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. 🙂
When I bought this buffet this summer, I planned on painting it to go in my classroom, which I wanted to do in a Farmhouse style. I saw those insets in the drawers, and I thought, “Ooh, I’m gonna do buffalo plaid!”
I had just read this tutorial on how to do buffalo plaid on a plate, and I wanted to try it! I’ve been obsessed with buffalo plaid since I found out 3 and a half years ago that I was expecting a baby boy. I went a little crazy on the buffalo plaid/lumberjack theme in his room, but it turned out so cute. I will have to write another post on that. When I do, I’ll put a link to it here.
The first thing I did was sand down the top to bare wood with 100 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander. I generally like the look of wood tops, and I feel more secure that it won’t get scratched as easily, or, if it does, it won’t be as noticeable as paint.
Next, I cleaned it with a TSP solution, to make sure there wouldn’t be any greasy residue that would keep my paint from sticking to the piece.
I had gotten a gallon of black outdoor paint to paint my front door and future shutters (still don’t have ’em, still want ’em), but never used it. So I used what I had and made some chalk paint using this recipe by The Navage Patch that I found on Pinterest. The body and outsides of the drawers got two coats.
Then I had to tackle the missing drawer from the middle. I put this off for a good while because I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. The dovetails were still on the sides of the drawers, so I thought about trying to learn how to use our router and figure out how to make a dovetail drawer, but quickly decided that was too much trouble (for now, anyway. I’ll learn how to use it eventually).
So I did what you do when you don’t know how to fix something–I called my dad. He gave me the idea to put a false front on it! I used my jigsaw to cut a scrap 1/4 inch board as wide as the drawer, but slightly smaller in height than the true front I would put on it. To attach it, I just cut off the dovetails and glued and nailed the board to where the dovetails used to be. I used Gorilla wood glue and some pretty small nails, since I didn’t want to split the wood on the sides of the drawer.
And then I used my miter saw to cut a 1 x 6″ piece of pine to the width of the drawer. Then I screwed the true front onto the false front from the inside of the drawer. I wish I had some pictures of this part. I did this project before I had a blog and didn’t think to take any! If you have a hard time picturing how a false front works on a drawer, check out your kitchen drawers–they were probably made this way.
I almost couldn’t believe it was that easy! To be honest, I wasn’t sure it would work (probably another reason why I don’t have pictures of the repair).
Then it was on to the buffalo plaid!
First, I gave the insets of the drawers two coats of white homemade chalk paint.
Next, I got some 1-inch painters tape. I started laying out my horizontal stripes for the first step.
But, when I started laying out the 1-inch tape, I got the bright idea to make the checks teeny tiny. Like 1/4 inch. Here’s a picture of the tape:
I got this at Menards, but you can find a similar product here.
I laid out strips of tape on the white insets, spacing them apart about 1/4 inch, so the stripes would all be the same width. Then I used an artist’s brush and painted grey (a blend of Dixie Belle’s Driftwood and DB’s Gravel Road) between the tape stripes. I waited for the first coat to dry, then added a second coat and pulled the tape off right away after finishing.
When it dried, I placed vertical pieces of tape over the painted stripes. The drawer in the top left of the picture below shows what it looks like after step 1, the main drawer in this picture shows step 2:
Can you count how many pieces of tape I used? And this is just one of the 8 sections I did this on! It took several hours.
Then I used the same grey to paint these stripes.
Leave the tape from step 2 on! Then put new tape over the original taped spots from step 1. If you’ve done this right, you should not be able to see white–just some grey squares. Then I used my black to paint the remaining grey squares black.
While I had all the hardware off, I spray painted them gold. I chose a very shiny gold this time, because last time I used gold spray paint on hardware, it just looked dull to me.
Here’s the one I used last time:
It looked too fake to me. Too much like you could tell they were spray painted. This dresser was one of my early projects, so give me some grace.
This new gold, Rustoleum metallic gold, was very different:
It definitely looked more like real metal this time! But, I felt like it still wasn’t quite right for the country/farmhouse feel of this buffet. So I added some “Vintage Gold” gilding wax from Art Alchemy–a branch of Redesign with Prima.
It helped to tone down the brightness of the gold to make it fit better with the style.
Then for some crazy reason (I was out of my favorite stain and was too lazy to go to the store to get more and too impatient to order it on Amazon), I changed my mind on the top of the buffet, and decided to paint it. Big mistake.
If you remember, I had sanded that top down to bare wood already, with the intention of staining it. But when I painted it, parts of it ended up…weird. You can see the weirdness in this picture on the left side of the top:
I decided that maybe it would look fine if I just put a coat of polyurethane on it. Nope. Then I thought, “Maybe I need to seal it with shellac–that does the trick sometimes with bleed-through, so maybe it will work for this. Then I’ll try to paint more black over it.” Nope. The picture below is what happened when I tried to put a couple of coats of shellac on it.
At this point, I felt so defeated. But I knew what I had to do. I sanded it back down to bare wood so I could stain it.
I should’ve gone with my gut, because it turned out to be beautiful.
It took about 2 hours to get all that off. And it was gunky–sort of gummy when the friction from my belt sander heated up the shellac. I took turns sanding and scraping the gummy stuff of with my putty knife.
The good thing that came out of it was that the groove that ran around the top now had black in it, which looked pretty cool. The rest of the top I stained with Minwax’s Early American.
To seal it, I added two coats of Varathane’s water based polyurethane in matte (no problems this time, thank God!). The last thing I did to it was added some of Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in white to bring out the details–especially in the center door!
I like to put down poly before I add colored wax, glaze, or another decorative finish so that I can wipe it back with a rag in the places I don’t want it. So I just kind of pounced it/swirled it in the cracks around the carvings, then wiped it off of the high points, so that it stayed in the crevices. They definitely stand out more this way!
And here’s the final product:
It took hours to place the tape for those tiny checks, but it looks soooo cute. And this piece sold in less than two hours! It went to my friend from church who has a super cute old farmhouse. I had originally intended for it to go in my classroom, but it would’ve been a bit big for the space.
Every piece has its own drama! If you liked this makeover, stay tuned for more!
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Here’s a before for my next project: I’m finally painting the bedside tables I bought for our bedroom this summer!