I am so excited to share with you the dresser makeover I did for my boys’ bedroom! I am currently in the process of making over their entire room and their old furniture desperately needed an update. We inherited this furniture set from Matt’s grandparents and I just love it. I’ll show you the chest on chest makeover soon, but it’s not quite “show ready” yet. The mirrored dresser, however, is ready for some serious paparazzi! And paparazzi is what it received. I went a bit overboard with pics on this one so please bear with me!
The first thing I did to prep the dresser was to clean it. This baby was dir-TAY! Eek! So gross.
I sprayed it down with TSP and scrubbed it with a rag. It still seemed in need of cleaning after the TSP treatment, so I used CitraSolv to try and rub off 100 years worth of wax, Pledge, grime, and whoknowswhat.
Once the dresser looked sufficiently clean, I painted it using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White. What happened next was soooooo incredibly frustrating, so listen up if you’re going to use chalk paint on mahogany. The finish from my furniture kept bleeding through the paint. No amount of paint hid the bleed through and it looked horrible. Can you see all of the pink below? Not quite? Let me zoom in for you.
Okay, here is a close-up of what I was dealing with. My entire dresser looked like it had some horrible pink fungus problem. Blech. Several Google searches later, I learned that on mahogany furniture you need to first seal the furniture with Shellac. Gah!
I ran to Lowes, purchased my Shellac, covered the entire dresser with two coats of Shellac, and then painted….again. This was not the blissful chalk paint experience I’ve had in the past, but it was a valuable lesson learned.
After everything was dry (and not bleeding pink), I covered the dresser in a coat of clear wax.
The wood was so beautiful on the drawers I didn’t dare paint them! I gave the drawers a few coats of Shellac and replaced the old hardware with these awesome catalog pulls. The pulls came from VanDykes. I paid a little over $2 a pull. Watch the prices because they seem to jump drastically from week to week on various pulls. The pulls I really wanted were $8 each, but this week they are priced at only $2.29. Huh? Ah well, these worked out great. I used black Rub n’ buff to tone down the brass. I’ll do a separate tutorial on the pulls for you soon.
I had fun styling the top of the dresser with some vintage books and thrift store owl bookends that I spray painted heirloom white and brushed with brown glaze.
The elephant was a rubber toy headed for Goodwill. I decided to rescue it and spray paint it white. I LOVE how it turned out! We have a new “porcelain” rubber elephant :). If you’ve never seen those butterflies in a jar before go to your nearest toy store and buy one. They are seriously cool! I bought one for Asher’s birthday, but if I’m honest I really just bought it for myself :). You tap on the top of the jar and the butterfly flutters around just like a real butterfly. It is brilliant!
And a few more vanity shots of the dresser for you before I sign off:
Okay, one last reminder of how far this dresser has come! Below is the before.
And here is the much-improved-pinnable after!
I’ll share with you the other dresser soon along with a full tutorial on the hardware!
I know this post was forever ago, but I need your experience with shellac! I started refinishing a dresser with white chalk paint and just like you, it started to bleed. I grabbed the shellac (clear) same as you and went over it.. Problem is the shellac is so yellow!! Was yours yellow when you went over the white paint? Should I just paint another coat of white paint on top of the yellow shellac or sand this off? Thank you!!!
Hmmmmm. I don’t remember my shellac turning things yellow but you will be priming and painting over the shellac so I wouldn’t worry about it. I recommend running out and getting Zinnser Bin Shellac primer. It’s the can with the red label. This primer has the shellac in it already so you can just prime and shellac at the same time. Total pain in the tuchus I know, but you’ll be so much happier with the end result. If you’ve already shellaced it all, then yes, just paint a coat over the shellac and there should be no yellow.
I know this post was forever ago, but I need your experience with shellac! I started refinishing a dresser with white chalk paint and just like you, it started to bleed. I grabbed the shellac (clear) same as you and went over it.. Problem is the shellac is so yellow!! Was yours yellow when you went over the white paint? Should I just paint another coat or sand this off? Thank you!!!
It’s worked great for me, and I sell all my
The dresser is beautiful, great job. Have you tried using ASCP
wax as a seal for the bleed through?
That’s what I’ve learned to use since I started refinishing furniture.
I haven’t tried that. I found the Shellac tip on an ASCP page but using the wax would have been way easier! Does it work well?
Jessica @ Dear Emmeline says
Bleed through is so frustraring!! I’ve noticed on other woods that are nicked through the finish that the stain bleeds through pink as well!! Almost every piece I’ve painted in a light color (if not primed or shellac’d first will get spots that appear pink). I started to realize the common denominator was damage….water mark, ding, etc where the finish was worn away and the paint had direct access to soak up the stain. GAH! But the piece turned out lovely! Love the 2-tone! I think 2-tones are great for boys rooms to add color but maintain manliness! 😉 p.s. thanks again for featuring mine!
Erin @ DIY On the Cheap says
Just wanted to let you know that I featured this in a round-up today!
That turned out so amazing! I love the hardware on it too! Megan
Pam @ Simple Details says
Gorgeous, girl!! I think I’d be moving my furniture around so it could take stage front and center in the living room!
Shannon Fox says
Oh Beth, I feel your pain (frustration)! This house had hunter green trim on everything… and it came through so badly. It dragged right into any white I tried to cover it with. I had to use sealer too but a spray version and then let it cure. After that, I was able to paint.
The dresser looks gorgeous 🙂 And that white ellie is pretty cute too!!
Athena at Minerva's Garden says
This is just beautiful, Beth–well done!
I love it. My favorite part of course are the named drawer pulls. Awesome. Pinned it.
Meaningful Nest says
Uh, spraying painting plastic animals? Brilliant! I love it! (and the dresser–but Mr. Elephant really wowed me) 🙂
that is so pretty!! i am redoing a dresser and really want to use chalk paint but am nervous! the other thing is that my wooden bedroom furniture is white but is turning yellow from dirt and hand oils i have tried simple green and a magic eraser with no luck. does that TVP affect the wood as in stripping or just clean it because i really don’t know what to do!
Thanks Kelly! Don’t be nervous to use chalk paint. It’s very easy to work with. That being said if you want a really smooth “factory quality” look then use oil-based or latex paint. Chalk paint gives you a more hand-painted look. I think yellowing overtime is completely normal for older furniture. The poly on it could have turned yellow and no amount of cleaning will whiten it back up. TSP strips off the sheen and a really clean piece of furniture will often look dull and lifeless—ready to be revamped!
i love the look of chalk paint and that’s what i want just have to dive in! as far as my bedroom furniture AGHH! i have a dresser, headboard, and armoire! i feel like that is something i might have done professionally!! thanks for the reply!
breida @ breidawithab.com says
hey there- i am currently having a fit over an issue with a can of ASCP Pure White as well! It is NOT the paint’s fault (i don’t think). I’m pretty sure it’s because I left it out in my garden shed while we were at Haven (and it was over 100 degrees here). Looking at sanding down the whole desk and starting over 🙁
I need a new project and the “usual blissful chalkpaint experience” to get me over this!!
Oh no! I do have to say that this is the fourth chalk paint color I’ve worked with and although I love the end result the Pure White has been the trickiest. I had trouble with it on a smaller project that I did with some wood bookends. It takes a lot more coats to cover an item which I guess isn’t unheard of for white but just different for our easy-chalk-paint expectations! Good luck on your desk Breida!
Kerri, A Pop of Pretty says
Really great job, Beth! I love how you combined the two different finishes on the one piece. And those library pulls are seriously fabulous! My twin boys are sharing a room too, and I’m in the process of giving it a little edit b/c their toddler beds arrive next week! Its bye-bye cribs – sad and happy all at once! I’m drawing inspiration from your boys’ shared space 😉 Kerri xo
Aw, they grow up so fast don’t they? Thanks for the compliment Kerri, and I can’t wait to see your boys’ room update!
Brook @ BeingBrook says
Love the dresser Beth. Great tip about the mahogany. So awful to get midway into a project and have it not working out right. Love the little labels too.
Thank you Brook! I think every project I touch has a midway glitch. I just expect it now :).
HI Beth! Your dresser is amazing! I had my first furniture redo last week. The coffee table came out good, but no where near some of the furniture posts I see from ya’ll. Where can I learn the tricks and the trades of furniture revamping? I know it is a ton of work, but I do love bringing life back to furniture! I plan on furnishing my home with thrift store finds. So I should probably learn how to perfect it. Thanks!
Thanks Nicole! I definitely don’t consider myself a furniture rehab expert but I do enjoy doing it :). I recommend learning from the experts out there in blogland and there are MANY. Two of my favs are Marian (Miss Mustard Seed) and Shaunna (Perfectly Imperfect). Shaunna shared a post here on rehabbing furniture that I really liked and she also has a helpful ebook: http://bit.ly/Nx3Lcm
That’s so neat! I love the two-toned look and I adore the labeled pulls!
Wwhen I first saw it, I thought it resembled a library catalouge (in a good way). Then I saw the closeup of the pulls. Love how they are dual purpose and shows the boys what goes where!
Amanda Eck says
Beth this is by far my most favorite project ever!!! It is just breathtaking! and the white elephant-genious!!
question- when you had to shellac the dresser did you just shellac right over AS?
Thank you so much Amanda! Yes, there was no way I was going to sand all that off so I just put two coats of shellac (drying time between) right over the chalk paint. It sealed the bleed through and I was able to then place another coat of ASCP over the shellac with no bleed through!
Miss Charming says
Such a wonderful job, Beth! The dresser is beautiful and the pulls are just perfect for it. I really like the look of a two toned white and wood piece. You hit a home run with this project!
melissa*320 sycamore says
LOVE it, Beth! The two tone is gorgeous. I especially ♥ that elephant!! and the pulls. and the wax finish. and your tips abt the shellac. 🙂
Yay! Thanks for stopping by Melissa :). So glad we had the chance to finally meet at Haven but we needed more time!! Next time girl :).
Love this dresser! I can’t get on board with the two tone look yet (I’m one of those that takes forever to like a trend…like right when everyone is just about done liking it, I finally do lol) but those pulls are gorgeous, I must have them!
Oh my gosh, I love it! It’s amazing what a little TLC can do for an outdated piece. It makes me think of an old map storage cabinet – the pulls are perfect!
gorgeous; i love the two tone…and those pulls…wow! and thanks for that tip about the shellac; i’m going to redo our buffet and you just saved me a lot of time with that advice!! who knew??
Who knew indeed? If I can save anyone from that frustration my job here is done :). Thanks so much for the compliment!
It looks like you painted the dresser in your boys’ room. How bad were the fumes? I have a dresser in our master bedroom that I need to do something with, but kind of dread carrying it down two flights of stairs to work on it in the garage…I never considered just painting it in place.
Hi Leah, the fumes weren’t an issue at all. Chalk paint doesn’t have any fumes and shellac smells but is actually safe to use. It is made from secretions from the lac bug. Crazy but true.
Natalie @ A Turtle's Life for Me says
That looks great, Beth! Love the two-tone and I’m in love with those bookends! Great find!
Oh my gosh!!! The very same “bleeding” happened to me on my table re-do!! It about drove me over the edge as I couldnt understand why no matter how I painted this table it would bleed pink!!!!! finally I just went with it as you will see if you check it out,UGH!!!! Love the dresser!!!
I know right? Most frustrating thing ever! You can still put shellac over your table and repaint it if/when you feel like it :).
I love the two toned and the pulls are great! Thanks for the tip on the shellac.
Add me to the list of those who love the drawer pulls.They always remind me of old library card catalogs. I hope I didn’t miss it, but did you give the source for them? I’d love to know.
Thank you Ellen. I bought the pulls from VanDykes online.
Jerri @ French Fries and Fairy Tales says
Beth! I love this new look for the dresser…very sophisticated and I love that you kept some of the natural wood.
katie goldsworthy says
That turned out awesome! I LOVE the labels too. My boys can’t seem to remember where their things go!
@ Creatively Living
Wow! What a wonderful job. I am in the process of painting some wood also. Coffee table turning into bedroom bench. Love the pulls. Great idea.
Thanks Angie! Love the idea of a coffee table turned bedroom bench :).
This came out gorgeous. I love the white and the wood together. You know how much of an ASCP fan I am. I acutally use that shellac a lot (just in case)… It is such a good tip to share b/c it is super fustrating if that happens. I LOVE the pulls. Your styling is a-maz-ing. I may need to get a can of spray paint and spray my kids rubber toys 🙂 What good idea. Where did you find that butterfly? My two boys would love them.
Thanks Danielle! I found the butterfly at Toys R Us.
Janell Beals says
Just fantastic, I’m loving this, very unusual and I like seeing something I haven’t before! Janell
It’s beautiful! I love the two-tone and pulls. Hope the boys appreciate your hard work 🙂
They aren’t quite as excited about it as I am but they have admired it :).
Gorgeous. I’ve pinned it as inspiration for my living room. I’ll be mentioning this piece on my blog this Friday. Thanks for inspiring me.
Christa from http://www.controllingcraziness.blogspot.com
Caitlin @ Desert Domicile says
Your dresser turned out so nice! I love those pulls you chose and I like that you kept the drawers as-is instead of painting them 🙂
I recently made over a dresser as well but I turned mine into and entertainment center: http://desertdomicile.blogspot.com/2012/07/mid-century-modern-dresser-turned.html
Laurie @ House of 34 says
I love painted furniture makeovers. Awesome job! Leaving the drawers in their natural color looks fantastic!
Thank you Laurie!
I love it! I just “pinned” a picture for a future project. Thank you for giving the step by step instructions
Thanks so much for the pin Anna!
paint and stain combined satisify both sides of the board! i am in the process of doing the same process right now. nice job!
This piece is absolutely fantastic – Love everything about it – EVERYTHING – especially the file pulls.
Wow, nice job, looks wonderful.
Love it, Beth! The two-tones are gorgeous and the labels are such a cute detail:)
Alicia @ Sweet Ava Kate says
Gorgeous, Beth! Just stunning! I adore those pulls and the typewriter font!
Thank you Alicia!
This is FABULOUS. Great great eye…the drawers look like a million bucks and the pulls are heaven.
Thank you Haydee!!
I got some great antique cherry furniture off of Craigslist that is in desperate need of cleaning and waxing or something. What products do you recommend? I don’t want to paint these particular pieces…but they are full of scuffs and need ‘freshening up’…I have never done anything like this before. thanks!
I am not the furniture refinishing expert by any means. However, I really liked the results I received from the TSP and then the CitraSolv. They did a good job at cleaning the piece. If your furniture is in really bad shape you’ll probably need to sand it down and restain which is a ton of work. If the furniture is just so-so, you can try cleaning and then using poly or wax on it. Furniture gurus have their favorite products and recommendations of different kinds of polys, waxes, oils, etc. so hop around on google before deciding. Good luck and congrats on the Craigslist score!
Jessica @ Dear Emmeline says
I’ve had good results from Old English Scratch Cover and Old English Lemon Oil! The scratch cover is sold in light, med, and dark and helps to fade the appearance of scratches. The lemon oil refreshes the wood and changes the appearance from dull and dry to fresh and full of lustre!
Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says
Love the dresser, Beth. You really did a great job & I love the drawers too. Your boy’s must be loving their new room, the blue is a nice choice in there, really pops against the white. Great job, girl! I had to use that shellac primer on my doors and trim and that stuff is tough to get off!
Thanks love! I’m thrilled with how things are coming along. And yes, I had “shellaced” hands and nails for a week :).
LOVE this idea so much! Well done!
Thank you Monica!
Erin @ DIY On the Cheap says
I absolutely love this! Great choice leaving the drawers as they were. Beautiful!
Yay! Thanks Erin :).
The Yellow Cape Cod says
Awesome! The pulls are great!
The pulls are my favorite part!
This came out great and I love those pulls! The two toned really really really looks cool 🙂 Nice shot of the mirror with the bookcase in the background. I see that little lonely chair in the background, hehe. Are you going to cover? 🙂
Ugh. Don’t get me started on the chair. I am NOT a seamstress. Working on it ;).
Michelle @ Sweetsuite10 says
Wow! I’m generally not a fan of painted wood, but this is gorgeous! I love the pulls. You did a marvelous job!
Thank you Michelle! I love wood and I love painted furniture. It seemed like a good idea to combine both :).