Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial: Second-hand Dresser Redo

Our middle child is growing more independent each day.  He is finally of the age where he can dress himself, and wants to start choosing his own clothes.  He is also beginning to learn to respect furniture instead of climbing all over it.  So, it was time to buy him a dresser for his room. 

We tend to be a little, uh, 'thrifty' in this family, however.  After checking craigslist we found a used dresser that was within our price range (hello $40), in decent condition and, most importantly, would fit in the minivan.  We got it home, gave it a good washing down - and realized it was still pretty gross.  It was sticky in places, had pen and crayon marks all over it, and the white paint had become generally grimy.  Here's the boring before:


No problem!  Time for a little DIY!  I wanted the dresser to match F's current bedroom theme - these cute little monkeys.

So I headed to Walmart to find some spray-paint.  And here's how it went:

1) Remove drawers and set up work space

I moved out to the garage where I could work without waking the kids during nap time.  I took out all the drawers so I could sand each piece individually.  I made sure to put down lots of plastic under the dresser to keep paint and dust off the garage floor. 

See how disgusting this thing had gotten? 

2) Remove all hardware

I made sure to take off the pretty new dresser knobs they'd added at the antique shop (apparently the originals were ugly green flowers).  I wanted to keep these a shiny gold color, so I unscrewed them and set them aside.

Lesson Learned: 
Keep all hardware in a plastic bag out of reach of kids.  I set them on the stroller and baby girl ran off with a few pieces - took me ages to round them all up again.

3) Sand well

I started with a sanding block, but the paint on this dresser was so thick I finally had to switch to a power sander.  Even then I barely made a dent, but I managed to get off most of the grime.  I opted not to prime since I was painting a darker color over a lighter color.  

Lesson Learned:
Prime anyway.  This dresser still had a couple of gunky spots that wanted to repel the darker spray paint.


4) Apply paint

 I was so busy painting that I totally forgot to take pictures of this step.  I bought a Leather Brown Krylon indoor-outdoor paint for the main dresser, and a light green Valspar for the drawers.  I also coated all pieces in a spray sealant to protect against water/kids.  A couple days and several coats later, it was done!

Lessons Learned:
Always use spray paint in a very well ventilated area.  I thought our garage with the door open would be good enough, but next time I'll spray outside, then move the dresser back inside at night.  My lungs are not happy with me.

Also, use several thin coats of paint.  Toward the end my arms got so tired from holding down the buttons (the Valspar cans were nearly impossible to depress) that I started getting sloppy and putting the paint on too thick.  I have a couple drippy spots on the brown, and a couple of areas on the very edges of the drawers that could have used more paint.  If I'd been more patient and used more light layers, I would have avoided those problems.

5) Allow to air out, then enjoy!

I had to let the dresser sit for about a day (in the garage with the door open) before enough fumes had dispersed for it to be safe to put back in F's room.  But now it's all done and he is thrilled!  H has been begging me to start on his dresser "right away!" so keep an eye out for that big reveal coming up soon!

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  1. You did a FABULOUS makeover job on that dresser! I love the green and brown color combination. Isn't it such a great feeling to score such a good bargain then with a little work, it turns out this beautiful? Good job!

    Thanks for stopping by Theresa’s Mixed Nuts

    I am your newest LF follower :)

  2. Nice job! I found you via the Mom's Mingle. I love your blog! I'm excited to be your newest follower via Linky! I'd love for you to follow me back at http://www.two-in-diapers.blogspot.com! :)

  3. I love the after! What a great color combo. Have you seen the spray paint grip handles? (http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1276387) I use one now whenever I paint. Saves my hand from looking like a claw when I am finished with a project. Thanks for sharing on Tout It Tuesday!


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