How to Make a Potting Bench Out of an Old Dresser

Old dressers find new purpose as garden work stations.
Old dressers find new purpose as garden work stations. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

If you thought the only fitting place for that old rickety dresser was the local landfill, you might be surprised to learn what do-it-yourself gardeners are doing with those old, ugly or castoff furniture pieces. Outdated dressers, with all their drawers and cubbies, make ideal storage for garden implements. A few coats of paint and primer, the addition of pegboard and a few plastic bins turn that vintage eyesore of a dresser into a cute and eclectic potting bench.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Orbital sander
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Damp cloth
  • 2 pine planks, 2 inch-by-6 foot
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Large wood screws
  • Spray primer for wood
  • Semi-gloss paint
  • Crib headboard
  • Pegboard, cut to fit inside the frame of the crib headboard
  • Medium wood screws
  • Water sealant for wood
  • Peg hooks
  • Plastic bins

Video of the Day

Pull the drawers from the dresser and use a screwdriver to remove the drawer pulls. Boil any paint-covered hardware in a quart of water with a 1/4-cup of baking soda added to help to loosen and remove decades of old, ugly paint.

Sand the top, front and sides of the dresser, the fronts of each of the drawers and the headboard of the crib with an orbital sander and medium-grit sandpaper to remove any old peeling paint and provide traction for the new paint. Wipe surfaces with a damp cloth to remove the dust.

Attach two 2-inch-by-6-foot pine planks vertically to the back of the dresser by drilling pilot holes through the planks and into the dresser frame. Attach the planks using large wood screws. Align each plank evenly with the outer edge of the dresser on each side. These planks form the braces for the crib headboard.

Prime the dresser, planks, drawer fronts and crib headboard with two to three thin coats of wood primer, allowing each coat to dry for at least 20 minutes. When the last coat of primer has dried, apply two to three thin coats of semi-gloss wood paint with a paintbrush. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly between applications.

Use a staple gun to attach the piece of pegboard securely to the back of the crib headboard.

Set the crib headboard on top of the dresser and line it up evenly with the pine placks on each side. Drill pilot holes back-to-front through the planks and into the frame of the headboard. Use medium-size wood screws to prevent the tips from poking through to the front.

Seal your new potting bench with several coats of water sealant to give it added protection from the elements.

Clean, rinse and dry the drawer hardware and reattach it to the drawers. Attach peg hooks to the pegboard to hold small gardening implements such as trowels, hand rakes and clippers. Line the top drawer of your potting bench with plastic bins to hold gardening gloves, plant food and garden stakes. Use the largest drawer to store empty pots and containers.


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