Remember way back when, when I found this little lovely on craigslist?
I finally figured out my inspiration for the piece and got to work.
It went from this
Isn't she beautiful - especially with the green painters tape on the top.
And the finale!
Here is what I learned along the way:
SANDING: Apparently if you have a good piece of furniture that has a decent surface (aka minimal layers of paint/finish) you DON'T have to sand the whole thing down to the bare wood. This was the secret I wish I would have known from the beginning. Because sanding.was.not.fun. My arms were all tingly and shaky after hours spent with the electric sander.
But - it was good experience and I got to see the original beauty of the wood.
PRIMING AND PAINTING: You will need to exercise your patience or find it for these projects. It takes a lot of patience. Sanding takes patience. Priming and painting take patience. But every step along the way means a greater finished product. Let your primer dry and cure - meaning, let is sit there in the garage for a while. Don't rush to paint as soon as the paint is dry to the touch. It needs to cure. Or you get little spots where it isn't as smooth as you might like - lesson learned.
Again, let each coat of paint sit and cure. Patience. Ugh, this was seriously the worst part for me. Oh, and I used a foam brush - you know, those little crafty spongey brushes - for the prime and paint steps.
MORE SANDING: The last thing you want to do after sanding the entire piece down is spend more time with tingly arms, but I found that a quick sand after the primer (when it's fully cured) and in between coats of paint made a HUGE difference.
I did a dry sand after the primer. But a WET sand after the first coat of paint. Yup, wet sand. It took me a while to figure this out before I was ready to test it on my piece. I watched a few youtube videos, I called a friend, and I thought about it a lot.
Finally I grabbed a fine sand paper block from the store and a bucket of water and a towel and gave it a shot. Yes, the paint will sort of come off, and your bucket of water will be the color of the paint. But it really does make the paint super smooth. I worked on a small section at a time and wiped off all the residue and liquid with a clean towel promptly after finishing a small area.
Then more paint and wait.
DECORATE: I had seen a few fun dressers with numbers on them. I think they are mimicking a version of an anthropologie dresser. But I liked the idea - so I tested it out on a scrap piece of wood painted the same color as the dresser and stenciled on a number. I painted it with some leftover gray acrylic I had laying around the house and loved it.
I found some fun fonts on font space and printed out numbers in a good size for my drawers. Stencil. Paint very carefully. But not perfectly filled in - again, to give it a more real and rustic feel.
FINISH: Finally, when the paint was smooth and had 2-3 coats, I was ready for the finish. I used a water based Verathane as suggested by Holly over at In the Fun Lane. I used a brand new fine bristle brush for the Verathane and did two coats. It dries SO FAST. This was the BEST part for me - considering I had already used all my patience!
I also used some leftover stain for the top of the dresser - just using one coat as I wanted a bit of a rustic/used look to it. This also got two coats of Verathane.
HANDLES: Finally I needed hardware. Have you checked out drawer pulls at the hardware store lately? EXPENSIVE! Yikes - with five drawers and two pulls each I was looking at spending a.lot.of money.
Until I saw the fun idea to use rope as pulls - maybe I saw this on The Lettered Cottage. I can't quite remember.
I found some beautiful natural rope at the store and went to work double knotting and threading through holes that I drilled myself. Let me tell you, drilling holes in my masterpiece was a little scary and sad. But the finish product is totally worth it, I think!
Now the question is - do we find a home for her in our home, or put her up for adoption via craigslist?