Reloved Decor & More

Loving Trash Into Treasure

Rebirth of a 1930’s Dresser

When I got my hands on this dresser, it had obviously been sitting in someone’s basement for years.  It smelled musty, had water damage, and had a mahogany top that was seriously unrecognizable!  Unfortunately, that meant I was so excited to start bringing it back to life that I forgot to take BEFORE pictures.  Oops!  I hereby promise (to try) not to ever make that mistake again.  After all, the best part is seeing the before and then the after, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on that.  So, suffice it to say, this dresser was a mess…what most lucid people would probably see as trash.

But, I am not most people (my husband would probably add that I’m rarely even lucid).  I saw potential in all of the detail hiding under the dirt and I saw what could be a beautiful mahogany top.  Off to work I went cleaning the whole dresser with a solution of TSP and warm water and stripping the top.  And sure enough, there it was…a diamond!  After stripping the top, I sanded it smooth, and stained it with Minwax Dark Walnut stain, which brought out all of the rich, beautiful grain of the wood.

When I completed the top of the dresser, I set my sights on the base.  Some of the base needed repair of water damage – nothing a bit of filler and some sanding couldn’t fix. The drawers all needed sealing to get rid of the musty smell that comes from generations of sitting in a basement.  I accomplished this by cleaning each drawer then sealing them with Zinsser Bullseye Clear Shelac.  This stuff is great – one coat and the drawers were clean and completely odor free.

I painted the entire base of the dresser with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen.  Now, let’s talk for a moment about amazing products…This paint  can be used on wood, metal, plastic, floors, walls, and even fabric; it’s non-toxic, virtually odor-free, and the best part: absolutely no stripping or sanding necessary!!  This is truly a painter’s dream.  So, on with the paint, followed by a light sanding with 600 grit sandpaper – just to get that smooth-as-glass finish.  Once everything was dry, I decided to add a second coat of French Linen in order to get the full coverage I was looking for.  This is not always necessary with ASCP, as it is thick and typically covers very well.  But, this is an old piece that I wanted to antique, so I decided to take the extra step.  At this point I decided to highlight all of the amazing detail on the front of this dresser by painting ASCP in Duck Egg Blue on the flourish, the fluting, and the flowers.  Finishing entailed one coat of Annie Sloan clear wax, followed by a coat of dark wax, and a final coating of clear wax just to seal the whole dresser and ensure longevity.

When it was done, I stood back and was in love with it!  I can’t really explain the feeling other than to say that it feels like taking a dead flower and bringing it back to life with your own two hands.  It’s an awesome feeling.

Tips and tricks learned:

  • ASCP goes a long way and can easily be made to go further by adding water.  Be careful about how much water you add, as you do not want to diminish your coverage.
  • Nothing can replace good brushes or the benefits of cleaning them completely after each use.  I use a little bit of mineral spirits to clean my waxing brush, and I soak my wax buffing towels in HOT water for 10 minutes before washing.  It’s amazing how much wax will come out with just that soaking.

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  1. Lori,

    The dresser is beautiful! -I can see all the details so well in the sunlight. Thanks for sharing. I am very inspired and excited to get started on a small project using the ASCP before I go on to my big project. I saw that there are Annie Sloan brushes – did you use those for painting or waxing,? Just wondering if I should make the investment, or if just any old paint brush will do.

    Thanks so much!

    • Lori

      September 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks Annette! Yes, I do use Annie Sloan brushes for both my paint and my wax. Her brushes are really wonderful, not only because they are very high quality, but also because they handle the paint and wax so well. I do occasionally use chip brushes. But, as you have probably seen, they are not made to hold-up, and often shed bristles in the paint or wax. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to pluck bristles out of wet paint. You certainly don’t have to spend the money for AS brushes (which are pretty expensive), however I would recommend choosing a good quality, natural bristled brush that will stand up to the thick paint and wax. Also, I cannot emphasize enough the benefits if properly cleaning your brushes. I use a natural soap and warm water to get the brushes completely clean, then I wrap the shaken out brush in a paper towel to keep the shape of the brush until it is dry.

      Good luck, and God bless!

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