We’re waiting on baby over here so while we wait we are finishing some projects. Yesterday, Brian and I added this top to the dresser in the nursery.
The dresser is the 3 drawer Tarva from ikea. It is unfinished pine so it was easy to match pieces from Menard’s for the top. The original dresser top was just the right size for a standard changing pad to fit but it didn’t allow for any room to set out diapers and supplies. Plus, I would like to avoid the chemicals in the plastic and foam pad this time. Ideally, I will make a cushion to fit this new top but if that doesn’t happen we can just lay a towel in it and the sides will contain baby as well as the curved cushion did. We plan to attach a buckle strap with screws. I really like that we were able to custom make this and create the perfect place for the diaper pail underneath.
I didn’t snap a picture before we attached the top but you can see the piece that inspired me here: Hemnes Changing Table Top. Once you understand the concept my description will make a lot more sense. If you’re going to attempt this read the whole thing first and then decide what order you want to proceed in. We cut all of our pieces first and assembled them right on top of the dresser for the perfect fit.
First, we made a rectangle with 1″x3″ pine boards. You can buy select 1″x3″ boards at Menard’s. Or, if you have a table saw you can buy 1″x4″ boards and rip them to the width you want. 1″x4″ boards are way cheaper, like $2 versus $10! The front and ends of our rectangle are the nicer boards, the back edge closest to the wall is a cheaper one that we ripped. They aren’t exactly the same color but it isn’t very noticeable.
Anyway, the two short end pieces should be cut to exactly match the short sides of the dresser top. The two longer sides should be cut to match the long sides of the dresser minus the ~3/4″ that each end piece takes up (so minus ~1 1/2″) plus the additional length that you want for however long you want your top to hang over. We brought the pieces to the dresser, set them up the way we wanted, and marked the exactly measurements with pencil. This saved a lot on sanding later to get flush edges.
We made our rectangle with the short ends on the outside and not vice versus so that when you walk in the room you see one solid board on the end, not a joint and the end of the two long boards. If your table sits differently, where the front is seen the most, you might want to change it so the long sides are longer and the joints are visible on the short sides.
Anyway, assemble the rectangle with screws and glue. We pre-drilled with a countersinking bit so that the screws pulled in to the wood and we can fill the holes and hide them. We used two #8 x 1 1/4″ wood screws at every corner. This rectangle should sit on top of the dresser and be exactly flush with one short side and both long sides, and overhang on the other short side as much as you desire.
Then, you’ll need a 1″ thick (truly ~3/4″) piece to attach to the bottom on the rectangle. This piece will sit flush with the top of the dresser and extend the surface on the overhang. This piece should be exactly as long as your short end pieces one way. The other way it should fit tight to the short end of the dresser top and be flush with the end of your rectangle. We actually pieced two boards together rather than buying a whole sheet of plywood for such a same piece. We cut both of our pieces to the length of the short ends, and then ripped one of them to get the right measurement the other way.
To attach this bottom piece you drill through it and in to the bottom of the rectangle. We used the same #8 x 1 1/4″ screws and glue here, and pre-drilled with the countersinking bit again so you wouldn’t see screw heads on the bottom edge. For added support we used two pieces of metal hardware to attach the edge of the dresser top and the edge of our new board. These pieces of hardware are called mending plates. Since the dresser top and the new board are not very thick we used #8 x 1/2″ screws here and did not pre-drill.
To attach the end of the rectangle that doesn’t have any overhang we screwed up through the lip of the dresser top and in to the short end piece. We used the 8# x 1 1/4″ screws here, too. That hole on the far left is where I pre-drilled on to much of an angle and would have missed the end piece. You have to go pretty close to the edge of the beveled top to stay in line with the end piece.
I thought the long top might make the dresser unsteady and planned to screw the short end piece directly to the wall if needed. However, I can’t tip it at all by pressing down on the overhand so we just pushed it against the wall and called it good. The dresser itself is not very tall or heavy but if we see any sign of a certain someone trying to climb it we will attach it all to the wall anyway.
We assembled the whole thing and then took it outside and sanded it before attaching in to the dresser. Since the dresser is unfinished we left it at that. It looks good to me, and I don’t think it stands out as being non-factory unless you look closely.