How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser. How to cut furniture in half.

How to Cut a Dresser in Half to Make 2 New Pieces

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Here’s how to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture.

After moving back to the US without any furniture, we were in desperate need of furniture. I found this dresser online but wasn’t really sure where I was going to use it. Turns out I needed it in 2 different rooms. Here’s how to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture.

Like any mom of littles, we are always need more toy storage. But I wanted to make it low enough for the kids to use and safe from tip overs. I also needed a place to stack all of my sons puzzles. He loves puzzles and his collection is growing fast.

I knew I wanted a shelf on top of the toy storage to separate the puzzles into different stacks. Sorting through one big stack was just frustrating and generally ended with all of the puzzles on the floor. (TODDLERS, am I right?)

We also needed to jazz up our powder room with a new vanity. We had a boring pedestal sink, but I wanted one of those powder rooms that people walk into and instantly love. I had spent hours looking for a vanity that would transform that room. The annoying thing about vanity shopping is that it is mostly online.

It’s too easy to make a cheaply built vanity look great in a picture. I didn’t want to spend $1000 and risk getting a rickety, poorly built vanity. Plus, all of the vanities I really liked were actually $1500 or more. Isn’t that always the way. I wanted to keep this remodel under $300, so I decided to build my own vanity.

I knew the $25 4-drawer dresser I found online could work perfectly for both of these projects. And it worked like a charm. So, let me tell you how to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces, like I did.

How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser. How to Cut Furniture in Half to Make New Furniture.
Don’t forget to save this DIY on Pinterest

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How to Cut A Dresser in Half

Step One – Start by Stripping the Old Finish Off

I stripped all of the paint off with my ever trusty Citristrip. This stuff is great. Just brush on with an old paint brush and leave it on for an hour or two. It’s nice and thick, so it even sticks to vertical surfaces for you. And it doesn’t stink. In fact it smells like oranges. Who doesn’t love that?

DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
Here’s the original dresser partially stripped. I have the steps and a how-to video for how to strip paint off furniture in a previous post.

After the Citristrip has done it’s magic, grab a putty knife and start scraping. Make sure to wear gloves while applying and scraping. You never want any chemicals to soak into your skin.

Although, I need to get better at remembering that too. Must protect the skin, people! If the paint is thick, you may need to apply more stripper to the whole piece or just a few spots. Give it more time to bubble up, then scrape again.

Step Two – Plan and Make your Cut

After stripping, I decided to cut the dresser in half. First, remove the drawers and decide where you need to make your cut. Make sure you don’t accidentally cut through any drawer slides you want to keep.

I carefully measured the middle and marked it with a pencil. Then used my circular saw to cut along the line. For this dresser makeover, the bottom would be used for toy storage. The top for the vanity.

Step Three – Rebuild the Bottom Half

Depending on how you want to use your 2 new pieces, you might have to do things differently than I do. But, I’ll show you what I did to rebuild my 2 new pieces, in case it helps.

The bottom half needed new supports along the edges to hold the new top. Luckily the dresser had vertical 1X2’s running along the corners from the base to the top of the dresser. I used my own 1X2’s to create the new top frame. I glued and nailed these into place.

I also added screws to the corners (not in picture) for extra support when I lift the storage for moving. Once that was dry I was ready to add a top. I just used a scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood I had in the garage.

DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
Framing along the top of the new toy storage is done. You can also see how I had to notch the 1×2’s on the left and ride sides to let the drawer open and close still.
DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
Corner shot of the 1×2’s that ran vertically in all 4 corners of the dresser.

I’ll show you more of the toy storage makeover in a minute, but first let’s talk about how I framed the top half.

Step Four – Rebuild the Top Half

After following the easy steps for how to cut a dresser in half, the top half needed a new base. I used scrap 1×4’s, but I could have used 3/4″ plywood again. It was nailed and glued onto those vertical 1×2’s that ran each corner of the dresser.

Depending on the style of your dresser, you can always add molding to frame out the bottom to hide any plywood that could be showing or use edge banding to cover the plywood edges. I hid the front edge of  my wood by gluing and nailing a 1×2 across the front. This worked great since the 2 drawers were separated by a similar sized piece of wood.

The top half also needed legs, of course. I wanted the vanity to be at a comfortable height for hand washing, but also needed enough space underneath to hide a stool for the toddler. I was tired of straddling his stool every time I needed to wash my hands. Plus, it just made the room feel cluttered with that stool without a home.

DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
A new home for the toddler stool

I measured the stool and the other sinks in the house to come up with a range of leg heights that would work. I headed off to Home Depot and bought screw on legs and mounting hardware I needed. These are simple to install. They just require some screws and a drill.

That’s it for how to cut a dresser in half to turn it into 2 pieces. Now, I had to fully framed new pieces of furniture ready to finish. Let’s talk about what I did to the toy storage (bottom half) first.

Here’s a look at the toy storage before framing out and attaching a top.

Toy Storage Design Notes

My 3 year old son actually got to help design this piece. He picked the paint color I used on the top and the circular closet rods to use as posts for the shelf. I decided to leave most of the piece stained (Minwax Wood Finish in Jacobean). I feel like stained wood hides the constant nicks and dings my boys inflict on our furniture. Kidding, not kidding.

The top and shelf got kicked up with that beautiful blue my son picked (Valspar Project Perfect Spray Paint in Exotic Sea with Gloss Finish). I painted the shelf posts orange for some contrast and extra color (Krylon in Bauhaus Gold with Gloss Finish).

Then I decided to add lighter blue stripes to the drawers to add a bit of color to the base (Behr in April Mist Latex Paint with Eggshell Finish). I used painters tape to mark out the stripes before painting.

DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
Toy storage with kid height shelves. Those shelves are great for stacking lots of puzzles and toys within easy reach of little kids.

After drying, everything was covered in 4 coats of my favorite matte polyurethane (Rust-oleum’s Ultimate Polyurethane). Matte is great for hiding those dings too. 4 coats seemed like a good idea for a piece that would take lots of abuse. 😉

I should have photographed how I attached the posts. It was pre-blog, so I didn’t think to photograph everything. But it’s actually pretty simple, I used little dowels. I drilled holes the size of the dowels into each end of the rods and to the shelf and toy storage top.

Then I put a bit of wood glue in each hole and pounded the dowels halfway into the rod with a hammer. Then I glued and hammered the rods into the toy storage top. Finally, I carefully used my body weight to press the shelf down on top of the rods, after adding glue, of course. And voila, adorable toy storage on the cheap.

Quick Little Fun Side Note: You can see the toy storage on the left side of this fun 1 minute long time-lapse video I made to show toys marching into this DIY Reversible Hidden Toy Storage.

Powder Room Vanity Design Notes

After everything was assembled, I stained (Minwax Wood Finish in Jacobean) the piece then added white stripes (Behr Latex in Polished Pearl) to the drawers to add a bit of character. I used 4 or 5 coats of matte polyurethane (Rust-oleum Ultimate Polyurethane) on this piece, too.

Now, all I needed to do was find the perfect sink. After hours of sweating over a decision that probably wasn’t important enough to take that much time, I found one I loved, the Jacuzzi Anna Farmhouse sink. When it arrived, I used the template that came with it to cut a hole in the vanity top and moved the vanity into place to test it out.

DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
Testing out the vanity helped me see that the legs would need to be shortened

I instantly realized I had a problem. The raised sink threw off my previous measurements. The sink was so high it felt a bit awkward. Easy enough to fix. I just chopped about 2 1/2″ off the bottom of the vanity legs with my trusty Miter Saw. Easy, peasy.

We happened to be doing a kitchen remodel at this time. I had enough quartz to cover this vanity, so why not? The wood top looked gorgeous and would have worked, but my boys always drip water all over counter tops. The poly would have protected the wood, but you get a bit of a hazy spot underneath water that’s left too long. It dries out and looks normal shortly after wiping up, but who needs the stress, right.

I also ended up having to Cut and Modify the Vanity Drawers for Plumbing. Once all of that was done, the counter top, sink, and faucet (we had a new Moen faucet) were installed and ready to go. It all looked beautiful together. I am so happy with both of these pieces. Yea!

DIY Furniture Remodel: How I cut 1 dresser in half to make cute toy storage and a bathroom vanity.
Vanity full of character on the cheap? Yes, please!

UPDATE: August 2018, after almost 2 years with the above look, I decided to give the vanity a brand new look with light grey chalk paint and beautiful bone drawer pulls. You can see more pictures from my Small Colorful Powder Room Makeover here.

You'll love these Small Colorful Modern Farmhouse Powder Room Ideas! Most of these updates were DIY projects you can do at home. This was my first time hanging wallpaper and I was able to get it done in 1 day! #Wallpaper #AbbottsAtHome #PowderRoom #BathroomIdeas #ModernFarmhouse
It’s so much brighter and more cheerful in here, right?!

UPDATE 2019: Well, my boys are older and I don’t need all of that low toy storage anymore. So, I gave the toy storage half a new life as a pretty guest room side table. You can read about the Demo Day Paint Makeover and that DIY Cedar Mosaic Wood Top in previous posts.

Here's how I built a beautiful DIY Wood Mosaic Table Top with low cost Cedar from my local big box store. Easy to follow how to video and build tips. DIY Geometric Wood Art idea.

So glad you stopped by to see How to Cut a Dresser in Half. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help!

How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser. How to Cut Furniture in Half to Make New Furniture.
Don’t forget to save this DIY on Pinterest

Looking for more furniture build plans? You can find more of my DIY Woodworking and Furniture Projects on my YouTube Channel. Check out the most popular videos on my channel here.


Looking for your next woodworking project? Check out my Chunky Leg Farmhouse Bench DIY.

Farmhouse Style DIY Upholstered Bench Plan with Tongue & Groove shelf. Makes a great end of bed bench, dining table bench, living room coffee table or entry bench.

You might also like this DIY Kids Play Kitchen Build. It has all the style of the big store-bought wood play kitchens, but with all the fun of the plastic store-bought play kitchens.

Yay! This Kids Play Kitchen DIY Woodworking Plan is an easy woodworking build with lots of fun additions that little kids will love! I have the tutorial, printable plans, and a video to help you get this built. #AbbottsAtHome #KidsKitchen #PlayKitchen #KidsKitchen #KidsFurniture #woodworking

How about a smaller build to keep the kiddos busy and having fun? Check out my DIY Nerf Gun Target.

Looking for another fun way to keep your kid's busy?! You can build this DIY Nerf Gun Target from Wood or 1/2" Foam Board. It's a great homemade kids game for indoors and outdoors.

And, this DIY Table Over Washer and Dryer is always popular.

Hide those ugly machines with this DIY Table Over Washer and Dryer or DIY Folding Table. Full tutorial and free printable build plans.

Or, this easy DIY Kids Play Tent from PVC Pipes.

Plans to Build this easy PVC Pipe Tent with drop cloth cover. PVC pipe play house tent build for kids. #PVCTent #PVC #KidsTent

How to Cut A Dresser In Half

How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser. How to cut furniture in half.

How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser.

Instructions

Step One – Start by Stripping the Old Finish Off

  1. stripped all of the paint off with my ever trusty Citristrip. This stuff is great. Just brush on with an old paint brush and leave it on for an hour or two. It’s nice and thick, so it even sticks to vertical surfaces for you. And it doesn’t stink. In fact it smells like oranges. Who doesn’t love that?After the Citristrip has done it’s magic, grab a putty knife and start scraping. Make sure to wear gloves while applying and scraping. You never want any chemicals to soak into your skin.
  2. Although, I need to get better at remembering that too. Must protect the skin, people! If the paint is thick, you may need to apply more stripper to the whole piece or just a few spots. Give it more time to bubble up, then scrape again.

Step Two – Plan and Make your Cut

  1. After stripping, I decided to cut the dresser in half. First, remove the drawers and decide where you need to make your cut. Make sure you don’t accidentally cut through any drawer slides you want to keep.
  2. I carefully measured the middle and marked it with a pencil. Then used my circular saw to cut along the line. For this dresser makeover, the bottom would be used for toy storage. The top for the vanity.

Step Three – Rebuild the Bottom Half

  1. Depending on how you want to use your 2 new pieces, you might have to do things differently than I do. But, I’ll show you what I did to rebuild my 2 new pieces, in case it helps.
  2. The bottom half needed new supports along the edges to hold the new top. Luckily the dresser had vertical 1X2’s running along the corners from the base to the top of the dresser. I used my own 1X2’s to create the new top frame. I glued and nailed these into place.
  3. I also added screws to the corners (not in picture) for extra support when I lift the storage for moving. Once that was dry I was ready to add a top. I just used a scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood I had in the garage.

Step Four – Rebuild the Top Half

  1. After following the easy steps for how to cut a dresser in half, the top half needed a new base. I used scrap 1×4’s, but I could have used 3/4″ plywood again. It was nailed and glued onto those vertical 1×2’s that ran each corner of the dresser.
  2. Depending on the style of your dresser, you can always add molding to frame out the bottom to hide any plywood that could be showing or use edge banding to cover the plywood edges. I hid the front edge of  my wood by gluing and nailing a 1×2 across the front. This worked great since the 2 drawers were separated by a similar sized piece of wood.
  3. The top half also needed legs, of course. I wanted the vanity to be at a comfortable height for hand washing, but also needed enough space underneath to hide a stool for the toddler. I was tired of straddling his stool every time I needed to wash my hands. Plus, it just made the room feel cluttered with that stool without a home.
  4. I measured the stool and the other sinks in the house to come up with a range of leg heights that would work. I headed off to Home Depot and bought screw on legs and mounting hardware I needed. These are simple to install. They just require some screws and a drill.
  5. That’s it for how to cut a dresser in half to turn it into 2 pieces. Now, I had to fully framed new pieces of furniture ready to finish.

4 thoughts on “How to Cut a Dresser in Half to Make 2 New Pieces”

  1. That turned out so well. And I love the idea of using it for a bathroom vanity. I never thought of doing it myself. Or, passing off the job to Mr. L.

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