DIY time with Philip: Reinvented drawers

One of the best things about living in San Francisco is the amount of free junk that can be found on the street.

I recently came across an unfinished pinewood dresser that was being thrown out. With a few screws and a little bit of lumber I turned the drawers into a coat rack/shelving tower hybrid.

Supplies you will need (photo 1):

o shelves (drawers, crates, frames, etc.)
o wood stain or paint (water based products are best for indoor painting)
o lacquer thinner (if oil based paint or stain is used)
o paint brushes (various sizes)
o masking tape
o wood screws (4-8 per shelf)
o drill (but a hammer and nails will work just as well)
o small framing square
o pencil
o 3/4” x 2” pre-primed trim (cut to desired tower height at the hardware store)

Begin by wiping any dust from the shelves and masking off any areas that are not going to be painted (photo 1). Apply an even coat of stain or paint to the shelves, always painting with the grain of the wood (photo 2). Allow the color to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 1

Lay the trim pieces side by side. Line the ends flush to each other and mark them as the bottom of the tower.

Step 2

Measure up to the desired height of the first shelf and mark the trim pieces there. Measure to the desired height of the second shelf and mark again (photo 2). Repeat for number of remaining shelves.

Step 3

Match the first mark from the bottom of the post with the bottom of the first shelf and secure a screw through the post into the side of the shelf.

Step 4

Before setting a second screw, make sure the post and the shelf form a right angle to ensure the shelf will be level (photo 3). Set the second screw.

Step 5

Repeat steps 3 & 4 for the other shelf marks.

Step 6

To secure the other posts, align them each with the bottom of the attached post and transfer all of the screw points for each shelf to the second post (photo 4). Also, mark the top and bottom of the shelf on the edge of the second post (photo 5).

These marks will save you a lot of trouble so long as you vigilantly maintain right angles.

Step 7

At the desired shelf depth, align the edge marks with the top and bottom of the shelf, check for a right angle (photo 3) and secure one screw through its mark. Recheck the angle and secure the second screw.

Repeat steps 3-7 with the remaining shelves and posts, and before you know it, you will have a new piece of furniture and you will have made it yourself.

For more DIY time with Philip, click here.