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Project Showcase — Past Winners

finished dresser

Kate Eshoo's Salvaged Dresser

We are pleased to select Kate Eshoo as our Project Showcase winner! She paid $15 for an old dresser and transformed it into a beautiful piece of furniture for her nephews' room. Don't we all wish we had an aunt like that? Congratulations, Kate!

Dear Minwax,

I was at the Goodwill store with my sister-in-law the other day and she spotted a very abused dresser. She very much wanted a dresser for my nephews who share a room, and she was particularly fond of the "piratey" hardware. Unfortunately, it looked like a hunk of junk. Aunty to the rescue! I promised I could bring it back to life. Daring me, she plunked down the $15 listed on the price tag.

Accepting her dare, I bought the following supplies: Minwax Water Based Wood Stain in Antique Red ($8), some medium grade sandpaper ($3), and one new pull in chrome for $3 (which I later spray painted to match the existing hardware).

First step: Get rid of hideous water marks and stains all over top of dresser. Did you know that mayonnaise takes out water marks on wood? I've used this trick before when "oops" you leave your water glass on wood and it leaves a ring. Mayonnaise usually gets it out in just a few hours.

Second step: Get rid of disgusting burn mark on top of dresser. I gently sanded it out using medium grade sand paper, working with the wood grain, not against it. After getting rid of the burn mark, I then gently sanded the rest of the dresser before applying the stain.
Third step: Apply water-based stain to sanded wood top and drawers. This was unbelievable to me, how one coat of Minwax stain completely changed the piece. It was so easy! I used a sponge, and followed the directions on the can. You can see in the photo how the stain dramatically changes the raw unhealthy wood into an even smooth surface. The stain transformed the dresser to make it look like new cherry wood. Unbelievable what a little elbow grease and a can of stain can do!
Final step: Apply one coat of Minwax Wipe-On Poly to top for protection. Reattach hardware.

You can imagine what a dresser like this would cost in a furniture store. My 9-year-old and 7-year-old pirate-loving nephews are going to love it!

Best regards,

Kate Eshoo
Petaluma, CA