HOW I REPAIRED THIS CURB-SHOPPED BUBBLED LAMINATE DRESSER TOP | YOUTUBE VIDEO
Hi beautiful friends and Happy New Year! I hope you had a fabulous and relaxing holiday. It’s great to be back and I’m excited to start the year off with this salvaged dresser. I found this dresser curbside and I have to admit these are my VERY FAVORITE type of makeovers. Finding a trashed yet well-built piece of furniture that looks like a hot mess, and turning it into a diamond! Today I’m sharing how to fix a bubbled laminate piece of furniture using a sander, woodfiller, paint, and primer.
Challenge on so let’s get started! I can’t wait for you to see how gorgeous this piece turned out.
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Over the holidays I found this eight-drawer dresser curbside. The sad part was I passed it by walking the dog every day for about 5 days running – and it was in pretty darn good condition. Then it rained. When my friend Steph and I passed by it on an evening walk, I decided to grab it. But at this point, the top was damaged from the rain we had.
The dresser is structurally sound but as you can see the rain had bubbled the laminate top.
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WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Curb-Shopped MCM Dresser – SALVAGED
Heat Gun (15% OFF as of writing this!)
Painters Multi Tool
Bosch Sander (25% OFF as of writing this!)
Bonding Boss Primer (COMING SOON!)
Burlap Chalk Mineral Paint
Van Dyke Brown Glaze
Big Soft Brush
Brushed Gold Hardware
Gator Hide Top Coat
WHY LAMINATE BUBBLES
The most common reason for laminate furniture to bubble is excess moisture. Moisture gets between the particle board or MDF and the decorative laminate top. This causes swelling and bubbles to appear. Excessive heat, poor bonding, or installation, and hard wear and tear can also damage laminate furniture.
I’m going to start with how I fixed this dresser top and then I’ll share the rest of the makeover below.
HOW TO FIX BUBBLED LAMINATE
Because this piece had been sitting out for nearly a week, I started by giving the inside and out a really good cleaning.
Once I wiped everything dry, it was time to sand down the bubbling laminate until the dresser top was perfectly smooth. I used my orbital sander with an aggressive 60 grit sandpaper.
The particle board was showing through once the swelled pockets were sanded down but there was no other way to repair this. I could have cut out each bubble with a utility knife (which is another way of removing bubbled laminate to make sure ALL the moisture is removed from the particle board) but drying the piece out and sanding is just as effective.
I could have gone ahead and started using wood filler before priming but I opted to seal with primer first. I find this helps me see ALL the little knicks and gouges so I know exactly what needs filling. Dixie Belle has a BRAND NEW product they have formulated which combines their stain-blocking BOSS with the convenience of bonding SLICK STICK! It works amazing and I love that it solves two issues with one product. I believe it will be available at your local retailers and online within the next few weeks!
Without using a filler, the particle board or MDF absorbs the paint very differently than the laminate. FILLER IS KEY to a smooth finish. A good portion of this dresser top was skimmed/filled with this White Mud.
I like overfilling slightly so when I sand, it’s perfectly level and smooth.
PRIME & SAND #2 – FEEL FOR SMOOTHNESS
Once all my wood filler was dry, I brought this dresser into my sanding room to sand it smooth. The entire time, I made sure to run my hand over the top to FEEL my way to a perfectly smooth top. I removed all the dust and gave it a second coat of primer.
Now to make it look pretty. Painting time! I chose Burlap for a beautiful neutral and painted two coats using a roller and then smoothing it out with a soft brush. No more bubbles!!
To prep the drawers I followed these steps…
- Removed the old hardware
- Vacumed the inside and outside of the drawers
- Cleaned the inside and outside of the drawers
- Filled the hardware holes with Bondo/Wood Filler
- Fixed broken slides
- Painted in Burlap
FAUX WOOD DRAWER FINISH
Using this Van Dyke Brown Glaze, I created a faux wood finish on the eight drawers. Soooo much fun to do. I have a full detailed tutorial including a video on how to get this fake wood finish here.
To give this piece a sleek look I found these brushed brass handles on Amazon. Before installing this hardware I made sure it would work and there was enough space between the drawers. A few millimeters per drawer is needed so the hardware doesn’t brush up against the drawer above.
Pro Tip – If you have gold/brass screws included with your new hardware, don’t use them. Every time I’ve used the gold/brass hardware that I’ve purchased or that has come with hardware, the screw heads strip down because the metal is so soft. I like swapping them out with heavy-duty screws. Then if I want the screw to match the hardware, a little gold paint or gilding wax does the trick.
TOPCOAT | PROTECT
I used my favorite heavy-duty Gator Hide Topcoat. For the drawers, I used this blue sponge to apply 2 coats. For the body, I spray-coated two coats. Both look flawless and awesome so if you don’t have a spray gun, no problem.
FINISHED MCM DRESSER
Here’s the finished look. What do you think?!
And here’s a few closeups of the smooth-painted top!
No more bubbles!
It’s a night and day difference. I don’t think anyone would know this dresser had such a damaged top.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of it’s NEW LOOK!
Here’s the full step-by-step YouTube tutorial below. If you have any problems viewing it, you can watch it on YouTube here. Our #siyoutubefamily is already a community of 42.6K so don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t done so already! So exciting, thank YOU! 🙂
Here’s another look at this salvaged MCM dresser before and after. I hope it’s inspired you and given you some ideas for your laminate furniture.
Thanks so much for being here and sharing this makeover with me today. Let me know what you think of this curb-shopped bubbled dresser before and after, or feel free to chime in with any questions you may have. I always love hearing from you. It makes my day! 🙂
And now I’m going to watch the last few episodes of Ted Lasso. Have any of you watched Ted Lasso on AppleTV? I started watching over my holidays and I’m addicted. I’m on the last few episodes of season 3 and can’t wait to see how it all ends.
See you next Tuesday and happy painting my friends!