This simple, step by step painted dresser guide will show you how I transformed a dark, hand-me-down dresser using a little paint and a whole lot of elbow grease!
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Hey everyone! Hope you are all enjoying your weekend, today I am super excited to share a simple painted dresser tutorial with you!
One of the things I was determined to do this year was share projects that we have done in the past that I just never got around to blogging about.
Blogging takes so much time, especially when it comes to DIY projects. Not only are you trying to complete the DIY itself (with young children might I add), but you are also having to stop, take photos of the process, then edit those photos, type up the tutorial, create Pinterest graphics…the list goes on and on.
BUT like I said, I AM going to try my very hardest to finally fill you all in on some of the projects that I am asked about the most, so here we go!
Last Sunday I did a little poll on Instagram asking what you would prefer to see this week, and this painted dresser makeover ranked the highest. Now let me just say that I once again, I took a lot of the progress shots with my iPhone during this project. It was a messy one, but ohhhh so worth it in the end!!
We were given this dresser shortly after we were married, and for 5 years I was too scared to touch it. I thought that if I painted it I would ruin it, so I bought dark, mahogany colored picture frames and baskets for our bedroom to try to tie the whole room together and make it work.
Deep down, I never loved the finish. Don’t get me wrong, it was gorgeous as is and I’m sure many people think I’m crazy for messing with it. But I knew that I didn’t love it. So I finally mustered up the courage to change it.
Painted Dresser – Step One
The first thing I did (after removing the hardware) was apply stripper to the dresser drawer fronts.
Now normally, I would tell you to remove your drawers and take them outside to do a project like this. For whatever reason, though, I could not for the life of me figure out how to remove the drawers. My husband even messed with it and he could not pull them out either. So they stayed in place as I worked.
When you are working with stripper, please use precautions. A sweet friend of mine who taught me how to use stripper once told me – “Andrea, no piece of furniture is more valuable than your eyes or your skin.” Be SURE to wear protective glasses and heavy duty rubber gloves before you get started.
Also, make sure you are in a well ventilated area. We worked on this in late spring so I was able to open all the windows and have fans going as well. Personally, I wasn’t blown away by the stripper I used. I think it was all we had on hand at the time, but I have heard rave reviews about a product called Citri-Strip. I am looking forward to trying it on a small side table soon, but so many of my friends use and love that product!
Whichever product you end up using, simply follow the directions provided. You can see that I used a plastic putty knife to scrape off my finish, then I worked my way up the dresser and tried to reuse as much of the stripper as I could.
Another thing I like to use when stripping wood is a fine grade of steel wool. I like to pour stripper right on to the wool and work it into the wood, removing as much of the finish as I can.
After stripping all of the drawers, it’s wise to clean your wood with something like Mineral Spirits before you do any sanding. That way any residue left on your wood won’t gunk up your sand paper.
Painted Dresser – Step Two
My husband then took his palm sander and went to town on the dresser drawer fronts, getting them as light as he could.
He started with 80 grit sandpaper then finished with 120. One question that I’m asked often is whether or not I sealed the drawers. To be honest, I wish that I had. Unfortunately all I had at the time was a glossy Polycrylic, and I just didn’t like how it made the drawers look wet. I loved the look and feel of the raw wood, so I left them untouched. They do make a matte Polycyclic and another option would have been a clear wax, but my drawers have held up well without any sealing and I haven’t dealt with any stains or marks of any kind.
Painted Dresser – Step Three
Finally, I decided to paint the rest of the dresser. (This is the paint brush I use and love!)
Once again I was trying to use what we had on hand, so I found our exterior house paint color amidst my paint collection in the basement and decided to give it a try! Look how this painted dresser turned out!
Since our home was painted by the previous owners, I don’t have an exact color I can give you. We had to touch up a few spots that were peeling off so we simply had the paint color matched at the hardware store. I can tell you that it is VERY similar to “Chinchilla” by Behr paint. It’s maybe a hair different.
I turned the paint into chalk paint using a recipe that I love –
- 1 cup latex paint
- 2 TBS Plaster of Paris
- 2 TBS of water
- Mix the water and Plaster of Paris until it is dissolved, add 1 cup of paint.
And that’s it! Chalk paint is amazing because it doesn’t require any prep work. No sanding, no stripping, just painting. I love the way this painted dresser turned out! The mix of the deep gray and wood on this painted dresser is so beautiful to me.
I did seal the gray with my Polycrylic, which I definitely prefer because it doesn’t yellow over time like Polyurethane does. You can see the difference in the finish between the paint and wood in these photos…
What do you guys think of this painted dresser? I’m so happy I went for it and gave this a makeover. I seriously love it so much more now then I did when it was dark.
I actually love the variations in the wood, it makes the drawers look more weathered and imperfect.
Do you have any questions about this painted dresser tutorial? Let me know in the comments!! Thanks so much for stopping by today friends!! 🙂