We found this dresser in an old farmhouse in rural Virginia. After scanning the dresser over we determined that it was solid fruitwood. Up to this point we have never had a fruitwood piece of furniture, so we were intrigued by the prospect of a new challenge. Generally speaking, the wood on this dresser did not have the same intricate wood grain that we have come to enjoy with oak, maple, and cherry pieces, but to be honest it worked well for the design that we decided on. The hardware was in near perfect condition and was unique enough that we determined that it would be worth incorporating into the design.
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As you will find out if you do enough DIY projects, it is easy to end up with plenty of leftover materials. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Luckily, when we were discussing designs for this project, two features continued to come up - red mahogany stain and grey paint: two things that we already had on hand. We once again assessed the dresser to determine what to stain and what to paint. After countless hours of pondering this very question, we decided to stain the drawers.
We used the following supplies on this dresser:
The original manufacturer's stain was thick and tough to remove. However, we decided to go ahead and sand the dresser down to its barebones, rather than going through a stripping process. With a little bit of elbow grease we were able to accomplish a fully sanded-down product. As we usually do, we start our sanding process with our orbital sander using an 80 grit sandpaper. Then, we hand sand with a 120 grit sandpaper to get a smoother wood before applying stain or paint.
After we sanded the dresser down, we made sure to tape the inside of the of the body and the inside of the drawers. It is always important to remember to tape the inside of the body where the drawers slide in and out, and the inside portions of the drawers where paint might drip/or paint brush might touch. We will admit that this is not a necessary step, but if you want to have a re-purposed dresser that looks professional grade, then every detail matters.
We decided to stain the drawers first because it tends to take longer for stain to dry than paint. Sydney wanted to mix red mahogany stain with grey stain to create a custom stain color. You can see a little bit of the grey stain, but it mainly turned out a red mahogany shade. Sydney was a little disappointed since she imagined it having more of a grey tone to the stain, but the fruit wood soaked in the red mahogany beautifully.
In order to make the stain, she found an old Tupperware container in the kitchen to use for mixing since she used a small quantity. For this custom stain, Sydney combined the stain with equal ratios. She poured in 1/3 cup of red mahogany and 1/3 cup of grey stain. Then, she mixed the colors together as normal. We used a stain/polyurethane brush to apply the stain.
After we were finished with staining the drawers, we painted the body with mineral paint. We usually do two coats of paint to make sure that everything is sufficiently covered.
Mineral paint generally dries pretty fast, so we were ready to apply a coat of spray-on polyurethane to both the body of the dresser and the drawers after a couple of hours (a couple of hours is not indicative of how long it takes to dry, it's more us playing it safe).
Poly does two things: (1) it creates a layer of protection for the drawers from everyday abuse; and (2) it creates a smooth finish. We typically apply two coats of poly, but some projects may require more. After the poly has dried we use a wet sanding technique with extremely fine sand paper to ensure that the stained areas are smooth to touch. The wet sanding process is really simple, just spray on some lemon oil and lightly sand over the stained areas with an 800 grit sandpaper (you can also do this over the painted areas, but you need to be careful not to sand too aggressively over the painted areas or you will end up with a distressed look).
The project was a success!
Josh and Sydney are life adventurers that love to learn and create. We are exact opposites and enjoy gaining new perspective. Our home is where our varying personalities shine, and we use it to gather our friends and family together.