I am so excited to finally have Jude’s dresser make-over completed! Last night our friends Lauren and her husband Jason came by to help me move it out of my studio and into the nursery (I couldn’t move it alone and S couldn’t help me in her delicate state). It looks so perfect in there with the gray nursery walls, it gives the room such a bold pop of color; I just love it so much. It makes me really glad that we painted the nursery gray. I emailed a picture of the finished product to S’s mom last night and found out from her that this dresser was not only S’s as a little girl, but it was her mom’s dresser as well, so this dresser will be used by three generations of kids! I think that is pretty cool, I like that this dresser has some extra history to it.
Here is a before shot of the dresser. I forgot to get one right at the very start, so this picture actually shows it after I had started sanding it and prying off the little green flower embellishments.
So the first thing that I did was remove all of the green flower embellishments. I was worried when I first stated that they were attached to the dresser in some sort of weird way, like hidden screws or that they were actually a part of the wood on the dresser and that they wouldn’t come off. So I was really nervous to mess with them and ding them up when I could just paint over them and hope that they sort of blended in better once the dresser was one solid color. But I got lucky, and when I took a screw driver and butter knife to the edges of them, they all popped right off. It looks like they were stapled in some way to the dresser. Here is a detail shot of one of the dresser drawers with the flowers I’m talking about.
Once all of the flowers were off, I removed the original hardware on the drawers. Quite a few of the pulls were missing, so I didn’t really have any option on keeping the old ones, which weren’t very cute anyway, so out they went. The next step was sanding. I wasn’t sure what sort of paint had been used originally on the dresser, so I wanted to make sure I at least got the clear coat off of it and I wanted to rough up the paint a bit so primer would stick better. I borrowed a hand sander from a friend and went to town. I did a rough sand first and then went back over it with a finer sand paper. I wasn’t trying to get down to the raw wood so in all removing the flowers and hardware and then sanding probably took me about an hour.
Next it was time to paint. Originally I had planned to use a separate primer and then paint, but somehow the guy a Home Depot talked me into using the Behr paint with added primer, and I went with it, despite my poor results from using it previously to paint the nursery gray. The color I used is called Mermaid Treasure, which is actually just a little bit more of a turquoise color than the after photos below really show. I got it in a flat, so that it would again stick a bit better and also to help the polyurethane to stick. I used a 2 inch paint brush that I had bought when we painted the nursery gray, along with a mini foam roller. I put the first coat on just as is, being sure to get as even and thin of a coat as possible.
For the second and third coats, I added a product called Floetrol to the paint. Floetrol is really cool stuff, its only about $6 for a big container of it and what it does is keeps the paint from drying as quickly and helps keep the paint level, which means that you don’t have the same brush marks and roller edge marks that you normally will have with latex paint. The stuff is genius and it totally worked. The dresser had a bit of texture to it from how the wood is, so I don’t know that you would have seen a lot of brush marks on this wood anyway, but adding Floetrol guaranteed that there weren’t any. If you are painting a particularly smooth piece of furniture, it is worth the money. Now I didn’t use it with the first coat of paint because I was worried that it might affect the sticky “primer” part of the paint and keep me from getting the paint to really stick, but I’m not sure that it really would have made a difference. Also, Floetrol doesn’t effect the color of the paint at all, in case you were wondering. It does however, make the paint feel a bit more watery, which again helped to get thin even coats, which I think is key when painting.
After about 24 hours of letting the paint get really dry, I added several coats of polyurethane to make it nice and shiny, and also to protect the paint from dings and scratches. I used a product called Minwax for this, the water-based version. I used the water-based version just for the sake of clean up, I didn’t want to have to pull out the paint thinner, soap and water is just a heck of a lot easier. Now according to the directions, you need three coats to get the most even coverage and you are supposed to lightly sand it after the first coat. I skipped the sanding part, mostly out of being lazy, and I put three coats on everything except for the top of the dresser. I put four coats on that, because I figured that it would be the part getting the more wear and tear.
All that was left was putting on the new drawer pulls. I got these from Target. But annoyingly enough, the screws that they came with where too short and the old screws were too long (plus because I was missing some of the original pulls, I didn’t have enough even if they had fit). So I was off again to Home Depot to get the screws that would fit just right. I was like Goldilocks trying to find one that was just right.
So that is the whole story of how I DIY-ed our dresser. And now the picture you’ve been waiting for, the finished product!