Making over the Malm 3 drawer dresser was actually very easy. It's kind of free form arranging different lengths of wood or mdf strips to the drawer fronts, then painting over it with whatever colour you want.

Before I started trimming out the lengths of the strips, I mapped out how I wanted things arranged to make sure placement of strips were random but balanced.

Here are my materials:
- two strips of 48" long, 1/4" thick wood/mdf strips (I found mine at homedepot)
- four strips of 36" long, 1/8" thick wood/mdf strips (I found mine at my favourite odds and ends store, Urban Source)
- masking tape
- No More Nails construction adhesive
- White caulk
- Fine Grit Sandpaper
- High adhesion primer, satin finish paint, and Polyacrylic Water-Based Protective Finish (Minwax)
- foam rollers and brushes

Click here for pdf my layout of the strips.

framefront Materials to get started

First thing was to lightly sand all surfaces of the dresser.

Originally I thought I'd have to nail the strips in but I heard about No More Nails which is a high strength construction adhesive that dries clear. I decided to try that out. The strips of mdf/wood were light so it was no problem.

Then off I went and glued the strips in place. Literally took me 20 minutes max.

framefront Glued and taped

I just put the tape up to hold the strips in place while the glue dried, but I don't really think it was even needed. The strips didn't move at all once I put them on.

framefront Ready for painting.

Everything looking good. Ready to paint. First I applied a high strength primer (I used Zinsser Bullseye All Purpose Primer which they say adheres to even glossy surfaces). Let dry and then applied first coat of satin acrylic. No trick here other than to try and avoid drips and keep things as even and smooth as possible.

Let dry and then lightly sand and wipe off dust. At this point it's easier to see little gaps around the edges of the strips - this is where I applied a little bit of caulk to fill in those spaces.



framefront Second coat

Apply second/final coat and let dry. I let mine cure for a few days to be sure but I also had the white glass top that goes with the Malm so that would add extra protection for the top.

I was going to apply all over coat of MinWax's Polyacrylic (not Polyurethane). I know lots of other DIYers have found this to be really good, dries and stays clear but I also ran into a few posts that had theirs yellow either in large patches or gather in crevices and yellow there.

I was not prepared to sand all this down and start painting again so I opted to just put the Polyacrylic on the top edge of each drawer where you grip to open the drawers. I'm going to watch this for a few weeks and see if it yellows. So far, so good.

framefront Dainty feet

Optional, but I found the base of the Malm too heavy. If i could I'd chop off the bottom and attach nice wooden legs to really give it that mid century mod look. But alas I don't have the tools or skills for that so I DIYed some faux feet from cutting styrofaom triangles and clad them in wood veneer which I painted same way I did the dresser.

Then I just glued those on as well, and caulked around any gaps and edges.

I'm still tossing around the idea of putting on some knobs or pulls on this... maybe some nice small wooden knobs, or leather pulls. Or maybe I'll leave it as is. Less is more, right? So conflicted!!!




Good luck!