When our family got a new member, the expenses started piling up in a hurry so I decided to put my knowledge of craftwork to good use. One of the first things I tried to make was a changing table since this is a very simple but indispensable piece of mommy equipment.
A DIY dresser is not just more economical, it can be more practical and convenient to use if you create it with your specific requirements in mind.
In this article, I present a method that I used but it’s possible to alter it based on the type of DIY changing table dresser that best suits your needs.
If you are wondering how you could pull off something similar and solve your problem, the answer is simple – just follow the steps outlined below.
You can make a fantastic changing table and dresser set even with minimal woodwork skills and only with easily available materials.
Of course, you will need some preparation and a little bit of discipline, but in the end, you can save a ton of money and even have some fun while you are putting the dresser together.
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What to know before getting started!
While you may think that all changing tables are the same, in reality, there are many different types. For most families, a simple changing table topper with drawers is quite sufficient, but in some cases, it makes sense to opt for a more ambitious blueprint.
Doing a little research about the existing possibilities is a good way to get started, especially if you don’t have any experience with woodwork.
Simply looking at various models of diaper changing dressers will give you some ideas, but you must also take stock of your own home and decide where the dresser will eventually be placed.
If you are a total beginner, it makes sense to watch a couple of tutorials and try to familiarize yourself with the tools and materials you will be using.
I understand there is an urge to jump straight to the realization phase, but let’s not forget how important it is to be well prepared for the task at hand.
If you’re not a fan of the dresser combo, have a look at my post about a DIY changing table with an IKEA hack!
And in case you’re looking for other purposes for your dresser, read here how I transformed a dull drab dresser with amazing grey paint.
It goes without saying that good equipment is essential if you want to make your DIY changing table dresser successfully.
You don’t need anything too expensive or exotic, but you simply must have all the prerequisite tools so that you can execute every step in the process correctly and avoid making mistakes that could compromise the usability of the final product.
To begin your work on a baby changing table – dresser combo, you absolutely need a basic set of measuring and marking tools, as they allow you to carefully plan and precisely execute the cutting action.
That’s why you should always make sure that the following items are prepared:
Another group of tools includes devices necessary for the mechanical processing of the wood.
While my family has a lot of such tools in the shed, for those who don’t I can recommend the indispensable pieces:
Finally, this work can get messy and you will need some protective equipment to stay safe through the process.
That’s why it’s highly advisable that you acquire the following items:
Supplies needed for DIY Changing Table Dresser
Needless to say, it’s smart business to get all the supplies you might need in advance so you can fully dedicate your attention to the most challenging parts of the process without having to run to the store.
Since you can make an excellent baby dresser and changing table from simple materials, the list of supplies isn’t too long.
Here is what you need to construct a piece of furniture that you will be proud of:
- 2 sheets of thick ¾’’ plywood
- 1 sheet of ¼ inch plywood
- Ball-bearing drawer slides
- 1 ¼’’ wood screws
- 1 ¼’’ pocket hole screws
- 2’’ wood screws
- Wood glue
Wood Cut list to DIY Changing Table Dresser
Perhaps the most important item on your to-do list is to create a list of all parts that you need to cut to measurements.
Armed with this list, you can breeze through the process without any danger that you might forget a key part.
While the exact woodcut list depends on the type of changing table and dresser that you want to make, the blueprint I used should serve you well:
- Top of the side frame x 2, dimensions 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 20″
- Bottom of the side frame x 2, dimensions 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ x 20″
- Side Panel x 2, dimensions 3/4″ x 20″ x 26 1/2″
- Front and back panel of the top and bottom frame x 4, dimensions 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 48″
- Front and back frame piece for drawers x 2, dimensions 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 48″
- Dividers for the drawers x2 , dimensions 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 6″
- Runner for the top drawer frame, dimensions 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 21 1/2″
- Runner for the bottom drawer frame, 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ x 20″
- Side panel for small drawers x 4, dimensions 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ x 20
- Front and back panels for small drawers x 4, dimensions 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ x 20 7/8″
- Side panel for large drawers x 4, dimensions 3/4″ x 7 1/4″ x 20″
- Front and back panels for large drawers x 4, dimensions 3/4″ x 7 1/4″ x 45 1/2″
- Bottom panel for small drawers x2, dimensions 1/4″ x 20″ x 22 3/8″
- Bottom panel for large drawers x2, dimensions 1/4″ x 20″ x 47″
- Front-facing board for small drawers x2, dimensions 3/4″ x 5 3/4″ x 23 3/8″
- Front-facing board for large drawers x 2, dimensions 3/4″ x 8 1/4″ x 47 3/4″
- Back panel, 1/4″ x 26″ x 50″
Cost of a DIY Changing Table Dresser
The whole idea of creating a cheap changing table dresser is to decrease the costs, so naturally, it is economically beneficial to do it yourself rather than go to the store.
Accounting for all the materials you have to buy, you could end up spending as little as $50-80 on your new dresser. In case you don’t have the necessary tools, you can try borrowing them in order to keep the costs low.
Of course, if you aim for something other than a simple changing table dresser, you might have to spend extra on metal handles for drawers, legs for the dresser, or other decorative elements.
Those can be found affordably at hardware stores, and can significantly improve the look and usability of your dresser if used wisely.
The time needed to complete the project depends on your woodworking skills.
An experienced person could do the job in two or three days, while it might take twice as much for someone trying to put together a DIY changing table dresser for the first time.
DIY Changing Table Dresser – Instructions
After you collected all the tools and supplies, it’s time for my favorite part – getting your hands dirty and working with wood!
To construct a solid changing table dresser combo, just follow those steps and keep close attention to detail.
Step 1 – Mark and cut all elements from your woodcut list
Start by fitting a panel of plywood into the jig and carefully mark the positions where you need to cut the material.
Once the outline is drawn, use the saw to cut through the wood on all sides to make a properly shaped piece from to the list.
This is the most laborious part of constructing changing tables with a dresser, but it’s actually not too hard to do correctly if you have the right equipment.
Step 2 – Drill holes and smoothen the connecting surfaces
Determine the positions for the screws and use a drill to create holes where screw pockets can be inserted.
At this stage, you should also use sandpaper or a similar tool to ensure that the connecting surfaces are well polished and without any protruding splinters.
External surfaces should be sanded at this time as well, as it’s much easier to do it before assembly.
Step 3 – Assemble all the pieces and paint the dresser
After cutting and preparing all elements made of wood, the changing table dresser needs to be assembled.
You should first put together the side frames, and then screw the top and bottom panels onto them and glue the back panel before you start working on the drawers.
Finally, once the dresser is complete, it needs to be covered with a layer of protective paint before it can be declared ready for use.
Have a look here at my tutorial on how to paint your own pink ombre dresser.
Tip Nr.1 – Get metal legs for the dresser
While you could leave the dresser with the changing table sitting directly on the floor, it can be practical to put it on four metal legs to ensure easier cleaning and repositioning.
The legs can be found at almost any hardware store and easily attached to the body of the dresser.
Tip Nr.2 – Use a level to ensure perfectly flat surfaces
It’s absolutely essential that all surfaces and especially the top board are completely level, as even the slightest tilt could frighten the baby and make diaper changing more difficult.
If you drilled all the holes in the right places and at the right angles, the board should be perfectly parallel to the floor.
Tip Nr.3 – Baby changing topper can be fixed or movable
Changing the table topper for the dresser is an optional feature that can be used for a while and removed once the baby grows up.
For this reason, this element should be designed separately, either as a mobile pad that fits on the top surface or as a screwed-in element that can be removed later.
Voilà, your DIY Changing Table Dresser is ready!