Fugly Birch Veneer: Updating an Old Dresser

not sure how other people do things, but anytime i’m starting a project, i try to check out a lot of resources on the topic. with the exception of some recent recipes, i usually look at 4 or 5 and take the pieces i like. make it all my own, know what i mean?

that why, despite the 547 blog posts out there on this topic, i’m posting it again. this post is all about “refreshing” a laminate dresser.

i also put this post together because i’ve effed up in the past. i tried to only kind of sand a little bit and didn’t prime. that so did not work. i ended up having to throw out the whole desk i was trying to refinish. what a waste.

the fugly dresser – welcome to the 90’s


How to Paint Laminate Furniture

why this link over the others? it discusses the importance of sanding, suggests primer to use (and why) and provides pictures. there are lots of great tutorials out there – i’m just saying that this one spoke to me.


  • sander – $30

i could’ve just done this with sand paper, but i’m really glad i didn’t. i bought a small, cheap plug-in sander from a big box retailer. it’s going to make my life a lot easier in the long run. it even came with some sanding pads, so i didn’t have to buy any of those… yet.

  • 1 gallon of primer – $15
  • wood filler – $3
  • drop cloth – $2
  • wipe-down rag – $0
  • spray paint – $3 for 3 cans
  • drawer pulls – $18 for 7

i decided the current drawer pulls had to go. they were just as ugly as the rest of the dresser. there’s always the possibility of saving the existing ones, saving money as well. i got mine from lowes. they weren’t my favorite, but they’ll do.

total: $41 ($71 if you include the sander)


  • for sanding – 1 hour
  • for priming – 1 hour
  • for painting – 1/2 hour
  • total: 2 1/2 hours

helpful hints

  1. if you need to use wood filler, make sure to put more in the gouge than you actually need. wood filler tends to shrink slightly and you can sand it down later if there’s too much.
  2. make sure you sand all edges – not just surfaces. i had to tilt the dresser over to get to some difficult to reach areas.
  3. look at your piece of furniture in all types of light. especially before you haul it upstairs. mine looked like it could’ve used another coat after i brought it up to the third floor. fantastic.


  1. clean off the dresser, especially if it’s been sitting in the garage and has cobwebs all over it.
  2. remove drawers and pulls from drawers. put in a safe place if you plan to reuse them again.
  3. if there’s any gouges in the dresser, fill it in with the wood filler and let dry for a couple of hours.
  4. sand the dresser. i probably went a little crazy with this. i don’t think that you have to sand it quite as much as i did, but due to previous failures, i wanted to play it safe.
step 3: filling in those ugly chips
here's the dresser sanded - almost took off the veneer in some areas.
here’s the dresser sanded – almost took off the veneer in some areas.

4.  wipe the dresser down. i used a microfiber cloth to get it nice and clean.

5.  prime it. i did two coats. it really limited the amount of white paint i needed.

priming it up.
priming it up.

6. let it dry the recommended amount of time. i let it dry overnight.

7. paint it. i used cheapo glossy white spray paint. after priming it so well, it only too 3 coats. i let it dry a couple of hours before moving it.

drop cloths: i believe in you now.
drop cloths: i believe in you now.

8. move to final location and attach drawer pulls. stuff it full of things that were in your closet or moving boxes.

final product

i like the way the dresser turned out. will we keep it forever now? heck no. but it’ll last a while. at this point. and then we’ll put it up on craigslist and someone else will get good use out of it.

pretty final shot
looks not too bad, huh?
side view!
side view!
the nice part about white? everything can change around it and it'll still match.
the nice part about white? everything can change around it and it’ll still match.

bread #1

to know me is to know i love bread. a lot.

when i was writing out my one hundred goals for my life list, one of them was to learn to make all types of bread.

so far i’ve learned how to make bagels. someone thought these bagels were store-bought: best recipe eva

i’ve also tried my hand at biscuits, this amazing poppy seed bread, typical wheat loaves and foccacia.

i can now add naan to the list. i was trying to clean out my fridge before heading out for the week and i had a lot of random stuff left over. together they equaled the ingredients for this naan recipe i found through pinterest: budget bytes naan

it was pretty easy and straight forward. i was eating naan within an hourish.


it’s been a long hiatus, but i’m back. and i’m going to keep this up now. for real. for really real.

so, a lot has happened over the course of the past several months. i’ve moved states, planned a wedding and finished my ARE licensing exams (fingers crossed).

with that said, i’ve got a lot of crafting items i completed for the wedding. my goal is to get up to speed on here. origami bouquets, hoola hoop star mobiles, cupcake stands, yay flags and others to come soon.