Finally, I get to show you the dresser that I’ve been working hard to refinish. It actually worked out nicely since my husband was out of town last week, so I had some down time each evening after the boys went to bed so I could really focus on working on this project.
Just to recap, I found my dresser on Craigslist for $40. I found a photo which I used as inspiration for what I wanted it to look like.
First, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Here’s what my dresser used to look like:
- Murphy’s Oil Soap
- Putty Knife
- Medium Grit Sandpaper
- Fine Sandpaper
- Minwax Ebony Stain
- Minwax Wipe-On Satin Poly
- White Staining Cloths
- Benjamin Moore White Diamond Semi-Gloss Paint
- Minwax Finishing Paste in Natural
- Cheese Cloth
- Kilz Primer
- Paint Brush
- Foam Roller
First, I gave the whole dresser a really good cleaning with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Once it was clean and dry, and after I removed the drawer pulls, I used furniture stripper just on the top since I would be using stain on that surface rather than paint. The furniture stripper didn’t do a whole lot since the top was actually a thin veneer. By the way, you CAN stain veneer if it is real wood. If it isn’t real wood, you can’t stain it. (But you can paint it. You can paint basically anything.) Luckily mine proved to be real wood. I carefully sanded it with medium grit sandpaper and then finished it off with fine sandpaper (220 grit). Be careful sanding veneer, by the way. You don’t want to damage the edges or, worse yet, sand the whole veneer off! Some people say not to sand it at all, but I had to get that shiny finish off somehow since I was staining, and that seemed to be the only thing that would work.
After I sanded the top, I used medium grit sandpaper to sand the whole base and drawer fronts. This part didn’t have to be perfect since I was going to paint it instead of using stain. All you have to do is just sand the sheen off of it so it has a dull finish, creating a surface that is easier for the paint to “grab” onto. After all my sanding was complete, I gave the whole piece a good wipe down with tack cloth to get all of the sanding dust off.
I opted to stain the top first. I wanted that to be totally done, sealed, dry, etc. before I started on the rest. I didn’t want to risk getting stain all over my brand new paint job, and I didn’t want sanding dust from the base to fly up and stick to my wet polyurethaned top. For the top, I applied one coat of Minwax Ebony Stain. I was nervous since this was my first time staining, but it was SO easy! Just be sure to follow the directions and don’t skip a step or get impatient. Let it dry!! I used a staining pad and rubbed the stain in the direction of the grain, being careful to go from one end to the other in a continuous motion to avoid an uneven finish. I only applied one coat of stain because it was all it took to get the shade I wanted (a dark Espresso brown). After it dried, I took a lint-free cloth and wiped any excess off before sealing. I then sealed with 3 coats of Wipe-On Satin Poly (follow directions! I let my final coat dry overnight before doing any more work.)
|Closeup of Stained Top|
Finally, my top was done! I patched any tiny nicks and scratches on the base with wood filler, then I laid the dresser on its back, allowing me to more easily paint the little nooks and crannies along the bottom. I primed with a coat of Kilz, then painted with Benjamin Moore White Diamond Semi-gloss interior latex paint. I sanded with fine sandpaper between each coat. I ended up applying 3 very thin coats of paint. Thin coats are better and produce a more professional-looking result.
Finally, I very subtly distressed the dresser with fine sandpaper. And I do mean VERY subtly. I wanted to give it that Pottery Barn time-worn look, but not too rustic. Then I sealed the painted part with Minwax Finishing Paste. This stuff is great because it will not turn yellow as polyurethane often will when applied on top of white or a light color, but it still provides protection. This is the first time I’ve used it, but I had heard great things about it. Just apply to one side of a cheesecloth, then double the cloth over and use the opposite side to apply it evenly to the wood. (The right amount will soak through the cloth and onto the furniture). Let it dry for 10-15 minutes, then buff with a clean, dry cloth.
I decided not to change the original hardware at all. After I gave them a good cleaning, I loved the way they looked in their natural state. And I loved their shape too.
|I know this tutorial is a bit lengthy, but I wanted to give step by step instructions for anyone interested in doing a similar project. I know I found these type of instructions helpful myself. If you are interested in any other tips or advice on furniture refinishing, I highly recommend that you visit Perfectly Imperfect, which I used as a guide myself.|
- How to Paint Furniture
- How to Stain Furniture
- How to Tell if Wood Furniture is Real or Fake
- How to Strip Paint Off Furniture
- How to Paint a Striped Wall
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