Ikea Hemnes Dresser Turned Mid-Century Modern

Ikea Hemnes Dresser Turned Mid-Century Modern

In an attempt to save some money on a new dresser, I decided to modify our current Ikea Hemnes dresser to something more modern. I had a hard time finding DIY instructions, especially for the Hemnes. So I did some research, combined ideas, and this is what I came up with. I took inspiration from the West Elm Mid-Century 6 Drawer Dresser-White + Acorn:

FullSizeRender-1                                             Pic courtesy of West Elm ©

Here is the Ikea Hemnes Dresser before:


Here is the final look:


And here is my step-by-step:

Materials Needed (items in parentheses were used for this project) 

  • Sander (Dewalt Orbital Hook and Loop Sander)
  • Sandpaper: 100 or 120 grit; 220 grit; 400 grit
  • Pre-Stain (Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner)
  • Gel Stain (Minwax Gel Stain, Mahogany 605)
  • Polyurethane (Minxwax fast-drying, clear semi-gloss)
  • Primer (Zissner Bull’s Eye 1.2.3 Flat White)
  • Enamel Paint (Rust-Oleum Gloss White Enamel Paint)
  • Paint Brushes, Foam Brushes
  • Knobs/Pulls (Etsy: ForgeHardwareStudio)
  • Clean Rags, drop cloth if inside
  • Protective gear  

Dresser Instructions, sans Drawers

  1. Sand the Dresser
    Using an electric sander, sand the dresser using 100/120 grit. I recommend wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask (and maybe a shower cap). Finish using 220 grit.FullSizeRender-2
  2. Prep for Stain
    Wipe down all surfaces using a clean cloth. Once all dust has been removed, apply pre-stain. I used a foam brush and went in the direction of the grain. Allow the pre-stain to dry 5-15 minutes. After it has dried, wipe off excess using a clean cloth.IMG_2923
  3. Apply Gel Stain
    The Hemnes dresser uses pine wood, and my research suggested that gel-stain works well with pine. It is thicker, so be sure to stir it well (until creamy consistency), before applying. Once again, I used a foam brush and went in the direction of the grain. Some sites say that it does not matter, but I noticed a difference if I went against the grain.FullSizeRender-3After 3 minutes, remove the excess stain using a clean cloth. In order to ensure a consistent coat, I stained the dresser in segments (i.e. top in 2 parts, the whole front, then each side panel). *IMPORTANT*: Wipe with the grain of the wood, in one direction.I only applied one coat of the stain, in order to achieve this color. If applying more than one coat, allow 24 hours to dry.FullSizeRender-4
  4. Apply Polyurethane
    Once the stain has completely dried, apply the polyurethane. I used a foam brush and went in the direction of the grain. When using the foam brush for the polyurethane, I found it helpful to hold part of the brush itself, as shown below, as this allowed me to have more control and apply a little more pressure. I allowed 24 hours for the polyurethane to dry then re-sanded the dresser using 400 grit sandpaper. This removed the dust particles that collected and any bubbles etc. After sanding, be sure to wipe down using a clean cloth and remove all dust. Apply second coat of polyurethane using same method.IMG_2357

Drawer Instructions

  1. Primer
    The drawers should already be sanded. Using a paint brush, apply primer to the surface of each drawer, going in the direction of the grain. Primer dries quickly, but I allowed 24 hours before applying the paint.FullSizeRender-7
  2. Apply Enamel Paint
    This part is somewhat tedious, due to the potential for brushstrokes to show. White tends to be unforgiving on furniture, so some precision is needed here. I used a Nylon, angled paint brush to apply the enamel paint and I applied 2 coats, waiting 24 hours between each coat, and sanded lightly with 400 grit sandpaper.

    First coat of enamel paint

    3. Add Knobs
    The finished look with a fresh coat of paint (Sherwin Williams, In the Navy)FullSizeRender-2