Turning a Dresser Into a Shelf


Instead of trashing an old dresser, give it a new life by repurposing it into a shelf. With some basic tools, you can turn a dresser into a one-of-a-kind shelf that can be used to showcase decorative displays or for storage. Keep the finish of the dresser as is, or spruce it up with some paint to give it a complete transformation.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 5/8-inch plywood
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Jigsaw
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Damp cloth
  • Handheld paintbrush
  • Paint
  • Stain
  • Drill
  • 5/8-inch wood screws
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Remove the drawers from the dresser.

  • Use a tape measure to measure the inner corners around the edges of the dresser.

  • Measure the interior width of the dresser. Purchase pieces of 5/8-inch plywood to equal the width of the interior of the dresser. Purchase an amount of plywood that covers the total drawer space in the dresser. The plywood pieces will serve as shelves for the transformed piece.

  • Use a pencil and a ruler to mark the edges of the plywood with the measurements of the inner corners of the dresser. The pencil marks will serve as a guide for creating notches in the edges of the piece of plywood.

  • Cut through the pencil marks on the edges of the plywood with a jigsaw. Remove the cut pieces of wood, creating notches in the corners of the plywood. These notches will allow the plywood to fit inside the dresser.

  • Sand the surface of the plywood with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe down the plywood with a damp cloth. Use a handheld paintbrush to apply paint or stain in a color of your choice to the top, bottom and edges of the plywood.

  • Set the plywood shelves in place on top of the brackets that once supported the dresser drawers.

  • Drill five-eighth-inch wood screws through the top middle of each of the shelves, driving the screws through the plywood and into the support bracket.

  • Drill 3-inch wood screws through the back of the dresser, driving them into the back of each of the shelves. Place one screw at either end of the back of the dresser and one screw in the middle so that there are a total of three screws secured in the back of each shelf.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sand and paint or stain the top and sides of the dresser, if you desire, to create a completely new look for the piece.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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