Until I get my studio set up at our new place, I’ll be posting mostly thrifty finds, ideas & guest posts.
This guest post comes from Laura, my thrifting sister. Seriously, she finds the raddest things! I love this dresser she rehabbed! It’s giving me the motivation to finally finish the dresser I started to rehab 8 months ago!
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Hi I’m Laura from You Are My New Dream.
Today I’d like to share with you my most recent diy undertaking. I am so proud to have finally found my much sought after mid century dresser purchased for $39 at the Salvation Army Thrift store. When I first laid eyes on this piece it looked like this:
I wasn’t feeling the sloppy burgundy paint job or the jacked up drawers. It looked pitiful in the store and none of the drawers fit right. It had already been marked down from $60. I thought to myself what a shame that the drawers are messed up. I really fell in love with the mid century shape and I could tell the dresser was solid wood construction with no veneer. I made myself at home on the floor of the thrift store and I played musical drawers until all 6 drawers fit perfectly. Then I walked ran to the register and bought it.
Now let me back up and say that I had never refinished furniture before. (There was that one time I sanded the finish off of a jenny lind bed with sandpaper and spray painted it –not recommended.) I knew what supplies were necessary because I had seen my husband do it before. This was the dresser of my dreams and I knew that there was no way I could paint over that ugliness. It would have to be stripped down to the wood and I would have to figure it out myself. So whats a girl to do? Google. A lot of googling!
- Chemical proof gloves (trust me, paint stripper will burn your skin)
- Paint stripper (Jasco premium)
- Small metal bucket to hold the stripper
- Scrubby paint remover pads
- Metal bristle mini brushes
- A scraper
- Mineral spirits/paint thinner
- Drop Cloth
- Wood putty
- Sandpaper medium and fine grade (do not use a belt sander if you are a beginner)
- Latex interior/exterior primer (Kilz)
- Latex semi gloss pain (Valspar from Lowes)
- Foam roller
- Clear coat or lacquer to seal the deal (Rustoleum clear lacquer spray)
I put the dresser over a dropcloth & outside beneath a carport because it can be quite messy & smelly. Armored with my chemical proof gloves I used a large old paint brush to brush on a thick coat of the paint stripper. I let it sit for 10-15 minutes before trying to scrape it off.
If you’re doing this – you may have to repeat this step a few times depending on the layers of paint or varnish. You can use the scrubby stripping pads, or the bristle brushes for intricate detailed areas. DO NOT get paint stripper on your skin! It will burn horribly. If this happens wash the area with soap and warm water immediately.
Luckily I was working with a lot of straight lines -all except for the sculptural wood drawer pulls. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds! I was very apprehensive at the beginning of this project but once I started, it was surprisingly easy. After I stripped as much paint as I could, I used an old rag to wipe it down with mineral spirits(not soaked) to clean up any of the paint stripper residue. After it dried, I used medium grit sandpaper to remove the remaining paint.
From there I used fine grit sandpaper to sand the wood until it was smooth and even. I discovered two sizable gauges on the top of the dresser so I filled those areas with wood putty which I sanded after it was dry. After brushing off the dresser, I wiped it again with mineral spirits to catch any dust that was left behind. I let it sit for a day so it would dry out completely.
Then I began priming with a brush. I used two THIN coats of interior/exterior primer but a mysterious and stubborn stain kept bleeding through on the top. Thin coats are best! Sand between each coat & use Kilz for stains that bleed through. One light sanding after painting the last coat will do for helping your final paint stick.
I let it sit for about 2 days to let the primer dry thoroughly. Then I painted a thin coat of my color on. I let that dry for about 24 hours then painted another thin coat on all surfaces. I used a foam roller to give the top of the dresser a nice, even final coat. Again, I let this dry for another day or so before spraying it down with Rustoleum clear spray lacquer to protect the surface.
I am very pleased with how this project turned out. This dresser is for my 3 year old daughter Sophie and she loves the happy color. You can see more of Sophie’s room here.