Creating With the Stars Week 2 Project: Knockoff

After the craziness of Creating With the Stars, I’m taking this week off for a quick breather! I’ll be posting the tutorials for two of our projects in the competition (since they were originally posted elsewhere), and there’ll be a special post on Friday for those of you who are new in these parts! Enjoy! 

Is it awkward for me to admit that I knew I would be knocking off this dresser before I even got into this competition? I’ve been in love with it for a while now, and I remember a week or so before I even found out I was in the competition I stumbled on it again and my husband Corey and I decided right then and there that if we got in and if there was a knockoff round, we’d be doing this guy.

(The inspiration – via West Elm)

Luckily, we did, and there was, so here we are!

Like I said, this dresser has been on my mind for a while because it’s just so beautiful, but if you know me at all you know I’m not the type to spend $900 on a piece of furniture. It’s just not gonna happen. So, Corey and I set out to re-create this dresser as affordably as possible, all while putting our own little spin on it.

What we used: 

An antique dresser

Scrap 1×4 wood – we used maybe one board total

White paint

Gray paint

Gorilla glue (or any wood glue you like)

3/4″ dowel rods (for drawer pulls)

1/2″ dowel rod (for drawer pulls)

We started off with this beautiful antique dresser that we found at a local flea market. We loved the clean lines, the tall frame, and (of course!) those casters. Drool. Our style is a pretty good mix of modern and more traditional/vintage furniture, so we liked that this would lead to a slightly less sleek and modern look than the original, which fits right in with the rest of our house. It was basically perfect.

The first step for us was figuring out a way to inset the drawers a bit so that when we added the wood tiles they wouldn’t stick out. We wanted the entire front of the dresser to be flush (the West Elm one has the drawers slightly inset, but we thought a flush look would be a bit more fitting for our dresser). Our original plan was to just move the drawer slides back a few inches in the dresser, which would hopefully make the drawers sit the way we wanted them, but thankfully it was an even easier fix than that with this particular dresser – there were little metal pieces on the inside of the drawers that stopped them from going all the way in. All we had to do was pull those out and make some new stoppers with some little dowel rods and we were good to go.

Next up was cutting all of our wood tiles. Let me warn you – this project isn’t for the faint of heart…it took forever! But, I think the end result is totally worth it, so I won’t complain.

For the tiles we took a few 1×4 boards that we had already laying around and cut them down to 1/4″ thick tiles. It was the quickest way we could think of to do it, and it also meant that the end-grain of the wood would be showing, which added some fun texture. It was a pretty quick job to cut the tiles – we just used a chop saw with a piece of wood clamped to it to make sure all of the tiles were the same size. Our stack quickly grew, and soon enough we had a giant pile of wood tiles.

When they were all cut, we gave them a quick whitewash. I wanted a bit of variety within the tiles, so we did a whitewash on some of them and a graywash on others. It was a subtle difference, but it makes the end product look a bit more random and varied, which I like.

Once our tiles were all dried and ready to go, it was time to attach them to the drawers. We didn’t want to nail them in because then we’d have a billion different nail holes to fill, so we just used some wood glue. We glued ’em on in a subway pattern and then clamped a board to the drawer while it dried to ensure they all stuck. As the tiles got wet with the glue, some of them started to bow, so clamping it down also kept that to a minimum. We let it all dry together for about 12 hours (just to be sure!) then removed the clamps, sanded down the edges, and that was all there was to it!

The last step was creating the drawer pulls – we knew we wanted ones similar to the inspiration piece, but we also knew that actually finding and buying those pulls would be challenging (not to mention expensive!) so, we decided to make our own! Corey bought a 3/4″ dowel, drilled two holes in the back, and inserted a small, 1/2″ dowel piece . We then spray painted the whole thing with some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, and screwed ’em in!

Once we put it all together, it looked a little something like this:

And that, my friends, is how we created our own version of West Elm’s wood-tiled dresser – and under $200, to boot!

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