically screw the back screws in.

The wood on the frame is thick, the screw is a inch and half long, and it literally takes 45 minutes to get each one in without stripping the phillips head on the dang thing!  My neck and shoulder were killing me by the time I was done.  Yes, I did try the socket wrench, and no it didn't work either.

But dog-gone-it, I did it!

Luckily I had less hassles with the reclaimed hardward I painted for the piece.

I finally finished up the wax, sanding, and buffing, tagged her and was ready to GET HER OUT OF HERE!

Considering the two migraines she produced, she ended up looking pretty sharp.  Especially after I added some colorful accent paper to the inside of the drawers.

Yeah, Tazo tried to eat that stuff too while I was cutting it.  He went back into the kitchen again.

Lesson learned here is that I will NEVER deal with another piece made with MDF.  As my husband said to me over lunch one day, 

"You broke your own rule in not working with only solid wood pieces."  

He was so right and that kept playing in my head throughout the endeavor.  

So folks, once you  make rules for yourself in this business.... 


Find This Piece On:

PJH Designs Primp
The Shabby Nest Furniture Feature Fridays Simply Dream & Create


  1. Looks really great after all your hard work! So rewarding to see your end product! I am doing a similar piece myself - hope to have it posted tomorrow :)
    Have a blessed eve!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  2. So beautiful! I love how the branches stretch out onto the top of the dresser, great job hand painting them yourselves. Seems like most people use stencils instead, you've got skills:)

  3. I just found you via the Shabby Nest. I have a dresser sitting in my garage waiting on a re-do, and this inspired me!!! (Except the headache part!!) It is so beautiful!!

  4. Love it also

    I wish I had the talent to do that on an old dresser I have

  5. Love it! And I enjoy and appreciate the effort and humor put into writing the post!


  6. Even with all your struggles this turned out great! I love the tree design and how it flows to the top. I can't believe you hand drew it! I'm having a link party on my blog and I'd love for you to join!

    1. I would absolutely LOVE to join your link party! Thank you. I feel humble to be asked.

  7. Very funny! I can relate. And totally concur with the solid wood furniture! I hate that mdf crap stuff!! Kudos to you for finishing. It turned out beautiful as well.

  8. I love the dresser. The olive green looks great and makes me reconsider it as a colour. Must be nice to be able to draw free hand-there's so much you can do.

  9. Love how this turned out! lol I've been there and done all that. Sometimes a piece will try you on every aspect. Thank you for joining us at Transformed Tuesday this week.

    Peggy~PJH Designs

    1. I actually embrace a challenge of this type. It's a real learning experience... **head thuds on desk**

      Next time, I'll just make sure I have more chocolate in the house!

  10. Thanks so much for linking up at my link party, you did an awesome job on this dresser! I will be featuring you today at this week’s link party!

  11. What a gorgeous dresser! Thanks for sharing. -K

  12. You have GUTS not to kick that thing to the curb- and I'm so glad you didn't- it's LOVELY(oh, and you woulda broken your foot if you kicked it)

    Thanks for sharing with us, and it's always great to see creative minds at work. :)

    Visiting from Furniture Feature Friday@ Miss Mustard Seed's linky party
    Suz @MaytagNMom
    NW Illinois
    ~~My Current Project At The Party~~

  13. I'm not sure I wouldn't have cracked sooner, but your piece turned out great so it's good that you made it through to the end! Hope the next one gives you a little more instant gratification!

  14. Very cool, great job! I know that took patience :)

  15. That was pretty cool. I have a garage full of old dressers and stuff that I picked up last summer and now feel reinspired to tackle. Do you live close? I may need some help!

    1. I live in Auburn, AL - not sure how close that is to you. I can talk you through though!

  16. I feel your pain. But your piece turned out beautiful!!


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