This charming dresser arrived at my house a few weeks ago in need of some TLC. Maybe it doesn’t look so charming at first glance, but it’s been around since the early 1900’s and I could see the potential it had right away.
The best part about this project for me, is that the dresser belongs to a boy whose class I used to substitute a few years back. His name is Evan and he is a great kid who is such a character and always brought a smile to my face each day in class…and lots of laughs! This dresser has been passed down in his family over the years and it needed just the personality to match his…fun, bright, and happy.
Evan’s Mom, Natascha, met me at Home Depot to gather a few pieces for the makeover. New knobs and drawer pulls were a must since a few of the original knobs were missing. She decided she wanted the top to have a new stain color and the bottom painted blue. She and Evan chose beautiful colors for the dresser, which you will see here soon.
The first order of business was sanding the top completely and filling in the places that were split. I don’t know what kind of varnish was on the dresser but it was some serious stuff! It took me a while to sand it completely (even with the electric sander!) but once that was done, I filled it in with Elmer’s Wood Filler. I let it sit for over 24 hours to dry completely and then sanded over the dried wood filler to smooth it down and get rid of the excess. Make sure to get the kind of wood filler that can be stained for this type of project!
Here it is before I finished sanding the wood filler. Luckily, that did the trick!
Once I smoothed out the wood filler on the top, I used a sanding sponge and just scuffed the rest of the finish on the base of the dresser and the drawers where I would be painting. I was getting ready to cover those areas with primer and a very good paint, and since it didn’t have any serious damage, it didn’t need to be completely sanded down.
The stain color Natascha chose is American Chestnut from Minwax, in their PolyShades line. The color is beautiful and I would highly recommend PolyShades for a surface like this. PolyShades is a stain and polyurethane in one and it provides such a strong, durable finish. I used PolyShades on my very first furniture makeover when I refinished my Great Grandmother’s buffet a few years ago and it is still in great shape!
This particular stain works best with two coats and a light sanding in between, before applying the second coat.
Once the first coat of stain and the primer were done, I began marking where I would drill my holes for the new drawer pulls. I used the Align Right Hardware Template for this job because I was replacing the old knobs with pulls, which required two holes that were three inches apart. This template made the job SUPER easy and the new pulls are perfectly centered!
Here are the new holes for the drawer pulls. I used the old hole for the original knob to mark the center.
Now, here’s the step I always recommend after applying the primer…smooth it out again lightly with a sanding sponge. Primer leaves a lot of raised areas and brush strokes, so a light sanding will smooth out the surface before painting the top coat.
And now for the reveal! The dresser was painted a lovely navy blue called Champion Cobalt from Benjamin Moore in Aura Satin. I always use Aura paint on many of my furniture pieces and on every wall in my house. It’s a high-end paint, but I strongly recommend it because it’s a very good quality paint that levels well once it’s applied. It’s a paint and primer in one so it has excellent coverage and blends right in when a touch-up is needed. It’s very easy to clean as well!
I’m always one for keeping the original hardware if I’m able to, but honestly these new knobs and drawer pulls stand out so much better than the original knobs would have.
I had so much fun photographing this dresser, especially since I included my Grandaddy’s toy John Deere tractor. He loved tractors and had such a neat collection. The John Deere green looked perfect with the navy blue!
Another furniture makeover complete! Thanks to Evan and his Mom and Dad for trusting me with this special family piece…I hope you will enjoy the new look for a very long time!