Having spent the past nine months with my cubical neighbor and good friend Jaclyn and her expanding baby belly, we’ve shared ideas about decorating baby spaces. I volunteered my artsy services for whatever she had in mind for baby Kailey’s pad. When she was given this hand-me-down dresser she wanted to make it something special. I don’t know who or how we came up with the idea, but Jaclyn decided she wanted a distressed piece of furniture. No problemo.
I had never distressed any furniture but I’m an avid DIY-er so I had an idea of how to go about doing such a thing. I listed all the steps for her that I planned on following and made a list of supplies we needed. We went shopping for supplies and picked out paint and they dropped off the dresser in my garage trusting me to go about turning it into something special. After I had this thing stripped and blobs of paint and stripper were on the floor it made me laugh because I kept thinking, “If Jaclyn were to see this mess right now she would probably have second thoughts.” But I kept thinking how lucky I am that I have friends that trust me enough to do this sort of thing with their belongings. And I’m so happy to be able to do things like this for the people I love.
Here’s the dresser they dropped off.
In the process I found out that all the traffic areas – the tops, drawers, and door – are wood. The rest was particle board.
I’ll spare all the gory details about stripping the paint off this bad boy but I did think it was weird how the particle board paint chipped off instead of coming off in globs like it did on the wood.
I filled in the edges of stripped particle board with wood filler, let it dry, then sanded it down to seal the particle board. Next time I refinish particle board, I’ll just sand it down rather than using paint stripper. I had a scare when the veneer came peeling off. However, I’m of the mindset that most all things are fixable so I wasn’t too worried. I figured out a solution pretty fast.
Ready to be primed.
Two coats of primer and ready for some paint.
Finished painting two coats of lovely green paint…Sparkling Lake by Valspar.
If you noticed the legs aren’t painted, good observation. If I took them off all the weight of the dresser would be on the front panel. So after I finished the entire body, I laid the dresser on its back to take the weight off of the front bottom panel, and I painted the legs. It took no time at all to finish them.
Here comes the fun part.
I sanded the high traffic areas and edges down to the primer and on the corners, down to the wood. These are the places that, if you imagine this dresser being 50 years old, would have the most damage. It was a little hard messing something up I had worked so hard to make pretty but I got over that quick once I busted out the antique glaze. That stuff was fun!
Distressing really is an art. It took me a good few hours to distress the whole dresser. I wanted to make sure that the way I distressed it would make sense – I constantly asked myself, “Is this what it would look like if this dresser were really worn naturally?” I tried to make all of the strokes make sense and all of the high traffic areas the most worn. It took patience but doing this sort of work is my heaven. I could do it all day long…preferably in the spring or fall, however.
Once I was done distressing I painted the legs, added a coat of polyurethane to seal everything in, put all the drawers back, and added the knobs.
The final product was something I am very proud of.
Jaclyn picked out the paint color and the knobs. Great job, Jac! The colors go so well together!
Let’s take one more look at the transformation…
Now every time Jaclyn changes Kailey’s diaper, she’ll be thinking of me. 🙂
I had so much fun distressing this dresser that I’m planning on doing it to a few pieces around the house!