How to remove decorative pieces on the front of drawers

So many mid century modern dressers have these decorative pieces on them. When I discovered that they could come off quite easily, what a difference it has made to my refinishing!

Materials & Tools:

  • Putty knife
  • Vise grips
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Screwdriver (to remove original hardware)
  • Poly Filla

How I removed the decorative pieces:

  1. Remove existing hardware.
  1. Using a putty knife, gently lift the decorative piece from the front of the drawer. You might have to work your way around the piece to help move it along.
  1. Lift the decorative piece off. Fingers crossed 🤞 that underneath you just find nails and not glue!
  1. Remove the nails using locking pliers (also known as vice grips). This takes some elbow grease to both pull out the nail and open the grips to take the nail out of them.
  1. Sand the bumps left by the nails and fill holes.
  1. I often find that once the poly dries, it shrinks and then requires a second application. After the first coat dries, I wash down the front with a water and dish soap (Blue Dawn!) mixture.
  1. Apply second coat of fill (if necessary). Wash again after it dries.
  1. Now it’s time to paint!

You can see after one coat that you can still see the areas where the decorative pieces and the hardware originally were.

  1. Time for a second coat of paint.

Look at the difference the second coat of paint makes!

  1. I sealed this piece with Annie Sloan’s glossy lacquer.

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