Old dresser = rolling tool chest

A chest of drawers painted blue, photo

I outgrew my toolbox end tables, but I refused to pay hundreds of dollars for one of those ugly, manly Craftsman tool chests. And the gorgeous white ones are even more expensive. This chest of drawers cost me $10 on Craigslist. The total cost including the dresser, hardware, paint, and drawer dividers came to $110. I call that a deal. (This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here.)

Handles on both sides of the bureau make it easy to pull around. I used Ikea’s mini drawers to form dividers and lift-out trays in each drawer. What about the mini chests left over? I have a plan for those (coming soon). Please come back Friday to see my complete tool/craft corner.

Open drawer with tools organized inside, photo
An old dresser before the makeover, photo

How to turn an old dresser into a rolling tool chest

SUPPLIES
TOOLS
  • screwdriver

  • hammer & nails

  • drill and 1/16, 3/32, and 3/8 drill bits

  • sanding block and sandpaper

  • wide foam paint brush

  • ruler and pencil

  • tack cloth

INSTRUCTIONS
Bottom of dresser with casters, photo

1. Flip the dresser over. Prepare to install the casters. For me, that meant removing those pieces of wood.

Casters attached to bottom of dresser, photo

2. Drill pilot holes, then screw on the caster plates. Mine are about ¼ inch from the edge. I only used the locks on the two back wheels.

Disassembling a wooden wine box, photo

3. One of my drawer bottoms needed to be replaced. Instead of trying to find sturdy 5/16-inch thick wood, I disassembled a wooden wine box that I obtained on Freecycle.

Fixing a broken drawer, photo

4. After my friend and local woodworker cut the pieces to size, I drilled tiny pilot holes before hammering in the nails (so the thin wood wouldn’t split).

Wooden guide rail added at top, photo

5. The top drawer didn’t have any guide rails to keep the drawer from tipping forward, so I attached scrap wood pieces underneath the top surface of the dresser.

Remove handles and sand, photo

6. Remove the wooden handles. Fill holes and imperfections with wood filler. When dry, lightly sand smooth.

Wioe dresser down with a tack cloth, photo

7. Wipe the dresser down with a tack cloth to remove dust. Use latex gloves if you want to keep the stickiness off your hands.

Dresser with one coat of primer, photo

8. Paint two coats of primer on the frame and drawer fronts.

Painters tape and primer on drawers, photo

9. Use painter’s tape along the edges of the drawer fronts as guides.

A chest of drawers painted blue, photo

10. Apply two coats of paint to the frame and drawer fronts with a sponge brush—it gives a smoother surface than a roller or bristle brush. Let dry a couple hours after each coat. Be sure to paint the back as well. Measure, mark, and drill ⅜-inch holes for the handles. Attach the handles with a screwdriver. I installed the side handles the same height as the top drawer handle (6 inches from the top).

Assembling the Ikea Fira drawers, photo

11. I assembled the Ikea Fira drawers per the instructions.

Top drawer organized, photo

12. Insert the drawers in your desired configuration. Fill with your tools and crafting supplies. The top tray can slide back and forth or lift out.

Crafty Nest old dresser rolling tool chest Pinterest image

Reader Gallery

Made this project? Email your photo(s) to monica (at) craftynest (dot) com, and I'll share your version here!