mapped, dressed and done

I did it.  I finally finished the dresser.
And it was really more like mapped, dressed, braided, jigsawed, sanded, painted and done.  :)

I explained how I got it started here.  Then I got a little distracted by a little thing called Christmas (are you guys ready for it?) and went a little ornament crafting crazy.  If you haven’t been keeping up (where have you been?) I put all my projects in one handy spot for you to check out here.

Now, for the dresser, I’m lovin’ the upgrade.  It reminds me of where we have been, where we are now and makes we wonder where we’re going next.

I let the drawers sit for a bit with the maps on them.  I didn’t even put them back in the dresser to use.  I just used this always essential chair (more on that here) to toss organize what would be in the dresser.  Apparently even if I have to step over a project 10 times a day it does nothing for my motivation to finish it.  😉
One day out and about I found these letters at a local scrap booking store and had the idea to stencil on the names of the locations that each dresser represents.
They didn’t have all of the letters I needed so out of a cereal box (love me some Honey Bunches of Oats) I made an O with a little help from the C I bought and an A with some M, N and W.  And yes, the M and W are exactly the same but I didn’t realize it until I got them home.  Bamboozled by the alphabet.  Drats!

I mixed together a few different colors of craft paint I had to create a subtle color that wouldn’t over power the maps.  Honestly, each drawer came out a little different.  I needed to make a different color for the Curacao map since it was darker.  I had outlined the Maine letters darker than I wanted, the Cali letters look almost perfectly white, but the Iowa letters turned out exactly how I wanted.

And then with the addition of the twine handles.  Oh dear do I love them.

Thank goodness because they took some time to make.  Each braid is 3 pieces of twine and each handle is 3 braids braided together and there are 8 handles.  Sooooo … carry the 1, and that equals A LOT of braiding.  About an episode of Sportcenter combined with the first new episode of Fear Factor.  Mid process it looked like this.

Can I just say, as a side note, there is nothing about the eating challenges on that show that is worth $50,000 in my opinion.  But, someone I graduated from high school with is the Supervising Producer so I was supporting the cause.  Congrats Anthony!

Ok, back to the braids.  I also learned too little too late that I should have cut my lengths of twine much longer to make it easier for me to tie them together.  Of course I was being cheap responsible when cutting just the right amount of twine for the braids.  But, to attach them to the dresser I just fed the 9 ends of each handle through the existing hole and tied each end in a knot inside the drawer.

TIP!!!  In addition to making the lengths of twine longer than you think you’ll need, make them as close to the exact same length as possible.  This will make the process of feeding them through the ridiculously small holes more manageable.  When all else fails, use a narrow, pointy tipped object to force the suckers through.  I used scissors.

As soon as I had the handles finished and put the drawers back in the dresser I knew I needed to change the color.  For some reason the drawers just made that hideous detail at the bottom even worse and the green just wasn’t right with the maps.  So, without even moving the dresser out of the bedroom, I got my broom stick straight edge, drew a line from scrolly edge to scrolly edge and jigsawed a straight line.  (And yes, I know the Curacao map is on upside down, I address it here.)

Yup, jigsaw was on the move essentials list.
But then when I went to sand the newly cut edge I uncovered a little white primer and had the thought to just distress the whole thing.  And I just didn’t want that much more dust in the bedroom so we needed to move this project outside.  Amazing that this little spot of white changed my whole strategy.

So, I flexed my big girl muscles and moved the big a$$ tv the really cute accessories off the dresser and moved outside.  I sanded and re-evaluated and decided to mix a little paint, similar to the lettering color and do a little dry brushing.  And when I say a little paint, I only used about a tablespoon or two of my mixture.  Dry brushing = time and money saver with the bonus of intentional imperfection.  :)

I tell you, the combo of distressing, maps and dry brushing just makes this guy seem so well traveled and distinguished.  This little spot shows all the layers, I love it.
She definitely brings a little character into our rental bedroom and just plain ol’ makes me smile.  Picture me opening the Maine drawer and smiling at the thought of playing soccer at Little Falls field in high school when our high school was getting a face lift. Or reminiscing of some of the fun early memories I have with my husband in and around San Fran when I go to get a tee shirt.  Just random goodness.

Here’s a reminder of the before:
And an after.
And the real after.  :/
Yes, we have a large TV in our bedroom.  And yes, we have a LARGE dog bed or 2.  And yessirree, we have a wad of cords.  They are hard to see in the pic, nicely hidden in the shadows.  But I’m just keepin’ it real for ya.

But hey, we have a neat dresser now too.  How much better is that straight line along the bottom?  I love the upgrade.

But, more importantly, what do you think?  I’d love to hear.

I am sharing this project here, here, here and here. Check ém out!


  1. lizzie says

    Once again, I’m dazzled by your creative spirit, but more impressed by the fact that you can use a saw…any kind of saw…What a great project for a rainy day. Which we’ve been having lots of here in Curacao! Can you make a white Christmas by any chance????

  2. says

    Wow, this is amazing! I was thinking about doing something like this with a little tea table, but I have an old ratty dresser that would be even happier with the makeover… Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Sue Reincke says

    You know what would go well with the dresser? The map coasters! Since they really serve no other purpose (with losing their absorbancy potential, thanks to the modpodge I coated them with). And the windy days there. Maybe around the big-ass tv?

  4. Jen says

    I’d like to order one. Drawers to read: Florida, Maryland, California and Pennsylvania. I’ll even pay extra for a personal delivery :-)

  5. says

    What a neat idea. I’ve been using maps on all sorts of things in my classroom lately. It started with 3 stools that I mod podged maps of France onto and then I did my heater and a bookcase. The stools are not holding up as I expected they would, a year later. BUt it was something to use all of those millions of maps I seem to collect.

  6. Erica says

    I really love this idea! I did something similar with a old side table that I got for $0.50 at a church yard sale. A friend gave me a shoe box full of stamps that she was going to get rid of and I had a can of leftover paint. So now I have a side table that no would guess cost less than $3.50!

  7. Karen says

    Love the maps and the distressing is a great touch. My son loves maps (future explorer) and I’ve been looking for a storage piece for his room that I can cover with maps. Your project is a great motivator. By the way, I’ll be kicking off my home decor blog in the next few weeks and I’ll send you a button. Also, I have another map project that I’ll share with you once it’s complete! Thanks, again. Karen

  8. Ashleigh says

    Thats fantastic, puts my wee map table to shame. I really love the twine handles, they look great xox


  1. […] She came out beautifully rustic, I think. I like the addition of the wire, albeit, not too much wire. I like the grey of the wood and the cream color of the paint. I just mixed a few paint colors I had together. It’s very similar to the color I used to paint the words on my Mapped Dresser. […]

Let me know what you think!