I found a “trunk of a lifetime” at the Gaithersburg Habitat for Humanity Restore. They were having a 50%off sale for Memorial Day and I paid $40. I was assured that it had “good bones” and an interesting lock. I agreed and brought it home to be my first project with my new Mother’s Day sander.
I am trying to update the battered wood furniture pieces throughout the house that I have bought over the past few years. There are a few of them! Some need a little wax on the bottom of the drawers while others need a complete overhaul. The guest room dresser needed a little bit of everything.
I bought this dresser off Craigslist just before we moved into our house. This was before I knew about ReStore or the Facebook yard sale groups. But it was a great deal and has lots of character and charm. It was built by hand and you could tell it had been loved over the years, maybe by an Eleanor?!!
There were a few cosmetic reasons I wanted to update this dresser
- High gloss finish
- Grain of the wood looked almost fake
- Mirror had come apart and was unevenly glued back together
- Inside of the drawers were stained
- Painters Tape
- Paint Brush
- Paint (General Finishes Queenstown Gray Milk Paint)
- Paint (White for inside drawers)
- Wood Filler
Refinishing the Dresser
- I covered the small metal piece that was once a key hole with painters tape, then cut around it. I like the metal on the drawers and wanted to make sure it was not destroyed in the sanding and painting process.
- Remove all additional hardware.
- Use a sander to remove the high gloss finish and to even out the surfaces. The paint will not adhere properly unless the finish is removed.
- The mirror required more sanding than the drawers because of the unevenness at the joints. I applied wood filler to some of those joints to make them more cohesive.
3. Wood Filler
- Use wood filler to fill in any dents and smooth out the surfaces. (I didn’t realize how large some indents were until after the first coat of paint.)
- Once filler dries, sand again to smooth out surfaces.
- Apply 3 coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in Queenstown Gray, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
- If I were using latex paint, I would add a coat of primer first, but since I am using the milk paint, I skipped this step. General Finishes Milk Paint already contains a binding agent, so primer was not necessary.
- I used Wooster’s Shortcut Paint Brush. The soft flexible handle fits very comfortably in my hand, the short handle makes it easier to fit in tight spaces/corners, and the bristles hold up and do not fall out in the paint.
- Be careful not to let paint clump up on the outside of the drawer. If this happens the drawer will stick or not close in the dresser properly. Sand and touch up if necessary.
- Apply 2-3 coats of paint to the knobs.
- I liked the original wood knobs from this dresser and did not want to buy new hardware. So, I applied about 3 coats of milk paint. First to the top and then to the sides.
5. Paint the Drawers
Painting the drawers is not something I normally do. These drawers had so many stains in them and really needed something to give them a fresh look.
- Apply 2-3 coats of Benjamin Moore’s Royal Select White Paint to the inside of the drawers. Since I was not going to need a lot of paint for the 3 drawers, I went with something I already had on hand.
6. Finishing Touches
Once all the paint was completely dried, I attached the mirror and hardware. I also added drawer liners in each drawer.