We’ve been reorganizing our house a little lately, as a result of the baby moving out of our room. There was an old set of drawers in the kids’ room that I wanted to redo to make it suitable for our bedroom to store some of my yarn stash. I don’t often do DIY, but I do think sanding and refinishing a set of drawers is the kind of thing everyone should be able to manage, so off I went to the hardware store.


Worn old varnish, chipped and broken drawer pulls, some stains. Not so nice.


Single-use gloves, brush, screwdriver, sandpaper, matte oak-stain varnish (the hardware store assistant told me to buy a darker varnish to hide old stains), new drawer pulls (can you see in the picture that I bought two different size drawer pulls? I couldn’t until I put them on, which annoys me but not enough to have the big ones replaced). I use gloves for all DIY jobs, I hate getting sticky paint or varnish on my hands. I managed to get a little on them while removing the gloves, and discovered that nail varnish remover works really well even with furniture varnish 🙂

Step 1:
Remove old drawer pulls

Step 2:
Sand all surface areas. I sanded the top very carefully to remove all the old, chipped varnish, but I was less careful with the rest of the surfaces, as the hardware store assistant had said that I only needed to roughen the surface of the old varnish. As you can see on the drawer fronts below, that wasn’t strictly true and they became quite mottled-looking after the first coat of varnish. They improved slightly with the second coat, though.

Step 3:
Apply two coats of varnish.

Drawer fronts after one coat of varnish:

Top of the set of drawers after two coats of varnish:

Step 4:
Attach new drawer pulls and (optional) cut out and insert paper liners for the drawers. I wanted liners because the interior was quite worn and to avoid snagging the stash yarns.



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