January 24, 2012

DIY: How to Paint Wooden Furniture - Adventures of an Old Dresser

Dresser Makeover

Using a Bosch Circle Sander
Circle Sander FTW
Supplies:  Wood primer, Semi-gloss acrylic latex paint, Glossy black spraypaint  
Supplies; Paint in Inland SW6452
Original hardware refinished with Krylon spray-paint (black)
Primer (1 coat)
Primer on dresser drawers
Green paint (Coat #1)
Green paint (Coat #2)
Ta-da...the finished dresser!

Occasionally, I'm motivated by a creative project; you may remember my bridesmaid dress remix last October. Growing up, I loved Martha Stewart, watched her religiously, dream of having a craft room, but that's another story...

During the holiday visits home, my parents mentioned they were getting rid of an old dresser, and recently inspired by DIYs seen on Pinterest, I offered to take it off their hands. (Sidenote: We <3 Pinterest! Check out our favorite board--pinned with brilliant hacks, organization tips, & storage solutions.)

After hauling it home, I was excited to rework the piece, but before diving into the project, I did a little research.  A few conversation with friends and a few helpful YouTube tutorials later... it was on.

Step 1 - Sanding (1.5 to 2 hours)
First, sand down all components of the furniture, as this helps the paint stick to the wood.  Luckily enough, my dresser was bare of paint, but still retained its wood finishing/varnish on top.  It is important to sand in the direction of the grain; I found the circle sander to be a great tool for this projet.  After sanding, I wiped down the piece with a wet rag to clear off the dust and debris, and waited for it to dry. A big thanks to my friend, Ben, who kindly lent me his sander.  

Step 2 - Priming (45 minutes)
I was tempted to skip this step, but after reading this article, I was convinced I should prime before painting.  I used a paper plate as my painter's palette to make for easy cleanup, a roller for the larger surfaces, and the brush for some of the detailed areas to evenly apply 1 coat of primer (I skipped the back of the dresser).

Step 3 - Painting (45 minutes to paint + 4 hours of drying time)
I used a roller to apply the majority of my green paint to the dresser. Going with the grain of the wood, I applied coat one and finished the detailed areas with a paint brush. Four hours of drying time later, I painted on coat two, and waited another four hours for drying.

Step 4 - Hardware (5 minutes + 45 minutes to dry)
I simply spray painted the dresser's existing hardware black, but changing up the hardware is an easy, affordable way to give furniture a totally different look.

This DIY was time consuming work, but let's keep it real team, sweat equity = a frugal, beautiful project. :)  Special shout out to Will, Laura, and Ben for helping with this project! Thank you!

Project Timetable (You need a period of time that allows 4 hour intervals of drying time; I put a weekend to good use.)
Sand down furniture:  1.5-2 hours
Wipe clean with wet rag:  10 minutes
Apply one coat of primer paint:  45 minutes to apply, 4 hour dry time
First coat of green paint:  45 minutes to apply, 4 hour dry time
Second coat of gren paint:  45 minutes, 4 hour dry time
Spray paint existing hardware:  5 minutes (repeat 3-4 times for even coating), 45 minute dry time

Total Cost: Under $50 (Significantly less than a new dresser!)
Dresser:  Mom & Dad's House Find: $0
Bosch Circle Sander:  Borrowed from my friend Ben :): $0
Sherwin Williams Store
Premium Wall & Wood Primer (quart):  $10
ProClassic Paint for Interior (quart - Inland SW6452):  $20
2" XL Trim Brush:  $5
6"x 3/16 Mohair Roll Brush (2):  $6
12" Roll Brush Frame:  $3
Krylon Spray-Paint (Black Glossy):  $4


  1. So glad you posted this! I have a dresser that I'm planning to do the exact same thing with (similar color and all) to turn into a tv stand. Love the way this turned out...awesome job!

  2. SO pretty!! Love everything about this! I redid an old desk of my parents a couple years ago and now can't picture my room without it :)

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  4. Lovely makeover. With a little investment an old furniture may be look like new.

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  8. I am also left out with many old furniture items and i will also have to do the same now. thanks so much for sharing the wonderful ideas with me!! discount furniture store in dallas