Refinishing & Antiquing a Used Dresser
My mom came to visit during her Easter vacation, and I informed her right away that I would be putting her to work on a nursery-related project. Thankfully, she was more than happy to help. My goal was to find a cheap piece of furniture that would: 1) fit in our walk-in-closet-turned-nursery, 2) provide lots of storage for baby things, 3) double as a changing table, and 4) not require more than a couple days of work.
We spent 1-2 days planning and collecting our supplies, and 1 day doing the majority of the work. Apparently, we were too busy trying to finish the project for me to take pictures of each step, but you’ll get the idea:
Step 1: Find the Dresser
We were blessed to find just what we were looking for at the first thrift store that we visited. The small space in our nursery-to-be was probably our biggest limitation, so I was excited to find a piece of furniture that was the perfect size. It helped that it was only $35 after Craig let us use him to take advantage of “double senior discount day.” : )
Step 2: Research and Make a Plan
First, I researched a few methods of “antiquing” furniture online. We wanted the dresser to have more character, and we wanted to replace those big round knobs with something decorative and perhaps a little delicate. Our final plan:
- Dark brown base coat (already done) that would show through in a few “worn-down” areas
- Creamy off-white top coat (paint color was “vintage lace”- how perfect)
- Tan/beige glaze over entire piece to give it the antique look (paint color was “spice cake,” mmm)
Step 3: Add Decorative Pieces
We found these wooden medallions at Michael’s and decided that they would be perfect for the job. It required some calling, requesting, holding, and driving around to get the amount we needed, but it was worth it.
After drilling a small hole through the center (as a guide for placement and knobs), we painted them with brown acrylic craft paint to match the dresser. We weren’t too concerned about perfection (I’m learning more and more how to overcome my perfectionist tendencies), because we planned on painting over everything in a cream color. The paper underneath the medallions was lining the drawers- apparently the previous owners also used this for a baby. : )
After they dried, we attached the medallions to the dresser with wood glue.
Step 4: Paint Dresser Creamy White
We painted the dresser with three coats of our creamy white paint. After working on so many projects by myself, I was excited by the speed of our progress together. Twice as fast, baby.
Step 5: Add Antique Detailing
This is where you’ll have to pretend that I took pictures of the process. Tim got home from work and informed us that we had dinner reservations in 45 minutes, so I didn’t take the time to whip out my camera- I just got to work. I used 220-grit sandpaper to carefully wear down the edges and a few other spots. I sanded just until the dark brown started to show through. I didn’t do much of this technique, because I didn’t want to go overboard and hate myself forever. I decided to play it safe with the amount of “antiquing” because it wouldn’t be easy to undo…and I was rushing, so I knew mistakes were more likely if I started getting crazy.
As soon as I finished sanding a section and wiping it clean, my mom would follow along with our homemade “glaze.” She mixed a very small amount of this “spice cake” paint with water and wiped it on with cheesecloth. It took a little playing around to get the feel we were going for, but it was a pretty quick process. I must admit that I was worried about over-antiquing, and I may have said something like, “Ugh! I think we ruined it!” while we were driving to dinner. But, I was happy with the final result when we came home and looked it over again.
Step 6: Apply Protective Coat
A day or two later, I applied two coats of this clear protective finish. I sanded lightly with 220-grit sandpaper between the two coats.
Step 7: Add Finishing Touches
I ordered these “antique amethyst” knobs online, and they look a little more purple in person. They’re reproductions of antique glass knobs, and I like them soooo much more than the big round balls that were originally on the dresser.
The finished dresser with changing pad on top:
I made this changing pad cover by following a tutorial on the Prudent Baby blog. It was so nice to follow someone else’s tutorial, because I didn’t have to spend any time thinking or figuring out dimensions! I didn’t watch the clock, but I can tell you that this was one of the easiest and quickest sewing projects I’ve ever done. The fabric, which was on clearance at JoAnn’s, matches the knobs almost perfectly. : )
So, there you have it: our refinished and “antiqued” dresser. Next up is sewing the crib skirt and deciding whether I want to make my own crib sheet (following the same process I used for the changing pad cover). I’m pretty sure that I have enough projects to last way longer than the 4-ish weeks I have left of this pregnancy. : )
Oh, and thanks for all your help, Mom!!