Dresser Makeover

I got this little dresser from my Great Grandmother’s house where it has been sitting down in the basement for years, just collecting odds and ends. My mother actually brought it to my attention when we were discussing furniture for the nursery. I decided it would be the perfect addition for my little Ede’s room, all it needed was a little TLC.


So my parents hauled it home from Idaho, I hit Pinterest and got down to work. I actually found a BUNCH of tutorials on antiquing/distressing furniture/wood and combined a bunch of different techniques I found throughout those. This is the tutorial I referred to most often: http://www.morgankervinblog.com/2011/03/day-with-amy-distressing-furniture.html?m=1 but like I said, there really are a TON out there so if you find one better suited to your needs give it a try!

A lot of the tutorials I found recommended using Vaseline in between paint coats to make it easier to sand off your top coat of paint. I had my husband purchase a bottle on his way home from work but once I got into crafting mode I completely forgot to add it, so unfortunately, I cannot attest to the ease it is supposed to add to the process. For the first part of the dresser I pretty much followed the above tutorial step-by-step including using the same supplies. However I found that I did NOT like the look the steel wool added, so I decided to forgo that step and mostly stuck to the sanding block.

First I removed all the drawers and painted the entire base of the dresser dark brown. I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of this step. Next I painted over the brown with white. It ended up taking 3 coats of white to cover the brown to the point that I was happy. Then I got out my sanding block and got down to work, and I mean like manual labor, I was sweating by the time I was done. Just be prepared.

dresser after 3 white coats.

dresser after 3 white coats.

White paint distressed. The base of the dresser is pretty much complete at this point.

White paint distressed. The base of the dresser is pretty much complete at this point.

Now I did essentially the same process with the drawers. You’ll notice I left the center of the drawers unpainted which I will explain later.

Luckily I remembered to snap a pick of the brown paint on the drawers!

Luckily I remembered to snap a pick of the brown paint on the drawers!


So far I had followed the tutorial I had referred to almost verbatim. If you were just looking to repaint and distress your piece of furniture you would want to paint the entirety of the drawers, just like you did with the base, sand them down to get the distressed look, seal everything with furniture wax and you are done. If however, you are interested in a more unique look you may want to consider Modge-Podging the front of the dresser as i did. This is why I did not paint the center of the drawers as I new I would be covering them later anyways.

For this next part I used original Modge Podge, a paint brush and a selection of scrapbook paper I liked. Now, as I am sure most of you know, you can find a wide variety of scrapbook paper in any craft store. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find quite what I was looking for so I turned to Etsy and found these beautiful digital patterns that I could download and have to print as often as needed or wanted! Not only did this turn out to be the cheaper option, but it also widened the selection and really made it possible for me to pick and choose the absolute best patterns for the look I wanted! Also, now I have the digital patterns to use for future projects! Yeepee!

Ok, now I REALLY recommend removing your drawer handles before you Modge Podge your paper onto your dresser. Be sure to carefully mark the spot where the handles will be returned, and try not to get Modge Podge in the hole. My dresser had been previously painted, with what I can only assume was paint mixed with super glue, and I could not for the life of me get those darn handles off. So the next step involved a lot of careful measuring and getting a little creative with a milk bottle cap to fit the paper AROUND the handles. This was very time consuming. Also, a little heads up, the paper patterns I purchased were not intended to be extended over lengthy surfaces so they didn’t match up exactly, if this is something that will bother you, I recommend finding sheets of paper or fabric that fit your entire surface in one go.


Now I took a medium grit sandpaper block to the edges of the drawers and here and there in the middle to give the paper a weathered-antique look. I put a layer of Modge-Podge on top of the paper to help seal and protect the drawers down the road and had my husband (pregnant lady couldn’t mess with the fumes) seal the base of the dresser with some regular furniture wax. I could have been done here, but I figured I’ve come this far and this dresser is for my baby girl so, what the hell, I decided to line the bottom of the drawers. I wish I could have just purchased precut drawer liners, but it was really hard to find unscented drawer liners and I didn’t want the chemicals to interact with anything that I may put in the dresser as that stuff would later interact with my newborn babies sensitive skin. So off to Michael’s I went and I was able to find pink poster boards for like $0.50 a piece. I bought 3 of em’, measured the inside of my drawers, cut them down to size and (surprise-surprise) Modge-Podged the poster board to the bottom of the drawers. Now normally I swear by Modge-Podge, but I think the poster board was a little too thick for the Modge-Podge to handle and it ended up bubbling up quite a bit. So if you go with this step you might want to try a thinner form of paper. Also I found a few blogs online that recommended using contact paper – just another idea.


see the bubble :(

see the bubble 😦

And after all that work, here is the finished product! I have to say I LOVE the way it turned out and I think it makes quite a nice little addition to my Baby’s room!



Well I hope you enjoyed my first “little tutorial.” Also please excuse the poor photo quality of most of these pics and the fact that I do not have a pic of the supplies I used as this is really the first time I started taking pictures of a project with a tutorial in mind. I will do better next time, promise!

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