I’ll eliminate the small chat because this is going to be a long post. Warning: lots of pictures. Our bedroom dresser and chest were in desperate need of a re-do. I have been putting these off for years-literally. Not sure if I was scared to do anything to them because they were really the first pieces of furniture I ever had or I just didn’t know what to do. Whatever the case, they have now been tackled.
As you can see, they were quite outdated. I have separate plans for the mirror…I’ll share that later, but for now, let’s focus on the orange-y, yellow-y, supper glossy, coated in a 100 layers of varnish/poly dressers.
My original intent was to sand the finish off the top to get to bare wood. This is my usual method of stripping the tops of dressers. However, after nearly 30 minutes and about 5 sheets of gummed up sandpaper, here’s how far I had gotten.
Time to break out my dreaded enemy. I hate, really hate chemical stripper. To me, this stuff just makes more of a mess than it actually does help. However, based on the layers of gunk on this piece, I was left with no choice.
I used these tools to apply. The stripper eats the sponge brush, but it’s not so bad that I can’t finish one project. I get these when they are on sale at craft stores for 5 cents each, so I’m happy to use it and dispose it and save myself the clean-up hassle.
Here’s the stripper doing it’s thing….
Once it had set for a few hours, I used a plastic scraper to start removing the stripper/finish. I always just use a piece of scrap cardboard to put the removed stripper on so it’s easier to dispose of.
After about three sessions of stripper, I wiped the top down with mineral spirits to try and remove any further residue. Don’t be fooled. Even after this step there was still gunk on here, so I sanded some more.
Finally, after many more hours than I intended, here’s the beautiful cedar wood that was hiding under all those coats of sealer. I had good intentions of keep the entire piece wood and just re-staining it, etc. But after the long process on the top, I threw that idea right out the window. Time to paint this baby!
But first I mixed up a stain that I would use on the top. I had read various recipes for creating this stain, so I just went with a mix of some…steel wool (I used two pieces) and Apple Cider vinegar. I put the steel wool in a glass jar and poured enough vinegar over it to cover the steel wool. I let this set for 24 hours.
In the meantime, I filled in some holes on the top drawer, because I was replacing all the old hardware and had decided to use knobs here. I just used some spackling we had on hand. I wasn’t worried about it being perfect, because I knew I wanted the painted look to have texture to it anyways.
I went to my hardware stash and I decided on the pulls on the right below…slighting rustic, oil rubbed bronze look to them.
Then it was time to paint. Bring on the Annie Sloan. Not gonna lie…the idea of not sanding or priming this piece enticed me. The body and the drawers got a sloppy coat of old white. I did not paint with the grain. I painted in short strokes going every which direction so that it would have texture in the end.
You can see the brush strokes in every direction below.
Next, I used Chateau Gray to paint the edges of everything, so that when I distressed, this color would peek through those areas.
I followed that by another haphazardly painted coat of old white. I then used my orbital sander with a 220-grit paper to distress this piece. I absolutely love how the ASCP distresses. Towards the top right of the picture below, you can see the Chateau Gray peeking through.
Next up, using an old t-shirt, I gave it a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax. I worked in sections on this step, so that nothing would dry to quickly. For instance, I worked on one end of the dresser or one drawer at a time. After rubbing on the clear wax, I put on a generous coat of dark wax with my wax brush.
You can see how heavy the coat is here….I sorta grab the brush with my fist and work in circles in all directions really working the wax into all the crevices/textured areas.
After the dark wax is applied, I then use the old rag with more clear wax on it and buff off or rub off the dark wax. What is left behind it a lighter coat of the dark wax and you can also see the dark wax in all the little nooks, crannies, and crevices. The pictures below are an example of rubbing on the heavy coat of dark wax, and then taking some of it off using the clear wax again. This process leaves you with the perfect weather look.
Here’s another example. This is an example of a drawer that has been through the entire wax process, shown beside a drawer that has not been waxed at all.
Here’s a close up of how the wax stays in the textured areas.
Okay, now let’s go back to the staining issue. I went to my stain that had been ‘marinating’ for 24 hours. I through the steel wool out and was left with the very stinky liquid. Nervously, I used an old rag and rubbed this on my dresser. Probably should have tested this on something, but I was feeling bold!
As soon as I put it on, it starting get blotchy.
Very blotchy. I was scared. As it dried though, the blotchiness went away and I was left with the entire piece looking like a very light, dull gray. The color was good, but it definitely needed some wax to make it pop.
I used three coats of clear wax on the top. I wanted this thing to be extremely durable. I did the exact same process for the chest. Both pieces got a thorough cleaning and then I added the hardware and re-assembled it all. I ABSOLUTELY love the look I ended up with.
The picture on the left below shows texture that was creating by kind of smushing by brush onto the piece while I was painting. The one on the right is the texture that was creating by painting with brush strokes going in a variety of directions.
This picture shows the Chateau Grey coming through and some of the distressing.