Hello lovely Friends and welcome to Themed Furniture Thursday! This month’s theme is storage, so what better project for this theme than a dresser, right?
Can I please just tell you first how relieved I am that this dresser makeover is done?? This piece gave me SO MUCH trouble. You don’t hear me say that very often, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s just good to hear that other’s struggle too, right? I feel like I need to vent about my struggle with this troublemaker. This story does have a happy ending, but let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
I came upon this antique empire dresser one night last week when I was supposed to be running to the grocery store really quickly just before dinner for a can of diced tomatoes. There is a DAV thrift store one turn before the grocery store and a Goodwill right next door to the grocery store, so of course I never mind having to run out last minute to pick something up!
Here is what I thought was a huge score from the DAV in all her musty glory:
All furniture was 20% off so I got this for $60. I must not have taken a photo of the top, but the veneer had what almost looked like a burn hole the size of an orange in it, with several areas chipped away and flapping up. So I figured no problem I’ll just take that right off. I see people do it all the time.
Two hours and one blister later…
Yeah this is not the easiest way to remove veneer, so you probably want to seek out another method like the one in this post from my talented friend Larissa…a much more patient method. I ended up gouging the wood in several areas and the burned area left a dark circle, so I decided paint would have to be the answer. No problem. I got this.
I used Elmer’s wood filler to putty the gouges and sanded smooth…
Then I painted. Two coats. It looked awful. There were so many bumps and divots and it was just not working for me.
So this happened…
I thought stain might be a bit more forgiving, so plan B was to sand it back down and stain since the wood filler claimed it was stainable.
Only it looked like this…
I never could get the paint out of all those tiny grooves in the grain no matter how much I sanded.
I had to walk away for a couple of days and think of a new plan.
Plan C. Stencil. I ordered a French love letter stencil and paid extra for two-day shipping. That was Friday morning. On Tuesday I was still waiting.
I figured I would repaint the top and add the stencil to camouflage the imperfections, but time was running out.
With no stencil and no idea how I was going to salvage this dresser, I repainted the top anyway. Three coats, and guess what? It was SMOOTH! What the? All that sanding I did to remove the paint must have smoothed out most of the imperfections! There are still some here and there, but now they’re called character. 🙂
OH and did I mention the sides?
I figured I’d learned my lesson and decided to patch them…
But after painting it showed every flaw, and I just wasn’t happy. Not to mention this thang stank…talk about musty! And the paint bled through like CRAZY. Lot’s of shellac solved most of that trouble. There was also peeling veneer on the drawers which had to be mended.
But I did get through it. (And lived to tell the tale!)
Ok are you ready to see how this disaster turned out??
Not too bad, right?
Can you spy how I fixed the sides?
With a little tissue paper!
I found the tissue paper idea here when I was desperately seeking a solution for the top. I ended up using it on the sides instead to camouflage the imperfections. (There are some lovely makeovers on that site by the way!)
It worked like a charm. I applied it with matte Mod Podge using a foam brush. When it was dry, I clear waxed right over it. Surprisingly, it took the wax very well. (Tissue paper is from Michaels.)
I decided to keep the top two drawers stained. It looked like the veneer had already been removed from those two and I loved the wood.
I used Antique Furniture Refinisher (affiliate link) and very fine steel wool (0000) to remove the original stain, and stained them in Minwax Dark Walnut. I added a couple of coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly (affiliate link) to seal.
The glass knobs are original and so beautiful that I definitely wanted to use them again. Two were missing though so I replaced them with something that coordinated.
Do you see the “kitty” in that picture? ha ha Looks like a kitty being caught getting up to no good!
The drawers got a little pretty scrapbook paper treatment…
It’s not even about the work though. I gave something that was in such disrepair, a fresh start. A chance to be loved again for years to come, and that feels pretty good.
But maybe next time, I shouldn’t take any detours on my way to the grocery store. 🙂
Don’t forget to see what my friends made over for this fun theme too!
Thanks so much for letting me vent, guys! Ya’ll are the best!
Here are a few of my favorite past Themed Furniture Thursday pieces you might like too:
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