This dresser is a custom order for some friends of mine who are about to start their foster care journey! I was thrilled when they asked if I would paint something for them! I originally bought this dresser to paint for them, but then I found the one below, and they loved it! It is a better size for their needs, too.
It also had a mirror with it, but they said they didn’t need a mirror for it, so now I can save it and use it with a different project!
Disclaimer: I have included some affiliate links so you can find the products I used and start some projects of your own! They don’t cost you any more, but it gives me a kickback. 🙂
I started by sanding the body all over with some 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around an old sanding sponge like this one.
Then I wiped it down with a clean old towel. Next, I filled all the scratches and gouges with Elmer’s wood filler so that when I sanded again, it would be totally smooth.
Next, I primed the body while I worked on the drawers. I used Zinsser brand Fast Prime 2 primer in white, to try to prevent bleed-through. I’m not sure if this piece would’ve been a bleeder, but you never know. If you don’t know what bleed-through is, it’s basically oils/tannins from either old stain or from the wood itself that seep through the paint and ruins your finish. It’s a pain. Luckily, it didn’t end up bleeding!
I noticed a problem with the dresser when I took the drawers out–the bottom left drawer was missing a drawer glide. Luckily, I had watched a video from Jami Ray Vintage about how to fix this. I cut a scrap piece of wood to size, then used my belt sander upside down as a grinder to get it to be the right thickness (it was just a tad too thick) and to round the end to match the other slides. Disclaimer–this is probably dangerous, so I’m not officially recommending this method. 😉
Then I glued and nailed it down. placement wasn’t too hard, since the outline of the original was still there. I went over the new drawer slide with a block of paraffin wax to help it slide easier.
Before I primed the drawers, I took off the handles and put painter’s tape on the back of the holes so that primer and paint wouldn’t drip down when I painted, since the insides of the drawers were nice, so I didn’t feel like painting the inside if I didn’t have to.
Finding the Right Color
This was the trickiest part of this restoration process. My friends sent me this color swatch they found on Pinterest as the color inspiration.
They loved the color “Surf,” a mix between Dixie Belle’s Vintage Duck Egg and Peacock. I had some Vintage Duck Egg, but I did not have Peacock, and neither did my local Dixie Belle Retailer, Second Wind Furniture. So I decided to check out some Waverly colors at Walmart. I had recently seen a couple of comparison videos, (this one and this one), and it seemed like Waverly was a pretty good brand, and at least half the price of most other chalk paint brands. So I grabbed some “Agave,” which looked just like the “Surf” color they liked. I gave it a coat of that and got this:
Whew! That is punchy! It’s a fun color, but definitely not what they were looking for. Time to get creative!
At Menards the week before, I had just picked up some of these 32-oz containers, which were FREE, yes, FREE, after rebate! Perfect for mixing colors (or holding small things you don’t want to lose).
I ended up mixing all these to get just the right shade. There’s Waverly’s Agave, Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, and a Valspar grey, and Behr green samples I had leftover from other projects. I also ended up using a bunch of Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road (a dark brown-ish grey) to tone it down.
So much better!! This blue is hard to photograph–it looks a lot more grey in this photo than it really is.
For a top-coat, I added two coats of Varathane’s water-based polyurethane in Matte.
Lastly, I added some colored wax to highlight the carved details. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted white or grey, so I texted both pictures to my friend.
Here’s the original with no wax:
Here’s with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in white :
Here’s with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Grunge Grey :
She decided on the grey, and it turned out great!
Those handles are so beautiful, but needed a bit of shining up.
I started by using a bit of super-fine 0000 grade steel wool, but it was taking forever, so I ended up changing to a green Scotch Brite scrubbing pad–way easier and faster!
Wow! Huge difference!!
And finally, here she is!!!
I was so glad I shined up those handles!
The grey wax just adds a subtle pop!
It was nice before, but it’s more sleek and modern now, which totally fits with my friends’ style!
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Next up, I’ll show you how I made over this $30 dresser/buffet!