Saturday, June 18

My DIY Project - From Oak Dresser to Kitchen Island for Under $140.00

My new kitchen island!
UPDATE!!!! - After six months of use, this has been one of the best kitchen islands I've ever had! My shoulders are at a comfortable height and I can literally spend the day working on it without shoulder pain. WHY didn't I think of this, sooner?!!?! Not only a money-saver but a great success for under 5'5" cooks. (The standard for most kitchen islands.) To spread the news even further, I'm linking up to the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday Blog Hop. There'll be plenty of other posts from clever bloggers, too; so, I hope you'll check them out and discover more bloggers who can help you with your own DIY crafts.

I have wanted a kitchen island for a long time. With all my counters on the wall without windows, I missed the openness of preparing food while visiting or just having the sense of more space in front of me. Naturally, the ones I wanted were not only expensive but way too big for my little kitchen. Each had their own great features but none had them all -- until you reached the $600 and above range. Definitely time to just build my own and try to keep the costs down. First order of business, checking out flea markets for old dressers. After several months of casual looking, success came with this old oak dresser. The project had begun. With some elbow grease, time, and patience, my new island is finished and I did it for just under $140.00! Definitely a keeper and linked up with It's a Keeper Thursday.

To keep the air as clean as possible in the house, I did all the sanding and painting outside, using a big plastic drop cloth to protect it on rainy days. This was a very stable well-built dresser with no chunks of missing wood or wobbly hardware. After sanding, I sprayed it with a clear high-gloss acrylic paint three times, sanding between each coat. I didn't paint the top because I wanted a more abrasive surface for the glue to catch when attaching a 2x4 counter top panel.

This is a high-grade 5/8"x2'x4' panel ready for stains or paint and, even though it comes already sanded, I gave it another go over just to make sure, while rounding the edges just a tad to prevent slivering. Then, it was twice-sprayed with primer.

Two coats of primer and still raw looking
I used a roller for all applications

This is the Rustoleum counter top paint I used and I love it! There are mixed reviews about this paint online but I didn't find any of the problems some people found. Maybe because I did it outside and gave myself plenty of time between coats. I don't know the answer but it more than serves my purposes. And, should it get too chipped over the years, I can redo it and even change the color. It's still an incredible bargain for a $20 can of paint. I let it cure for almost six weeks before trying to go further because it's very high in viscosity and that translates into s-l-o-w curing in my book, regardless of what is promised on the can.
Hoping no bugs decide to check it out!

After checking out the floor of the dresser, I was afraid adding casters would do one of those opposite pressure things, so decided to reinforce it with some 2x4s before adding the casters.

As is typical with most dressers, the foot board is on the front, only, requiring 3" casters that are barely visible from the front. The locking casters are on the rear side.

Then it was time for the counter top. I applied Contact Cement to both the top of the dresser and the underside of the panel and let them dry apart for about 40 minutes. The ticklish part was placing it on top of the dresser because there is no forgiveness with Contact Cement and there's only one chance to get it right. The overhang leaves me plenty of room to hang up weird accessories, as well as having a little room to slip in a stool for a fast bite. Ta da! I have a new kitchen island!

Rear side waiting for pegboard.

Here's a breakdown of my costs. I rounded them up to the next dollar. Just a note about the dresser. I wouldn't have bought just any dresser. The basic requirement was that it had to be solid wood to be able to handle years of use and remain sturdy. (This puppy is heavy!) Waiting until just the right one came along was well worth it.

Used Oak Dresser  $40.00
5/8"x2'x4' Board Panel for counter  $35.00
Counter Paint Pint $20.00
Contact Cement Pint $6.00
Rollers for applying paint and cement $3.00
2x4s (on hand)
Kobalt 4-pack Casters 3" swivel-locking $21.00
Screws (16) 3.00
High-gloss clear acrylic paint and primer $5.00
Total cost for Island: $133.00

Don't you just love projects that are real bargains, too!


  1. Wow! Awesome job! The dresser looks incredible! Oh and I am loving the peppers in the previous post! You rock

  2. I like how you put this together--very resourceful and useful!

  3. You are so creative. I love reuse ideas like this but never seem to get past the idea phase. :)

  4. Sharlene that is beautiful! You did a beautiful job. I need one of those wood panels for something, where did you buy it?
    Also if you want to stop being a no-reply commenter, go to my blog, scroll all the way down and click on No-Reply will give you directions (easy) to change it, then people can actually communicate with you :D

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