I stepped out with Cooper for a walk the other day, but didn’t get very far. Across the street, my neighbor had set out an old chifferobe dresser on the corner. Around here, that means it’s free for the taking! I went over with Coop and inspected the dresser. It had an adorable style with a terrible scratched paint job, a very vibrant green spray paint over white. I thought, I can make this beautiful again! Today I present my first dresser makeover. Be sure to check out the before and after’s below.
The Dresser Before
I actually recall my neighbors making over this dresser a few years ago. I love a good redo, so I walked on over to check it out and add a few words of wisdom to help them on their project. I noted how it would be good to sand it a bit before they started, that they would need more than one can of spray paint, how to avoid drips, etc, etc. It looks like they didn’t head my advice, and went straight to the spray paint. I can’t blame them, sometimes you get a project in mind and you want it finished NOW, which has been part of my problem in the past. I like the satisfaction of completion as much as anyone, but have slowly learned that things like this take time if you want to do them right and have them stay long-lasting.
Back to the dresser—the paint was not adhering well and could easily be scratched off with a fingernail. Luckily the dresser had not been painted green on either of the sides or interior (Did I mention they may have wanted more spray paint?). The dresser wasn’t in too bad of shape. There was a little damage to the back legs and the drawers were a little loose in spots. The drawers were fixable and the damage I could live with. I do like things a bit on the shabby side, so that wasn’t a deterrent. I ran back over to my house with Coop in tow, grabbed my furniture dolly and had the dresser rolled over to my house in a flash. I wasn’t going to let someone else get ahold of this cute gem.
If I don’t start on a project pretty soon after it comes in the house it tends to sit. I made a point to start on the dresser makeover the following weekend. To complete this project I used the tools and materials listed below:
- Flat head screw-driver
- Phillips screw-driver
- Air compressor
- Brad nailer gun
- Angled paint brush
- Drop cloth – I have been reusing some plastic table cloths for years now
- Minerals sprits – For cleaning primer brushes
- Hand broom – For dusting off old cobwebs and sanding dust
- Tack cloth – For wiping off sanding dust
- Old crock pot – For stripping hardware
- Dental pick
- Palm sander
- Paint can opener
- Rubber mallet – To close paint cans
- 1/2″ brad nails for brad nailer gun
- Kills Primer
- 1 quart Home Depot Behr Paint and Primer in One in Clunch – color by Farrow and Ball
- 8oz chalk paint by Americana Decor in Vintage from Home Depot
- 150 grit sandpaper
Step 1: Prep, Sanding & Fixing the Structure
To begin, I made sure to remove all of the hardware, including the knobs, hinges, screws and inside door latch. I would later strip them of the old white and green paint. Always be sure to remove your hardware before beginning a piece. It will make it easier to sand each surface.
With the hardware and knobs removed, I set to work sanding the whole dresser down completely, removing almost all of the green paint and roughing up the white paint underneath so it would grip a new layer. I used a palm sander with a 150 grit sandpaper, changing the paper a few times throughout. I used a mask and some goggles to avoid the dust, though the rest of my garage wasn’t so lucky. Sanding took a good chunk of time to get an even sand across the entire piece of furniture. Once everything was sanded, the dresser was a VERY shabby chic white.
Repairing the Drawers
As I mentioned earlier, the drawers were a bit loose. I went ahead and used my hammer on the original nails on the drawers to sturdy up their structure. I also used my air compressor and brad nailer to add a few nails on each side of every drawer to keep them from becoming loose again.
STEP 2: Stripping the Hardware
Meanwhile, I started soaking the hinges and screws to remove the paint. I’ve started to enjoy using an old crockpot to soak hardware rather than using a paint stripper. I’m really not a fan of the chemicals or the cleanup that come along with them. The crockpot is easy to use and easier to cleanup. To learn more on crock pot stripping check out my post on how to strip hardware without paint stripper.
STEP 3: Priming
Once everything was sanded and sturdy, and the hardware was soaking, I began priming. I used Kills primer to coat the entire dresser, cabinet interior, drawer fronts, wooden knobs and door front and back. I decided to leave a nod to the dresser’s past and leave the inside of the drawers the original color.
I gave the everything a good coat. I had to do the door in two settings, to get the front and back. After the initial coat, I gave a second coat the the interior of the cabinet to get better coverage over the original color. I also gave a second coat to the inside of the door and made some touchups here and there to cover any glaring spots on the dresser.
STEP 4: Picking Colors and Painting
With the cabinet primed, I went out and bought a creamy matte paint, Behr Paint and Primer in one from Home Depot, in Clunch. Clunch is a color I was able to match from Farrow & Ball’s paint deck. I also bought a chalky paint at Home Depot in the color Vintage, which turned out to be a soft blue/green. I haven’t tried chalk paint before, so I had decided to give it a go.
I painted the whole exterior of the cabinet with the cream colored paint. With the primer having such great coverage, I got away with one coat and some touchups to the exterior, drawers, knobs and door front where needed. I did the knobs in two phases, since they were awkward to paint. I painted around the base first, let that dry and then painted the tops. On the inside of the dresser I had decided I wanted to do a pop of color. I used the chalk paint on the interior of the closet portion of the dresser and on the backside of the door. I had to do 2 coats of the chalk paint to get a decent finish. I was also going to leave the bottom of the interior white, but found it hard to get a clean edge in the corners. I decided to later just paint the bottom with chalk paint to avoid having to do any masking.
STEP 5: Putting it Back Together
With the paint removed from the hardware and with everything dry, I reattached the hinges and screws to the door and put the knobs on the drawers. Here was the hitch, when I painted the door, the paint added thickness to the edges, making the door an extremely (unusable) tight fit. Unfortunately, I did have to go back and sand down the top and outside edge of the door to get a good fit. it’s still a tight close, but opens and closes easily.
The Big Reveal
Now I present you with the final product! The dresser is done and looking better than ever. I moved it up into our guest room and I think the interior color complements the wall color really well. I styled it with an old fan of Tim’s, a few vintage books topped with a ceramic quail. I’m really happy with how everything turned out. Enjoy the after photos below!
Questions or Comments?
Have you taken on any furniture makeovers of your own? What was your process and how did it turn out?