1. Buy/Obtain an Old Dresser
The dresser doesn’t have to be in perfect working order. I purchased an old dresser at a second hand store that had a couple of drawer fronts that were missing, and that was okay. I spent $25 on this old dresser and it worked perfectly for what I needed.
2. Build The Shelves
The second step is to decide how many drawers you are going to now convert into shelves. I wanted three shelves. The top one for iPods or phones, and two for a laptops. I would continue to use the bottom two drawers as storage space for headphones, cords etc.
You could even make a small charging station out of an old nightstand.
Bust the front off the drawers
For the drawers you will be turning into shelves, you need to carefully bust the front off of the drawer. This allows you to use the original 3 sides of the drawer as a base for the shelf. Then you need to secure the drawer into place (so it doesn’t wiggle around) with nails or screws and wood glue. Be sure when you are securing the shelf in place that you are screwing into a sturdy piece of wood.
Install Horizontal Trim pieces
Next, measure to see how big the gap is between the bottom of the drawer and the piece of wood that divides each drawer. Purchase a piece of trim that is this high enough to help cover this gap. I just used some of my scrap wood and the piece of trim that I used was 1.5 inches. It is okay if this horizontal piece of trim is a little higher than the drawer base because then that gives you a lip to make sure that the laptop stays where you want it.
Use wood glue and a staple gun that can shoot nails or air compressor nail gun to attach this piece of trim in place.
My favorite staple gun that shoots both staples and nails is the Power Shot. I have had for many years, and I highly recommend it.
Install Vertical trim pieces
Once you have these horizontal pieces in place, measure the gap on each side of the drawer (a 3/4 or 1 inch trim piece will probably cover it). Cut this trim to fit vertically along each side and nail it in place.
Optional Top Pull-Out Shelf
The top drawer we ended up modifying to have a pull out shelf because that makes the smaller devices much more accessible. If you do this, you will need to cut a 1/2 to 3/4 inch piece of wood to act as a shelf and purchase side mounting drawer glides to fit your dresser. My drawer glides were 12 inches, which left a few inches at the back for the power cords.
**NOTE: If I were doing this project over, I would probably leave the top drawer in place and simply drill holes in the back for the charging cords.
3. Caulking and Spackling
To make your job look a little more professional, caulk the seams and edges of your newly installed trim pieces and clean extra caulk off with a damp rag. Then fill in the little nail holes with a little spackle, dry and lightly sand (if needed) before painting. This will give your charging station a seamless and very professional look.
Here is they type of caulk and spackle I use for this step:
4. Drill Holes for Power Cords
Once the shelves are installed, take a drill and a small bit and drill a small hole at the back of your charging station to use as a guide for where you want the power cords to come through. Then drill larger holes with a 1 to 1.5 inch drill bit on the back side of the dresser so that each of your shelves can access a power cord without being seen.
It should look something like this once you are done:
Be sure you can fit whatever charging cord or plug head through the hole before you put your drill away.
4. Clean and Vacuum Old Dresser
Before you paint the dresser, be sure to vacuum it out and wipe it down with a damp cloth. You want this project to look nice, so be sure to clean it thoroughly before painting.
Remove the old hardware from the drawer fronts at this point. You can reuse this hardware or purchase new drawer pulls for your dresser.
5. Spray Paint
Once the dresser is clean, lay out a tarp and spray paint the dresser thoroughly using light coats and proper dry time in between coats. Be sure to use good spray paint. My favorite spray paint is Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover because it really does spray much better and more thoroughly than the cheaper kinds of spray paint and you are done more quickly. I prefer to use either the Satin or the Semi-Gloss for projects like this.
6. Final Details
- Re-attach drawer pulls
- Place the charging station in your home in a central location.
- Install surge protectors or charging stations. I recommend this RAV power charging station. That is what we installed at the back of our top drawer with Velcro so that we could charge several devices at the same time.
Yay! I’m so excited with how it turned out. I had to cram one more project in before the weather turned yucky.
- One old dresser or night stand
- Screws or Nails to secure shelves
- Wood Glue
- 1.5 inch wood trim for drawer fronts
- .5 to .75 inch wood trim for drawer fronts
- Spray paint
- Side mount drawer glides to fit your rolling shelf–optional
- Tarp (for when spray painting)
- New drawer pulls (or can reuse old ones)
- 1 or 1.5 inch drill bit, smaller drill bit for positioning larger one
- Measuring Tape
- Saw to cut trim and one shelf
- Hammer to pop off drawer fronts
- Nail Gun that shoots brad nails (approximately 9/16 inch)
Happy building friends!