This was a Craigslist find, and we have to say (and I think you will agree when you review the before pictures) that we took a leap of faith on this project. There was nothing pretty about this dresser when we got it, but we knew that a solid cherry piece could have a ton of potential behind the ugly facade known as wallpaper. We ended up having to replace all of the hardware, which was a bit expensive but was totally worth the investment when you look at the finished product.
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This was one of the first pieces that we didn't have a lot of expectations for. Not that we didn't have faith in our process, but because we didn't know what would be found behind the wallpaper. Sometimes a bit of mystery adds some excitement to life, and sometimes that mystery makes you appreciate the outcome even more. That was definitely the case here!
We used the following supplies on this dresser:
We are Blessed Sign
The first step for us was to remove the wallpaper so that we could get an idea what we were working with. We started this process by applying CitriStrip to the body and the drawers using a super cheap paint brush (think dollar bin at Home Depot). The CitriStrip was extremely effective in removing the top layer of the wallpaper. Next we turned to Chomp's Wallpaper Stripper. This effectively pulled away the bottom layer of the wallpaper, so that we could start sanding it down.
After the stripping process we sanded the body and the drawers down. The top looks a little funky in the picture because we had just cleaned off the dust using a wet rag. As we usually do, we start our sanding process with our orbital sander using an 80 grit sandpaper. Then we use 60 grit sandpaper to make sure all of the original finish has been properly removed. Finally, 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 went ahead and stained the top using red mahogany stain. Stain generally takes longer to dry, so we generally do the stained surface areas first before we start any painting.
Before we painted the body of the buffet 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.
After we were finished with staining the top of the buffet we painted the body. We usually do two coats of paint to make sure that everything is sufficiently covered. However, we ended up doing three coats on this project.
Paint generally dries pretty fast, so we were ready to apply a coat of water based Polycrylic 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).
We were very pleased with the result!
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.