We have friends that attend furniture auctions to purchase solid wood pieces of furniture. We were fortunate enough to buy this dresser from them before anyone else could snag it away from them. Other than one chipped drawer and needing new hardware, this solid maple dresser was in near perfect condition.
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We decided to find the new drawer pulls/knobs that we liked first and then build the design around them. This dresser had a lot of great features, so it wasn't easy to finalize a design that we both could agree upon. So we went to Hobby Lobby and were scanning their available choices when we came across the genuinely great owl drawer pulls pictured above. After that, we knew we wanted to try a paint/stain combination that would make the drawer pulls/knobs stand out while unifying the color of the drawer pulls/knobs with the stained top. We decided on a Buttermilk Cream paint color for the body in conjunction with a dark walnut stain for the top. We could not have been happier with the result.
We used the following supplies on this dresser:
The first step was to remove the old stain. Luckily, when you are dealing with a sold wood piece you can just take an orbital sander to it. This will save you a ton of time. However, we must let you know that sanding with an orbital sander will create a lot of dust, so make sure the room is well ventilated.
After we stripped the dresser we stained the top of it. The appearance of the top after the stain was applied resembled that of a butcher's block.
While the stain was drying we went to work on the chipped drawer. We used a heavy dose of wood filler to fix the chipped drawer. Once the stain had dried and the wood filler was sanded smooth, we were ready to drill new holes for the hardware. We will be the first to admit that we were quite nervous about drilling into the wood of the drawers, knowing that one mistake could mess up the entire project, but we took the risk knowing that there was a huge upside if this worked out.
Tip: If you will be drilling a lot of holes, then it is worth it to buy a decent drill bit, as it will save you time and energy, not to mention it reduces the risk of the drill bit breaking while in use.
After will drilled the new holes for the hardware we started painting the dresser body and drawers. After the paint dried we applied polyurethane to the top of the dresser. 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).
After the poly dried we waxed the body of the dresser and the drawers. Remember to not overcoat with wax because it will create major streaks, especially with a darker paint color. After the wax has been applied, allow it to sit overnight. The next day you should take fine steel wool over the entire body, then buff out the wax with a cloth. (Note: Make sure that you are not too aggressive with the steel wool because you may end up peeling back the paint).
After you have accomplished this, you will want to let the wax cure for around seven days before putting the dresser into any significant use. Also, until it is fully cured be careful to touch the wax with your fingers because the oil from your hands may transfer into the wax giving it a dirty look.
We could not be happier with the way that this dresser turned out.
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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.