Tag Archives: painted dresser

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

As I’ve slowly been dabbling in the world of furniture rehab the last year, I’ve learned quite a bit. Namely, that restoring wood furniture takes time and patience. I understand why people choose to go the painted furniture route because, frankly, it’s a lot easier!

A few weeks ago I revealed that I had finally finished DIYing my mom’s childhood bedroom dresser.

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

It’s been a beast to get it done. Nonetheless, I definitely don’t regret this DIY dresser project!

I shared a few months ago the dresser and how I stripped it of its (many layers) of paint.

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

Read about my sanding process here.

After that, I spent a boatload of time sanding. Usually I just use a palm sander (starting with rough grit paper up to very fine).

But the gouges in the surface of this dresser were so deep I needed to use our belt sander. (And as you can see by the photo below I needed a bit of assistance using it. I was a little Lucille-Ball-esque letting it carry me away with it!)

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

It was well worth all the effort of sanding though – it now has a nice new surface!

It goes well with the other DIY dresser I have refinished!

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

This time around I did use one new method: pre-staining.

Why Pre-Stain?

Pre-Stain is typically used on raw or soft wood materials. The pre-stain helps to prepare the wood so the stain will soak in more evenly – preventing blotches and streaks.

How to Use Pre-Stain:

Using pre-stain is simple. Going forward, I would definitely use it on any furniture staining projects I have, just to make the final color that much richer.

I used Minwax Pre-Stain conditioner. A large can will run you about $10, but will last you forever! After you have finished all your sanding, brush on the pre-stain with a foam brush just like stain, and let it sit for 5-15 minutes. Then just wipe off any excess.

You will want to stain your piece within 2 hours from pre-staining it for the best absorption.

Read how I stain and polyurethane here.

This dresser was stained with Minwax Special Walnut stain and topped with Cabot Semi-Gloss Fast Drying Polyurethane. I always use foam brushes when applying stain or poly, and just a friendly reminder – DON’T SHAKE THE POLY! Stir it gently! Otherwise the air bubbles will dry and your dresser will feel like you spilled PopRox on it.

DIY Tutorial: Refinishing a Painted Dresser and How to Pre-Stain Wood

Dresser Hardware

For the hardware,  I chose with mercury glass knobs. I found a 4-pack in HomeGoods for $8.00! You can find the same ones on Amazon ($12 for 2) or let yourself be seduced by the glitz of Anthropologie and get ripped off for $8.00 a pop for the exact same knobs!

For the top drawers I found smaller mercury glass knobs at Target for a whopping $20 for set of 4. I couldn’t find smaller knobs like them anywhere so I bought them. And they are perfect!

For the keyholes, I gently pried out the old metal inserts with a screwdriver. I’ve seen replacements online for $2/each, and may add those at a later point.

That brings my grand total for this DIY dresser makeover to about $45. (Pre-Stain – $10, Hardware: $28, Sandpaper: ~$5)

While this project took me ages to finish, I’m so happy I kept at it! It was totally worth it!

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Thanks for stopping by! : ) Kat

I’m linking this project up to one of my favorite furniture rehab gurus – Miss Mustard Seed’s Friday Furniture link party.

Before & After: An Old Painted Dresser

First – Happy Saturday!

We’ve had several men working on our house for the last two weeks residing our house. (!!) The  old siding was rotted and peeling beyond repair. We also were able to knock out that awkward window in our shower and side right over it!

All this to say, they are working right outside of the window I’m sitting in front of and I feel a little rude. So this post will be short today.

Earlier this spring I posted another dresser that I was tackling – my mom’s dresser that she had when she was a kid.

Refinishing an old painted dresser

You can see more of the “before” photos and how I stripped the paint here in this old post.

It took me a long time to refinish this piece because there were many layers of paint, and also needed quite a bit of sanding to take out a lot of dings and scratches.

I am happy to say that it has spent the last month happily living in my bedroom!!

Today I’ll share an “after” and I’ll be back to explain the sanding and pre-staining process I tried this time around.

Refinishing an old painted dresser

Happy Saturday!!

What are your plans today? I’m getting together with one of my best girlfriends!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser  I’ve inherited another family dresser!

My first refinishing project was a dark stained wood dresser that came from my Grandparent’s bedroom. Although I kept it a dark stain, it took quite a bit of work to get it there! Read more about that here.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

We are kind of bureau-starved in this house, so my Mom was kind enough to haul this dresser out of her basement.

Fun Fact: This was the dresser from my Mom’s bedroom growing up (aw!) and one of the drawers is still lined with her childhood bedroom wallpaper!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

The first question to ask yourself when refinishing any piece of furniture: is it worth refinishing?

Both my family dressers are solid hardwood, structurally sturdy and were built with the all-important dovetailed corners.

In my opinion, if a dresser doesn’t have dovetailed corners, I wouldn’t bother putting all the work into refinishing it. It’s a mark of good craftsmanship.

Evidence of dovetailed corners seen here:

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

I started this project in the fall and it’s only half-way done! It got WAY too cold for me to keep working on it in the garage – so that’s where it sits. Soon I should be able to finish it though, it’s starting to warm up!

In this post, I’ll talk about stripping the dresser of paint, which is a different beast than stripped a stained dresser.

I started with this Klean-Strip chemical paint stripper and a plastic scraper.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

First, WEAR GLOVES. Then, in a well-ventilated area, brush the stripper on to the painted areas. I used a foam brush so I could just throw it away at the end.

Then wait 15-25 minutes. It will look bubbly like this when it’s ready to be scraped: I quickly learned that the plastic scraper was a waste of time and got out an old metal scraper. (Note: I ruined this scraper, just letting you know.)

Scrape the surface (being careful not to gouge the wood with the corners of the scraper) and discard directly into a trash bag.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser
I even found an old sticker underneath the paint.

Repeat. Again and Again. The lengthiness of this part of the process will depend on a lot of things – Was there varnish over the paint? How many layers of paint? What’s the temperature outside? etc.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

After my first afternoon I was able to take it down to this point:

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

A weekend or two later I returned to attack the dresser body. To no avail. This is where my problems started! First, I ran out of stripper so I ordered a new type – this kind:

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted DresserCitri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel

I applied, waited and… nothing. Now I know – ALWAYS refinish furniture in the summer when it’s warm and you can be outside! Not in a 15 degree garage.

Note: Chemical Stripper won’t work if it’s too cold!

We brought the space heater into the garage to warm up the air and let the stripper work away at the paint – it’s important for you to LEAVE the garage at this point and not inhale all the fumes. This stripper smells like oranges and it’s easy to forget you are dealing with toxic chemicals.

The space heater helped some. So I reapplied and scraped several more times.

Then I brought the big gun out – that would be, the heat gun – I should have done this earlier!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresservia Home Depot

To use a heat gun, just plug it in, turn it on and hold about 4-5 inches away from the surface. It will start to bubble (similar looking to the paint stripper). Then you can scrap it off with your metal scraper just like with the chemical stripper. It’s just like a hair dryer.

Then the sky opened up and angels sang.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

I have no photos of this portion because when my hands weren’t covered in chemical goop, I had a scraper in one hand and a heat gun in the other.

Using the heat gun allowed me to get to this point – now we’re getting somewhere!!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

Unfortunately, there are a LOT of gouges in the top that were minimized by the billion layers of paint on this dresser. But I will deal with that when it’s not so cold. Hopefully soon now that it’s feeling spring-y.

I’m eagerly awaiting my dresser upgrade!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

The natural wood is a warm reddish hue.

As you can see, stripping a painted dresser is not difficult, it just takes some time.

This particular dresser had 5-6 coats of paint on it, so it took me a bit longer for that reason too.

My only suggestions:

If you’re going to put the effort into stripping a dresser, make sure it’s a solid piece of furniture (look for dovetailed corners).

Also (this is JUST me) but I wouldn’t start with a very curvaceous dresser – flat surfaces are much easier to scrap/sand down!

Next steps: Sanding this monster smooth!

Have you ever stripped a piece of furniture?

Did you have wallpaper in your room growing up?

I went through three different wallpapers over the course of my youth – two different yellow striped wallpapers and one wallpaper with pink/blue flowers!