Dress-Up Armoire {as seen on Pinterest}

how to repurpose a dresser into a dress up armoire

When we were trying to think of something fun and unique to give our little princesses (our granddaughters) for Christmas, my daughter suggested a dress-up wardrobe or armoire she had seen on Pinterest. My husband enjoys building things, and I enjoy repurposing household items so this seemed like the perfect project for us to take on. To go along with the princess theme, we are also planning on getting them some customized princess decals and pillows from Shutterfly (love the great variety they have for home decor!).

The first thing we had to decide is whether to try to find a piece of furniture to re-purpose or to build something from scratch. My husband searched around quite a bit and he decided it might be better to start off with a dresser or entertainment center as the base to the dress-up armoire. Since he is the one that has to do most of the building, I agreed with him.

I spent some time browsing at second hand stores and found only one piece of furniture that would work. I was excited because it was an entertainment center with a large TV opening, two drawers, and even two small cupboards.  The best thing about it though, was the fact that it was marked down to $1.99! While I was thrilled about the possibility of using the entertainment center, we ended up not buying it.  My husband would have had to do a lot of extra work to it so it could be used, plus it was very large and my daughter has limited space in her house.

We ended up using a sturdy 30+ year old dresser we already had. It wasn’t in use at the moment because the drawer slides needed to be repaired.  This dresser was actually used by my daughter when she was a young girl, so it seemed appropriate to use it for her girls.

repurposed dresser

I was planning on taking pictures of the dresser before my husband started working on it, but, as you can see from the picture above, I didn’t get one. This is because while I was in the house unpacking the supplies we had bought for the dresser transformation, my husband got right to work. By the time I went out to the garage with my camera, he had already started to dismantle it. I did manage to get a picture with one drawer still intact.

disassembled dresser

We were only going to use the bottom drawer so my husband took out all of the drawer hardware and wooden-slat dividers. The plan was to re-use the bottom drawer , but my husband decided he could build a sturdier one so he ended up taking out that hardware too.

Building up the dresser

Once my husband had everything removed that need to be removed, it was time to start building the armoire. The first thing he did was to cut a piece of 1/4” plywood to fit over where the drawer will be. He then also cut a piece of 1/4” plywood to fit the back of the dresser. This was to cover the wooden slats from the drawer and to make the dresser sturdier.

He also decided to dress up the top of the dresser with some crown molding. He then covered all of the holes using wood putty. He routered the edge of a 2” x 4” and used it as trim around the bottom of the dresser too, more to make it a little more stable than to make it fancier. At this time he also built the drawer.

Once the wood putty was dry, he spent some time sanding all of the rough spots and he also put in the new drawer slides. He then handed the dress-up armoire off to me…

painting the dress up armoire

My main job was to paint the dresser. I figured purple was the perfect color for a couple of princesses, especially since the mirror was gold. It took 2 coats of paint to get a nice cover on the armoire and the drawer. (You can see the painted drawer in the background.)

Once the drawer was dry my husband put in the bar to hang the dresses on and the handle on the dresser drawer.  Then we were ready to put it all together!

dress-up armoire

I hung all of the dresses I had found on the bar. Some of the dresses I found on clearance after Halloween and some were great Black Friday deals.  I bought 3 baskets to help organize the items in the drawer. These items included tiara, smaller pieces of play jewelry, and dress-up shoes.

repurposed dress up armoire

On one side of the armoire, we hung three coat hooks. These were to hold necklaces, purses, etc. The wigs were for Snow White and Merida costumes. I found them on clearance after Halloween for $2.

snow white mirror on dress up armoire

The other side of the dresser was reserved for a very special mirror. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother, who had passed away this year.  It reminded both my daughter and I of the mirror from Snow White.

62 comments for “Dress-Up Armoire {as seen on Pinterest}

  1. MK
    02/05/2014 at 8:29 pm

    I have a Purple Princess in my family. Thank you for sharing this idea! It will definitely be duplicated for our soon to be 3 year-old grand-daughter; my husband and I will also enjoy partnering in this project! 🙂

  2. 02/06/2014 at 1:55 pm

    This is absolutely adorable! I love this idea! And you guys did an AMAZING job!! 🙂

  3. donna
    02/06/2014 at 6:11 pm

    What do you think we could make for a boy along these lines any ideas?

    • 02/06/2014 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Donna, we didn’t have much luck thinking of something for boys… We ended up getting our grandson’s lego tables… 🙁

    • Katie
      06/06/2014 at 3:49 pm

      Maybe make it look like a phone booth for a Superman themed one?

      • 06/08/2014 at 3:10 pm

        That is a wonderful idea Katie!!!!

    • Amands
      06/09/2014 at 7:25 pm

      You could do the same thing for a boy, but superhero themed and hang costumes, superhero masks, and all of their “accessories” for fighting crime.

    • Kat
      10/19/2015 at 7:27 pm

      For the boys use a dresser and put fence slats on the back of it with a mirror in the middle and triple hooks from home depot ( or somewhere) on either side of the mirror for caps etc. Put a hanger bar inside for coats or hunting clothes etc and a deep drawer for boots or gloves and neck scarves

      • 10/26/2015 at 7:22 am

        Great ideas Kat! Thanks for sharing.

    • Theresa Hudgins
      12/12/2015 at 6:20 pm

      Hello Donna,

      I think that this would be great for holding sports equipment and trophies. You could put some coat hooks on the back surface in the center and then create two rows of shelves on the right and the left of the inside. Have the two side shelves go down mid to 3/4 the way and create two shelves that span the entire width at the bottom. The drawer bottom could be removed completely for another shelf or used as additional storage. On the sides, put hanging fixtures to hang hockey sticks. Trophies can go on top and balls can be placed on the shelves. You could also use the shelves for books for those boys who are more book worms than jocks. I created this in photoshop, but did not see the option to add the picture to my comment. Sorry

  4. Mom of Princesses
    02/06/2014 at 9:01 pm

    I love this!!! So creative and inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Pam
    02/08/2014 at 3:32 pm

    Boys like to play super heroes. Make one to hold super hero costumes!

  6. Linda
    02/22/2014 at 10:06 pm

    I am completely head over heels in love with this idea!!!! 😀

  7. Sharon Anne
    02/25/2014 at 2:27 pm

    A little girl’s dream(s) come true… I could never have imagined such a marvelous gift in my childhood. Nor could I have even created it for my own daughters, let alone my grand daughters. My hats off to you, (even if from Pinterest) you followed through! It’s delightful, imaginative and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  8. 03/02/2014 at 8:40 pm

    ADORABLE! I cannot wait to have a little girl and share this website with my dad for him to make one day, so perfect. Love your photos and descriptions. your girls & grand-girls are lucky ladies!

    • 03/02/2014 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks Rachel! The girls absolutely love it! 🙂

  9. Tisha
    03/11/2014 at 10:56 pm

    Do you make these and sell them?? I’m not such a crafty person, I’m worried how it will turn out.

    • 03/12/2014 at 9:30 am

      Hi Tisha, Sorry, this was a one time only project!

      • carrie
        03/19/2015 at 2:11 pm

        What is the dimension for it? Dont have any old dresser lying around so gotto build from scratch.

        • 03/23/2015 at 4:18 pm

          I am guessing the dresser we started with was about 30″ x 50″

        • Mama Bear
          09/14/2015 at 6:37 am

          Try garage sales or your local thrift stores (amvets, goodwill, city missions, etc)

  10. Deb Raulerson
    03/23/2014 at 11:48 pm

    Love new crafty ideas, thanks for sharing!❤️❤️

  11. Becky
    04/21/2014 at 7:07 am

    What did you use for the bar to hang the dresses on??

    • 04/21/2014 at 10:58 am

      We used closet pole brackets inside the dresser along with a wooden closet rod my husband cut to make smaller.

  12. Errica
    06/09/2014 at 11:01 am

    LOVE this and will definitely be making my little girl one!

  13. Martine
    06/15/2014 at 3:49 pm

    Hello, I decided to make the same one for my daughter, she’s gonna love it. Can you tell me the approximate measurements of the dresser? I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you and Thanks for the idea!! 🙂

    • 06/15/2014 at 8:55 pm

      hi Martine, I would guess the dresser was about 4 feet tall and 30-inches wide! Good luck!

      • Martine
        06/15/2014 at 9:11 pm

        That’s great thank you!! 🙂

  14. Bev
    09/04/2014 at 9:54 am


    For a boy, fashion it like a pirate’s chest!

  15. 09/06/2014 at 4:13 pm

    This is a great repurposing. What little girls wouldn’t love it!

  16. 09/13/2014 at 1:15 pm

    wow that is so cute!! I love the color that you chose too! I think I might need to get making one for my little one 😉 Thanks for linking up to Bewitchin’ Projects Block Party, hope you will join us again this Sunday Morning. I will be featuring this at the party on Sunday!

  17. 09/13/2014 at 4:48 pm

    What a great project!

    Thanks for linking up with the Caffeinated Crafters!!

  18. 09/16/2014 at 4:40 pm

    So cute. I definitely need to do this! I’d love for you to come share it at Outside {the Box} http://www.carissamiss.com/2014/09/outside-box-link-party-no-2.html

  19. Hannah
    10/13/2014 at 12:13 am

    Do you know what color purple you used? I love it.

    • 10/14/2014 at 12:12 pm

      I am not 100% sure… I do believe it had the word “royal” in the name and that was one of the reasons we chose it. 🙂

  20. PrinsezDre
    11/10/2014 at 6:40 am

    I will most def be looking for a dresser to do this project for my 4 little Princess (grandchildren) as I finish the a whole travel room for them! Thanks for sharing!!!

  21. Tarah
    11/24/2014 at 7:43 pm

    Did you spray paint or use a paintbrush and roller to paint?

    • 11/25/2014 at 7:56 am

      We used a small can of satin latex paint from Menards and brushed it on. For the larger areas I used a tiny paint roller.

  22. Jayme
    12/06/2014 at 9:18 pm

    Love this. We are trying to duplicate for our granddaughter for Christmas.

    • 12/07/2014 at 12:30 pm

      Have fun Jaime! I am sure your granddaughter will love it as much as ours did!

  23. Anne
    03/07/2015 at 10:48 pm

    How do you do the crown moulding on the top of dresser?

    • 03/08/2015 at 1:50 pm

      Hi Anne, My husband measured and cut the pieces of crown molding for the front and both sides and carefully screwed them in place. The then cut a piece of plywood to fit over the top of it. Once everything was attached, he used wood putty to fill all the holes and then sanded….

  24. Iris
    04/08/2015 at 11:59 pm

    Where can I buy a white ome just like the purple? I so want for my baby!!

    • 04/10/2015 at 7:24 pm

      Hi Iris, Sorry, we made this one… I have no idea where they can be bought!

  25. Sue
    06/09/2015 at 8:47 am

    This is beautiful! I have a dresser, I was going to just put shelves in and paint it hot pink for my grand daughter, this is perfect. She has a tiny little bedroom, she can hang her clothes in it, maybe I’ll put two rods in so she has more room.

  26. Susan Cichuniec
    07/07/2015 at 8:32 am

    I made this for my granddaughter, my husband started it in August 2014 and passed away suddenly in October I promised I’d finish it go him I did

    • 07/07/2015 at 2:51 pm

      I am sure it will be extra special for your granddaughter Susan!

  27. Sharon Reynolds
    10/11/2015 at 3:11 pm

    I just love your creation. It is especially nice that you both had a hand in it. Your granddaughters are very special little girls to get this!

    • 10/12/2015 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Sharon! It was a fun way to spend time together too. 🙂

  28. Lynn Sullivan
    10/18/2015 at 10:37 am

    Absolutely love it!! The color is perfect! I’m wondering what ‘brand’ of paint you used?

    • 10/26/2015 at 7:24 am

      I am pretty sure it was Dutch Boy paint.

      • Lynn Sullivan
        10/31/2015 at 11:12 am

        Is there a chance you used Pittsburgh Paint – ‘Royal Purple’

        • 11/02/2015 at 6:15 am

          While I am not 100% sure, we usually buy Dutch Boy paint…. We could have chose a different brand for this though.

  29. K Tobin
    12/27/2015 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for the inspiration!! We are currently in the process of building something just like this for our daughter-based off of your picture. I hope it comes out as nice as yours did!! Thanks again.

    • 12/27/2015 at 6:50 pm

      Good luck and have fun! 🙂

  30. 01/03/2016 at 6:42 pm

    Iris, I saw these on overstock.com I started to buy one for my 6 year old for Christmas but they didn’t have very good reviews !!! So with that being said I didn’t buy it ! Now I’m really glad I didn’t because me and my niece are gonna make these for our 5 and 6 year olds !!! Ethanol y’all so much for sharing!! I would have never thought to take a dresser and do it myself and i think I may be able to do it myself while my husband is at work !! Can’t wait to make these our kids are going to love them and just so happens I have dressers in the garage !! I can’t wait to get started thanks Brittany for sharing this page can’t wait to see their little faces !! They will love it !!

  31. Kiley Lefler
    06/28/2016 at 4:50 am

    I have a question please. Do you remember how deep the dresser was? I’m looking to build something similar. I found a bookcase that is 12″ deep but I’m not sure if that will be deep enough for the hangers.

    • 06/28/2016 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Kiley… I am guessing our dresser was about 24-inches deep…. You want it to be at least as wide as the hangers you will use… Also, if it isn’t deep enough there might be a chance it could tip if a child tried to climb on it…

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