Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dresser Painting Tutorial

I know I'm super behind on this, but I did promise a tutorial on how we painted our trash-to-treasure dressers. It was super easy and fairly inexpensive and I definitely will be doing this when we need to replace or update furniture in the future!

One of the dressers we used was entirely real wood and one had a laminate surface so I can vouch that the steps we used will work in both cases.

The first thing we did was sand the furniture. The primer that we purchased didn't require this step, but Jon was still nervous so he spent an hour or so a day over the course of several days manually sanding everything down a bit to give it a rougher surface. Again, the primer we bought is made specially so you don't have to sand, so I wouldn't feel guilty about skipping this tedious step :-)

Next, we had decided to replace the cabinet pulls which called for some moving around/replacing of holes for the pulls to be installed. For example, you can see on this dresser that 6 out of the 7 drawers had pulls that required two holes per pull.

Side note that this weird flooring is not ours, this is the picture the previous owners had on Craigslist :-)

The ones that we were switching to only required one hole, so Jon had to take off all the hardware and then fill the holes that were already in the dresser. He just used a simple wood filler that he got for a few bucks at Home Depot.

Elmer's Stainable Wood Filler
For the new holes, Jon drilled in from the outside and through the front of the drawer. When he went to test the new drawer pulls, however, the wood was too thick for the new screws to reach all the way through the front of the drawer. The screws were a metric screw so they couldn't just be replaced, either (I don't know what this means, Jon is just telling me word for word what to write for this part!) To fix this problem, Jon drilled in from the inside of the drawer using a bit that was as thick as the head of the screw so that the screw could sink into the drawer and reach all the way through. The result of this was that the screw fit through the drawer, the handles fit nicely, and when you open the drawer, you don't see the screws sticking though. I forgot to take pictures of this step since I wasn't too involved at this point...whoops!

Finally! Time to paint! We used Zinsser Cover-Stain Oil Base Primer Sealer in white which worked fabulously.

A one gallon container was enough for three coats on each dresser with plenty leftover.

To apply the paint, I recommend using the best brushes and rollers you can find. Home Depot had a "Good", "Better", "Professional Quality: Best" version of each of the brushes and rollers they sold. We sprung for the "Best" version and it really does make a huge difference. Unfortunately, the primer is SUPER thick and oil-based so cleaning them off would have been next to impossible so these expensive brushes did become one-time-use expensive brushes.

We made the mistake at first of trying to use a brush on most of the surfaces but that left very obvious brush strokes in the paint, even after it dried and after several coats. By the third coat, we had switched over to using a tiny roller for everything from the flat surfaces to almost every little crevice we could get it into. If you want to be able to see the grain through the paint a bit, a brush may be your best option, but we really wanted a nice, clean, even white surface.

As I said, we ended up doing three coats on everything since we ended up using the primer as our paint, as well, and didn't do another color after the primer (with the exception of the drawers). If you are planning on doing another color on top of the primer, you probably would be ok with one or two coats, though I'd recommend two especially on the laminate surface to make sure that you have a good surface for the paint to go on top of.

We did end up painting the drawers on the five drawer dresser in an ombre pink fashion that I absolutely adore. We grabbed a paint card from Home Depot that had the progression of pink that we liked and then purchased a tester jar (I think around $2 each?) of each color. For the lightest shade of pink, they weren't able to mix up as a tester because it was so light that they wouldn't be able to get the right hue injected into that small of a batch.

Our plan was to take the lightest color we were able to get and mix a little white with it for the fifth shade. However, once we got to painting, the lightest shade that they were able to make us showed up so light that it was natural to leave the top drawer white and have it progress from there. It actually ended up being a blessing in disguise as it now fits with the rest of the white dresser better.

We started with white on the top drawer and then painted two coats of each color on the individual drawers, working our way down from lightest to darkest. Super easy, super cheap, and such a great effect!

The final painting step was to put a top coat on the dressers to seal them and give them a glossier surface since we had only used primer and a flat tester of paint up until this point. After researching a bunch of different top coat methods and brands, we ended up using Minwax Water Based Polcyrlic that you could just paint on similar to the primer.

We did two coats of the top coat using the best quality rollers again.

Last up was to install the uber cheap acrylic drawer pulls that we had purchased off of Ebay...

...and voila! Two brand spanking new, professional looking dressers for under $150! Can't beat that!

Dresser #1 Before:

Dresser #2 After!:

Dresser #2 Before:

Dresser # 2 After!:

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